How to Install a Coolant Expansion Tank

Written by chris moore
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The expansion tank on a car is meant to carry extra coolant to ensure there is plenty for the cooling system. You need to have one properly installed and filled with the radiator before operating the vehicle. The installation process will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, and the exact tools you will need and the installation position will vary as well. Never work on any direct part of the cooling system while the engine is running or still hot.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Water
  • Engine coolant

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  1. 1

    Install the expansion tank in the engine compartment. The position will vary, but it is usually along an edge of the compartment near the air cleaner. Attach its fasteners with a wrench or screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Connect the hoses from the radiator to the expansion tank. You will need pliers or a screwdriver to secure the hose clamps.

  3. 3

    Reinstall any components that were in the way of the tank's installation. This often includes the air filter housing. Place the filter on its grommets. Connect its fasteners and intake tube with its hose clamp.

  4. 4

    Fill the radiator with the proper mixture of coolant and water to the "fill cold" mark on the radiator's filler neck. Make sure the cap is securely fastened to the expansion tank.

  5. 5

    Start and run the engine to normal operating temperature. Let the engine run for about three minutes, then shut it off and wait for it to cool.

  6. 6

    Add more coolant to the expansion tank to its "cold" mark. Repeat Step 5.

Tips and warnings

  • Each engine is designed to use a specific type of coolant, depending on its ingredients. Do not mix silicate-based coolant with non-silicate.

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