How Do You Know If Your Car Needs Antifreeze

How Do You Know If Your Car Needs Antifreeze?

Heard about antifreeze but don’t know exactly what it is?

It’s a liquid that keeps your engine from freezing during cold winter nights and also prevents your engine from overheating.

But, how do you know if your car needs antifreeze? We’ll tell you how.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about antifreeze.

So, read on to know more.

What Are Antifreeze and What Are Its Uses?

Antifreeze is a vital engine coolant for regulating engine temperature. It prevents hot water from boiling in the radiator and the engine. It works on liquids up to 275°F. This liquid has the capability to increase the boiling point of the water in the radiator, hence preventing your engine from overheating.

Additionally, it helps with heat transfer. This can help prevent scales and rusts from building up in your engine.

It also keeps this water from freezing at as low as –30°F. Moreover, it lubricates engine components such as the water pump. As a result, it sorts out the friction issue and protects your engine.

What Are Antifreeze

Antifreeze is mostly made of either propylene glycol or ethylene glycol. To prevent oxidation and corrosion, it may feature borates, silicates, or azoles. Vehicles mostly use a 1:1 proportion of water and antifreeze.

For your vehicle’s health and longevity, an adequate amount of antifreeze is vital. The color varies based on the substances used as it comes in several colors.

Now, antifreeze has toxic elements and in no way should be in close contact with kids and pets. If you drop Antifreeze, wipe it up immediately to prevent any accidents.

Antifreeze vs Coolant

Many people identify coolant and antifreeze as the same. Even among vehicle mechanics, they are closely identified. Nevertheless, there are distinctions between them. A coolant is a ready-to-use antifreeze with a water mixture for your car.

Antifreeze vs Coolant

On the other hand, antifreeze combines propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. So, you’ll need to dilute it with water.

Temperature for Antifreeze

Extremely cold or arctic winters can cause havoc. In frigid climates, antifreeze is standard on all vehicles. When changing your car’s oil, the mechanic may also add it to your tank.

Temperature for Antifreeze

Glycerol is crucial in lubrication because it keeps things like motor oil smooth and lubricated. Nevertheless, antifreeze cannot always stop a freeze. It can start to crystallize at –36°F (­–38°C), making your engine difficult to start.

How to Know When Your Car Needs Antifreeze

The radiator can be used to monitor the level of antifreeze in the car. You should see a tank with a fill line. To get the most accurate antifreeze level, ensure your car is placed on a flat surface. Another thing to keep note of is if the engine is cool. If it’s not, wait a bit for it to cool down.

A dashboard warning light will appear if water/coolant levels are low, and a rise in the temperature gauge indicates a problem. Billowing steam, a hot bonnet, and a lack of control over the interior warmth are all engine temperature problems.

coolant warning light

Typically, you won’t need to change the coolant before you drive 30000 miles. However, you may go as much as 60000-150000 depending on the car model.

How to Refill Antifreeze? – Know the Accurate Way

Coolant refill

Most new vehicles include an automatic engine cut-off mechanism intended to protect crucial engine parts from damage when temperatures rise or fall drastically. If your car does not have this technology, it is up to the driver to keep antifreeze levels properly topped off. To add antifreeze to your car, follow our guide here:

  • Place the car on a level surface and let it cool down fully. Then, as an extra precaution, engage the brakes on the car.
  • To determine if you should dilute the antifreeze with water, look at the current label of the antifreeze. If you add undiluted antifreeze, then there might be significant damage to your vehicle and the radiator. So, dilute it with water in the proper ratio.
  • Pour it into the coolant reservoir till you see the liquid reaching the fill line.
  • When you are finished, tighten the reservoir tap.

Antifreeze is usually added to your car’s coolant reservoir. Some older cars lack a coolant reservoir; thus, antifreeze is pumped into the radiator.

How to Refill Antifreeze

You will find the coolant reservoir or radiator cap under the hood. However, the exact location varies from car to car. Most fluids in your car should be drained and changed at regular intervals, including your coolant. Check your antifreeze levels to understand if it needs to be refilled at least twice a year.

Checking the Antifreeze System

You may have a problem with your antifreeze or cooling system if you notice:

  • Oily or sludgy buildup on the antifreeze
  • A minuscule amount of coolant is present
  • Radiator hoses that have cracked
  • Antifreeze that is clear or has a rusty tint
  • The temperature indicator showing a higher reading than usual when the engine is running
  • Puddles of antifreeze form under your car because of leakage (orange or green fluid).
  • Hearing a grinding sound coming from under your car’s hood
  • The engine emitting steam or has an odor comparable to that of boiling maple syrup
Checking the Antifreeze System

These are the signs that your antifreeze system needs to be checked. It is better for your car to be inspected by a mechanic to figure out what is wrong with your cooling system and solve it accordingly. Leaving these problems unattended could result in permanent harm to your engine.


To summarize, a vehicle’s cooling system can prevent the engine from both overheating and freezing. It keeps your car’s engine operating smoothly. Our car requires Antifreeze from time to time.

So, now that we have covered everything there is to know, you have now learned the answer to the question: how do you know when your car needs antifreeze.

Keep your engines in check, and drive safe!

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