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How Much Coolant Does Your Car Take?

  • Cars Explained
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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 Even if you are not a car enthusiast, the engine coolant would be something that would come to your mind if you were asked anything about the engine or the trouble it might be facing. Coolant is as cool as its name, with its vibrant green or blue color or properties that keep the engine’s health in check. But how much coolant does your car take? Does it vary with the make and model of each car? Here’s a lowdown on the round-the-clock work of coolant.  

What is a coolant? 

The engine is the powerhouse of a car. It runs hot and is certainly subjected to regular wear and tear. So, it is the duty of the coolant to prevent the engine from overheating. In addition, coolant also lubricates the parts that come in contact with the engine. This includes the water pump, head gasket, cylinder, and piston.  

The heat produced by the engine is sufficient to evaporate water if it is used as a coolant. Therefore, the coolant is a combination of either ethylene glycol or propylene and distilled water. In addition, several additives help prevent the corrosion of the parts.  

How does a coolant work in a car? 

The coolant fluid circulates through the cooling system to remove heat and keep the engine operating at normal temperatures. Firstly, the radiator pumps the fluid into the engine. Secondly, it absorbs the heat from the engine and cools down as it goes through the system. Thirdly, the fluid is recirculated once it has cooled down to release further heat. 

Is coolant the same as antifreeze? 

Antifreeze is a solution of ethylene or propylene glycol, which is a compound with anti-freezing properties. Meanwhile, coolant is a mix of antifreeze and distilled water, available readily as a premix consisting of both components in 50-50 proportion. However, antifreeze can increase to 70 percent in cars operating under extremely cold temperatures.

It is crucial to consult with the manual before finalizing the proportion. However, if you have purchased an antifreeze, you should check the manual and mix the antifreeze with distilled water in the mentioned proportion.  

Antifreeze and coolant have low freezing and high-boiling points. In other words, it prevents evaporation when subjected to the high heat of the engine. Similarly, it shouldn’t freeze at low temperatures, hence the low freezing point. For example, if your coolant freezes, it won’t be able to travel through the engine when you start your car. As a result, the engine can overheat and stall. 

Types of coolants 

Inorganic Acid Technology Coolant (IAT) 

This is a green or yellow-colored coolant used in older vehicles. If your car uses IAT coolant, you should certainly ensure its replacement every 25,000 miles and not more.  

Organic Acid Technology Coolant (OAT) 

Red or orange in color, OAT coolants is used in cars manufactured after 2000. This ensures longer intervals between coolant changes. 

Hybrid Organic Acid Technology Coolant (HOAT) 

HOAT stands for Hybrid Organic Acid Technology, sometimes known as Hybrid OAT. This coolant is a hybrid of OAT and IAT. While it is usually yellow, it is also available in purple, blue, pink, and turquoise.  

Used in newer models and brands like Volkswagen, KIA, Volvo, Ford, and Mercedes, it contains additional silicates to protect metal components from rust and corrosion. 

How to clean a coolant reservoir

How much coolant does your car take? 

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the cooling system type, most automobiles require between 3 and 7 liters of coolant. However, the average vehicle cooling system holds 5 liters of engine coolant. 

For example, a Toyota Corolla can hold 5.5 liters of coolant, while a Chrysler 300 with a 3.6L engine holds 9.5 liters of coolant. 

How often should I change the coolant? 

Though it varies with every car, it is recommended to change your engine coolant every 30,000 miles. However, some companies recommend coolant change at 60,000 miles and at every 30,000 miles.  

You should check the coolant level once a month and fill it up to the MAX line. However, you should never open the coolant reservoir with a hot or running engine.   

You can clean the coolant reservoir by yourself!

How to top off the coolant in a car 

  • Park your car. 
  • Wait for the engine to cool down.  
  • Figure out the coolant reservoir. 
  • Check the coolant level by noting the MIN and MAX lines on the reservoir. 
  • Mix the coolant if it is not a premixed coolant.  
  • Fill the coolant to the MAX line. 

 Frequently Asked Questions

Can you add a new coolant to the old one? 

You can refill your car’s radiator without draining it. However, flushing and replacing coolant every few years prevents rust, corrosion, and other deposits that can block your cooling system and reduce its performance. In addition, you must also make sure the coolants are of the same type.  

Is it okay to overfill the coolant? 

Overfilling coolant is common, especially in newer cars with smaller reservoirs. If you overfill, it will be pushed out with white smoke while driving. 


Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, the most affordable auto insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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