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What is engine coolant?

The engine coolant, also called antifreeze, makes sure the car’s engine remains at the right temperature: this prevents the engine to get damaged because of freezing or boiling.
The heat generated by the engine will be transferred to the engine coolant, which transports it to the car’s radiator.

How to top up engine coolant?

To top up engine coolant, you need to find where to pour it. First, open the hood of your car. Then, check for the engine coolant cap: it is on the top of the coolant expansion tank (see on the picture).

If you can’t find the coolant tank, check your vehicle handbook to find its location.

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⏰ How often does antifreeze need to be changed?

It is recommended to change the engine coolant/antifreeze in your car after 60,000 miles, or every 2-4 years. However, as soon as a mechanic accesses your car cooling system, it is recommended to change it there and then. You should check the engine coolant level on a regular basis: if you do so, you can notice an engine coolant leak if the level is too low.

It is important to change the engine coolant when needed, as without coolant to regulate the engine temperature, some parts such as the head gasket could break, and this kind of repair has a very high cost.

engine coolant sign Engine coolant light on

The engine coolant symbol shows the car’s radiator with the cap at the bottom, and waves below. This warning light is particularly important and should be taken seriously. These are the reasons why the engine coolant light can turn on:

  • The engine coolant temperature is too high: this means that your engine is overheating.
  • The engine coolant level is too low. This is probably because the engine coolant is leaking.
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is failing and needs to be replaced.

The first thing to do is safely stop your car as soon as possible, and let the engine cool down. We recommend that you call your assistance, and have a mechanic check the engine cooling system.

💧 Can I add water to the coolant tank?

Many car owners think that adding water in the engine coolant could be a good idea. However, you should never top up the coolant tank with water: this damages your car, as the water will evaporate quickly and lead to the engine overheating.

🌈 Which coolant colour for my car?

Engine coolant comes in different colours, and it does matter. Indeed, depending on the colour, engine coolant has different properties and qualities.

  • IAT (Inorganic Acid Technology)

This type of engine coolant is green or blue, and is mainly used for old cars. Usually, this type of coolant needs to be changed after 30,000 miles.

  • OAT (Organic Acid technology)

This type of coolant can be found in orange, red or pink. The quality is better than an IAT coolant and will last for a longer time. You should change it after 150,000 - 250,000 miles.

  • HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology)

This coolant is specially designed for new cars and is usually orange or yellow. It will need to be changed after 150,000 miles.

You should never mix different colours of engine coolants. This could clog up the cooling system, and damage the engine, as it won’t cool down properly.

If you want to know what type of engine coolant your car needs, check your vehicle guide.

💸 How much does it cost to change the engine coolant?

The price can vary depending on your car brand and model. Usually, you should expect to pay around £100.

For some cars, the price could get closer to £200. To make sure to get the right price for your car, compare prices of local garages on autobutler.co.uk.

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Prices on engine repairs

The average prices and savings for the car brands shown are based on different models and years. You must therefore create a job and compare quotes to see your actual price and savings.
Make Save on average*
Audi
5.0
(6)
£139 / 25%
BMW
3.7
(3)
£139 / 28%
Citroën
5.0
(1)
£172 / 23%
Ford
4.7
(10)
£152 / 24%
Mercedes-Benz
4.8
(4)
£135 / 24%
Mini
3.7
(3)
£173 / 30%
Peugeot
4.5
(8)
£154 / 25%
Renault
5.0
(1)
£183 / 24%
Vauxhall
5.0
(14)
£138 / 25%
Volkswagen
4.8
(8)
£156 / 26%

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7 months
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