How to Check Your Vehicle's Coolant System in Los Angeles, CA

Nobody likes an overheated engine. A few of us have been anxiously pouring coolant into the car and hoping it works so that the strangers behind you can stop honking, and it's never fun! However, the experts at 26th Street Auto Center are here to let Los Angeles drivers know that they don't ever have to be that guy. Your days of being stuck on the side of the 405 with an overheated engine are numbered. Just follow our tips! It starts when you check your coolant level and keep up with your routine maintenance requests, especially during the steamy summer months.

It's always smart to check your motor's coolant — which is a blend of liquid reactant and water —at least once per month. Make sure that your maintenance incorporates intermittent coolant flushes.


Locate and Remove the Radiator or Reservoir Cap

You want the engine to be cold. Opening the cooling system on a hot motor can cause searing hot coolant to erupt from the radiator. It's best to leave the car overnight and then try this step.

Remove the cooling cap: Most vehicles have a cap on top of the radiator, but on some cars, the radiator is hidden. If this happens, the pressure cap will be apparent on the coolant reservoir. If you’re unsure, check your owner’s manual or contact our service team!

Analyze the coolant

Determine your vehicle's coolant type: previously, all automobiles used green, inorganic additive technology (IAT) coolant. Nowadays, makers use an assortment of types, each with a striking color. Now if you see blue, red, yellow or pink coolant, it is standard. We advise you to check your manual and decide what is right for your car.

Here is a list of hues to expect:

  • Green, IAT coolant: older vehicles
  • Orange, organic acid technology (OAT) coolant: General Motors, Saab, Volkswagen
  • Yellow, hybrid OAT: Ford, Chrysler, European
  • Turquoise, phosphate-free hybrid OAT (HOAT): BMW, Volvo, Tesla, Mini
  • Pink or blue, phosphate HOAT: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Kia
  • Purple, silicate HOAT: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche

Check the coolant level: If the vehicle has a radiator top, the coolant level should reach the highest point of the radiator neck. In circumstances where the auto has a container, the level should come to the "chilly full" line stamped on it.

A low coolant level symbolizes a leak someplace. In most cases, the system will need to be pressure tested with a unique tool to discover the root of the issue. Then it can be improved.

Check the coolant condition: No matter what color it is, coolant should be translucent and free of contamination. If not, there’s a problem.

Coolant that’s old or has things drifting in it is notably tarnished. In this case, you will at the very least need to flush the system. In extreme cases, the parts may need to be wholly separated, cleaned, or even replaced.

Milky, pink coolant is an indication that transmission fluid has found its way inside the cooling system. A divulged transmission cooler is nearly always the problem. If this occurs, the radiator will need to be replaced, and the cooling system flushed. The transmission should also be examined to see if it has been harmed by the intermixed solution.

Polluted coolant, especially by oil, is a symptom of an extreme engine problem, such as a leaking intake manifold. A 26th Street Auto Center expert can identify the root of the issue and remedy it.


Look at the Hoses and Clamps

In addition to monitoring the coolant level, you can also pay close attention to the vehicle's hoses and clamps. If the rubber hoses seem faded, broken, or especially dirty, consider having them repaired.

The clips on the edge of the hoses also need additional care. Due to engine vibration, these components can slacken. It's always smart to check on the hose and ensure they're well-designed. Most of the time you can make modifications to these components either using a flathead screwdriver or pliers. As always, ensure your vehicle is cold.

Regular Coolant is Essential

Despite what the coolant appears to be like, your car's cooling system should be serviced per the make's maintenance schedule. Your car's owner's manual is your service bible, so refer to it! You'll be happy to know that various vehicles in the early 2000s do not require a coolant exchange until 100,000 or 150,000 miles.

Implementing a coolant service or flush should be done by a professional simply because air enters the cooling system during the service, which can cause your car's engine to overheat. It can be terrible if the air isn’t bled out so don't put yourself in harm's way! Specialists often use a unique “vacuum-fill” tool to change out the coolant. Contact our team to learn more or to schedule service.

Dealer Information
26th Street Auto Center 13060 San Vicente Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90049 Get Directions
Service Hours
Phone: (310) 234-5631
Sunday:
CLOSED
Monday:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday:
8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Detailing Hours
Phone: (310) 234-5631
Sunday:
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday:
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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