The proper level of engine coolant in your vehicles’s radiator and coolant reservoir is essential to the engine running correctly. In fact, the coolant (antifreeze) level is critical and helps prevent serious damage to the engine that would be caused by overheating. Normally, when your vehicle is in for routine maintenance, such as an oil change, the technician will also check the levels and mixture of your antifreeze, topping it off if necessary. However, if your engine coolant warning lamp comes on, your vehicle may have developed a small leak. If this lamp comes on, the best thing is to stop driving and let the engine cool down before checking the coolant level. If you notice any steam or hot coolant coming from the vehicle, don’t open the hood until stops- hot antifreeze can cause serious burns! Once everything is cool, find the coolant expansion tank. You can add antifreeze up to the maximum level indicator. Make sure the coolant your using is correct for your vehicle and is the correct mixture. I like to keep a gallon of pre-mixed antifreeze in the trunk, just in case. You can buy the pre-mixed stuff, or can buy it full strength and mix it 50/50 with water. If you have an empty antifreeze jug around the garage, this is pretty simple.
Once you’ve replenished the fluid, check to make sure the warning indicator light has shut off. If it’s still on, or comes back on later, it’s time to visit the service department and talk to a qualified technician about your cooling system. If you’re losing coolant, but never see any on the ground, check your oil. Sometimes engines develop problems with gaskets that allow oil and antifreeze to intermingle and this is definitely something to have your Woody’s mechanic check out.