How to Add Engine Coolant to Your Car

Updated February 21, 2017

The cooling system in your car prevents your engine from overheating. Coolant, also called antifreeze, is the fluid that absorbs the heat from the engine and dispels it through the radiator. Coolant also protects your engine from freezing in the winter. Periodically check your coolant level and add more if it is low.

Verify that the coolant you selected is compatible with your car's engine. Check the label on the coolant and your owner's manual.

Make sure your coolant is properly diluted 50 percent coolant and 50 percent water. You can dilute it yourself or buy a premixed coolant that is ready to use.

Locate the hood release located under the dash in your car. Pull to release the hood.

Open the hood and locate the coolant reservoir. The reservoir is usually white plastic and you should be able to see fluid inside of it.

Pour coolant into the reservoir until the fluid level reaches the "full" mark. Use a funnel to prevent spilling.

Replace cap on reservoir and close the hood.

Add coolant directly to the radiator if there is no coolant reservoir. Locate the radiator cap and pour in fluid until it reaches the top.


If there is no coolant in the reservoir, you may need to add coolant directly to the radiator. If your coolant level is consistently low, you may have a leak. Have your car checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. Consult your owner's manual for suggestions on coolant type and concentration.


Do not attempt to add coolant to a hot engine. Let it cool completely for at least 20 to 30 minutes before opening the cap. Coolant is hazardous to children and pets. Make sure to tightly seal any leftover coolant, and store out of the reach of children.

Things You'll Need

  • Coolant
  • Funnel
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