Coolant keeps your car running smoothly by preventing it from overheating. Engines that get too hot can lock up and cause severe engine damage. In worst case scenarios, locked up engines may require an engine replacement. If you’ve ever filled up your antifreeze reservoir, you may be wondering what happens if you overfill coolant.
What Happens if you Overfill Coolant?
The coolant tank, also known as an anti-freeze tank, is a reservoir designed to accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of coolant. Coolant expands as it heats and contracts when it cools. The extra space prevents damage to your engine and hoses.
Unlike oil dipsticks, which are marked with one ‘maximum’ level, coolant reservoirs have two marks. The marks are used to gauge the level of coolant in the vehicle when the engine is at different temperatures. The lower of the two marks used when the engine is cold, while the other mark is used when the engine is hot.
Your vehicle’s cooling system is designed to accommodate a small amount of extra coolant. Most of the time, excess coolant is expelled from an overflow hose. You’ll likely see a puddle of coolant beneath your car if this has happened. In worst case scenarios, overfilling your antifreeze tank can lead to electrical damage if overflow comes into contact with engine wiring.
How to Know When Your Coolant Level is Too Low
Modern cars are equipped with a sensor inside the coolant reservoir. This floating sensor will trigger a warning light on your dashboard if the level of coolant becomes too low. Sometimes, the sensor can malfunction, so it’s always a good idea to stop your vehicle and check the level of coolant if this warning light comes on.
If your coolant is low, add some more coolant. It’s recommended to use the same color of coolant that is already in your engine. You can add water in a pinch, such as if you aren’t anywhere near a store and need coolant, but water is not recommended for regular use.
If your coolant levels appear fine, it may be time to take your car to a mechanic. That way, you can rule out a faulty sensor.
Should You Use Coolant or Water?
Water is not recommended for regular use because it is corrosive to the engine. Coolant contains anti-corrosive substances that will prolong your engine life. If you need to use water, then be sure to have the system flushed and coolant added to the car as soon as possible.
Remember – never put coolant into a hot car. The liquid will steam and bubble and possibly cause damage to the engine or yourself. Wait until the car has cooled before you add fresh coolant to your engine.
Routine Fluid Checks at T3 Atlanta
Regularly checking the fluids in your car is part of a preventive maintenance routine that will help keep your car in top condition for years to come. Whether your engine temperature light is on, you’ve noticed coolant leaking out of your vehicle, or you simply need to replace the fluids in your car, make an appointment with T3 Atlanta. We’ll have you back on the road in no time.