Steps In Checking the Fluid in a Vehicle’s Coolant System

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To help keep your cooling system cool, check the fluid level in the system and. It’s dangerous to remove pressure cap from your radiator or coolant recovery system reservoir while the engine is still warm. Follow these tips when removing a pressure cap, because it’s difficult to tell how hot things are inside the engine if necessary, add coolant and water:

Never take away the cap coming from a radiator or coolant recovery system reservoir when the engine is hot. Adding cold water to a hot engine can crack the engine block.

When your engine overheats on the highway, get to the side in the road, shut down the ignition, and then wait 15 to 20 minutes for things to cool off. You can lift the hood to help the high temperature escape however, you should leave the pressure cap alone provided you can stay safely away from traffic.

If you’re parked where traffic is zooming by, or if you’re concerned about your security should you leave your car or truck, you’re more satisfied just waiting in the car till the engine cools. If it warms up again once you begin driving, get to the nearest service station or perhaps a place where you could safely park, get out, and deal with the circumstance yourself.

In case the engine is completely cold, you face no risk whatsoever, so get into the habit of checking your coolant level at least one time a month each morning before you heat the engine, of course.

To remove the pressure cap safely, abide by these steps after the engine is cool:

Don’t remove the cap on the radiator unless your vehicle has no plastic coolant recovery reservoir, as shown here.

A coolant recovery reservoir (a) plus a cap being removed safely from a radiator (b).

A coolant recovery reservoir (a) and a cap being removed safely from the radiator (b).

If your system has a safety pressure cap, lift the lever in the safety cap to allow pressure to escape.

To keep from burning your hand, place a cloth within the cap when you raise the lever. Then turn the cap counterclockwise to get rid of it.

Place a cloth over the cap and change it counterclockwise in order to its first stop if your vehicle doesn’t have a safety cap. If you see liquid or a lot of steam escaping, retighten the cap and wait for things to cool down, although turning to the very first stop allows some of the pressure to escape. If nothing escapes, continue turning the cap counterclockwise to eliminate it.

Tilt the cap as you take it off so that the opening points far from you.

It lands in the engine or inside the hood, where it may do no harm, if there’s still enough heat and pressure to spray hot stuff around.

By screwing it on clockwise, replace the cap. (When you have a safety pressure cap, push the lever down again.)

Radiator safety caps cost almost no, so if you don’t have one, buy one! They’re cheaper in auto supply stores, even though virtually every service station stocks them. Check your owner’s manual for the amount of psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure in your metabolism and look for the proper number of psi on the new cap. These safety caps are definitely worth the money.

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