How to Check Your Car's Coolant Levels

Engine coolant is one of the various fluid levels that should be checked regularly to help prevent damage to your vehicle. It keeps the engine at the right temperature to maintain optimum performance, and also includes anti-freeze for year-round protection and to minimise corrosion.

In modern vehicles the cooling system is a sealed unit, meaning they generally shouldn't need topping up between services. However, it's still important to check the levels regularly to help spot any leaks. We explain how below.

1. Before checking coolant levels

As the coolant system is pressured, it is vital that the vehicle is cool before checking the levels. If you have been on the road the day of a check, make sure a few hours have passed before starting.

2. Identify the expansion tank

Firstly, you need to identify the expansion tank, which allows the coolant to expand as the pressure and temperature rises. The tank is usually fitted with a brightly-coloured cap, and for help finding it you should consult the vehicle manual.

3. Check the levels

The expansion tank should have minimum and maximum markers and be made of a clear material so you can see what level the coolant fluid is at. There's no need to remove the tank cap – it should be possible to read the level simply by looking.

4. If the coolant needs topping up

  • Make sure you use the right concentration of anti-freeze and water. Details on the right level can be found in the vehicle manual.
  • Wait until the vehicle is cool and unscrew the coolant cap slowly as some pressure may remain.
  • Fill the tank until the fluid is at the maximum mark, being careful not to go beyond this.

Finally, simply return the cap and screw it on securely.

Click through our vehicle advice pages for more helpful maintenance tips, or get in touch with your nearest Sturgess Motor Group dealership for comprehensive aftersales care.