Coolant is a mixture of a form of glycol and water. Glycol prevents the coolant from reaching the boiling point in extreme heat. More importantly, it keeps engine within operational temperatures under all climate extremes and driving conditions.
Never undo the coolant filler cap while the engine is hot as you could scald yourself. Place a rag over the cap and unscrew it slowly to allow pressure to escape.
Wash off any splashes of coolant from the skin (poisonous) and from the car’s bodywork (can damage paint).
Check Coolant Level
Most cars have a coolant reservoir with minimum and maximum level marks. With the engine cold, the coolant level should be between the two marks.
Normally, it’s best to check the coolant level during every service intervals. Besides, it’s a good habit to check the coolant levels before a long distance trip to avoid breaking down on the highway.
Top Up Coolant
If your coolant level is too low (below or near the lower mark), top it up using a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant (for normal driving conditions).
In the case that your car overheats on the road, you can use clean tap water, but make up the coolant concentration afterwards.
Refit Cap and Check for Leaks
Refit the cap tightly afterwards and mop up any spills. Take a flashlight to the underside of your engine to and inspect the area for damp or dripping.
The coolant will usually be green, pink or orange so it should stand out under the light. The leak will usually be found near the radiator, the front area of the engine, and the firewall area.
It’s best to renew your coolant every 2 to 5 years depending on the type of coolant you use.
Flush the System
Flush the system with clean water, or maybe a flushing compound. A clogged radiator can cause overheating. Try using a cooling system flushing compound to clear it.
If your coolant temperature is approaching dangerous levels, pull over carefully to avoid any further damage to your vehicle. Do not attempt to drive with an overheated engine to avoid a very expensive repair cost.
It’s always a good idea to have a big bottle of clean water kept in your car for emergencies such as this.