You already know by now how vital coolant is. That is why most car owners will opt for a high-end antifreeze for the engine. Nonetheless, no matter how high-end coolant you opt for, it will be pretty hard for you to get the most out of the engine if you do not know how much coolant loss is normal.
Wondering why? Well, excessive coolant loss means something is wrong with the engine and its operations. And that will eventually end up with the engine outputting a lower amount of performance. We even faced that with one of our jeeps.
However, after consulting a professional mechanic, we learned all about the topic, which we will describe in this article. So, stick to the very end if you want to know it all.
What Are the Reasons for Coolant Loss?
Before we state what loss rate is normal, let us go through the possible reasons why coolant loss occurs. And the most common reasons behind coolant loss is as stated:
The first thing that causes antifreeze loss is the damaged head gasket. It can get blown up due to low levels of coolant. Or it can get worn out when the coolant levels drop at an alarming rate. And after that, the coolant will get into the combustion chamber and slowly burns off.
Faulty Reservoir Cap
Apart from the head gasket, the reservoir cap can also cause coolant loss. The cap can get rusty, or the rubber seal can get worn out over time. And the primary tasks of the cap are to maintain proper reservoir pressure and coolant level. If it gets damaged, the pressure reduces, which will make the coolant evaporate faster.
Damaged Radiator Hoses
The hoses of the radiator are pretty close to the engine. And they are generally exposed to the high temperatures of the engine. Due to that extreme temperature, the hoses can crack or get damaged, which will make the coolant spill from the system. With continuous spillage, the other parts can get damaged too!
One of the lightweight but practical component of the vehicle is the aluminum radiator. It manages the cold and hot coolant temperatures and monitors the overall pressure of the engine compartments. And when it gets damaged due to high temperature, the coolants can leak through the radiator.
Cooling System Damages
Apart from all of the components mentioned above, the coolant can leak or evaporate faster when there are damages to the other cooling system parts. Over time, the water pump, radiator fans, and thermostat housing can get worn out and damaged. And those can accelerate the coolant loss.
How Much Coolant Loss Is Normal?
Now that you know the factors contributing to the coolant loss, let us move into the topic you are primarily here for. A coolant leak is bound to happen if there are issues regarding the engine or the radiator. And there is a high chance that you will not even be able to trace the loss or the leak that easily.
As you know, the coolant does not just flow from the reservoir to the engine. It goes through an entire line of radiator hoses and pipes. And during this flow, the coolant can get exposed to exceptionally high temperatures, which causes evaporation. However, that is entirely normal.
What is not normal is when the coolant is getting leaked or lost because of other factors. According to different professional mechanics, the coolant level should drop about 0.25 inches every four months. That totals to about 1 inch in a year. And that is the normal rate of loss.
On the other hand, when the engine gets old, the loss can be from anywhere between 0.3 inches to 0.5 inches per four months. And when there is a minor leak, it can drop to 0.7 inches per four months. In other words, anything that is higher than 0.25 inches is not normal.
What Should You Do to Lower the Coolant Loss Rate?
You might be wondering, what should you do to mitigate or lower the loss of coolant, right? Well, we would recommend changing the coolant after every three years. Some manufacturers claim that their coolant lasts for at least 10 years, but leaving the coolant inside for that amount of time is not recommended.
Also, you should do a complete flush and clean each part of the radiator when you are inserting new coolant. That will lower the loss rate if all of the other factors are okay.
If you are still wondering how much coolant loss is normal, it is about a quarter of an inch per four months. If the loss is higher than that in the four months period, you need to opt for a checkup. Also, ensure that you change or refill the coolant by referring to the recommended changing interval to lower the loss rate.