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Engine Coolant

Old 12-12-2017, 12:26 PM
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Question Engine Coolant

2010 Camry XLE brought to NTB for 60K check and syn oil change about 2 wks ago. Today, I thought to check the coolant as holiday travel might take us to some colder places. I found the coolant overflow almost bone dry. I went to find the radiator cap, only to discover it's located under a black plastic shroud/cover which looked totally undisturbed. That bothered me as I wondered if NTB really did check the coolant. I popped that off and saw no liquid. Next, I took a small screwdriver and place it in there to see maybe there was liquid present, but I just wasn't seeing it. I saw only the very faintest bit of moisture on the very tip. [Note: Car was cold - sat overnight - and has 61K miles; it has never overheated.]

So what should I now do? They seem awfully proud of their special antifreeze - do I top off with that or just add water? And what about the reservoir -- add liquid to it too? As an aside, I'm in central TX so coolant problems here mostly deal with heat, but now I'm concerned about cold too for this trip.
Old 12-12-2017, 01:19 PM
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What engine type V-6 or 4-cylinder?

How cold of outside air temp are you expecting on this trip?

Most coolants are mixed to 50/50 coolant/water protecting to around -34F.

A 30% coolant to 70% water protects to +10F. Adding a little more water to make up for lost coolant will protect to below freezing.

If not concerned about coolant freezing used distilled water.

If you are concerned, pick antifreeze the states it is for Asian cars often called Asian formula. Not all antifreeze is the same.

Then top off with this coolant.

When engine COLD! Fill radiator until full then replace cap. Fill coolant over flow tank to proper level as marked on the side. Typically half way for a cold engine.

Suggest you take on your trip the gallon of distilled water you used or the remaining coolant in its container if used this.

Stop along the way and recheck the level in the overflow tank (engine can be hot). It might have dropped some.

If low, add to the HOT temp line on the side of the tank. This would be below the COLD temp line.

The level in the tank should stabilize at some point and not keep dropping. If this happens there may be a leak.

Don't ever try to remove the radiator cap engine hot or coolant will spew out under pressure. Its OK to add coolant to the overflow tank, engine hot or cold.
Old 12-12-2017, 02:25 PM
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Thank you. I have the 3.5L/V6 and may be driving where temps drop temporarily into the teens -- worst case would be single digits, but that'd be a very long shot.

I can't see the coolant at all in the radiator so I can't estimate the strength of the mixture. Given that, should I just buy the right antifreeze, mix it to the 50/50 ratio you mentioned, then add it to both the radiator and overflow?

I have about a week before traveling so I have some time to test the resuts.
Old 12-12-2017, 03:15 PM
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50/50 is fine and the common mix used.

Zerex, Valvoline and others have coolants titled "Asian" on the front of the container. Walmart, auto stores, etc. sell coolants.

The coolant makers offer both a 100% coolant (straight coolant) and a premixed (50/50) coolant in the typical 1 gallon container.

If premixed, the front of the container would state something like, "premixed", "ready to use", "don't add water", 50/50 "prediluted", etc.

This coolant needs no mixing and is added to the engine direct from the container.

If using 100% coolant, the container would state to dilute. Perhaps having a graph on the back for mixing ratios with water to get the freezing temp desired. This coolant needs to be diluted.

If using 100% coolant. It is OK to estimate the ratio of coolant to water and add themone at time to the coolant system.

You can have a mix up to 70% coolant and 30% water and be just fine. The freezing and boiling points will just be lower and higher then 50/50.

When picking up the product. Make sure to get the product you want (50/50 or 100%). Sometimes its difficult tell at first glance as the labels for both mixed and 100% may be very similar.

The mixed coolant is cheaper then the 100%.

One other suggestion is to turn the heater to max heat (no need to turn on blower unless auto climate control) after filling.

This will allow the coolant to circulate as you drive, through the heater core and push out any possible air in this system caused by low coolant. This making checking the coolant level more accurate.
Old 12-17-2017, 06:14 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 280

Good comments Toyomoho but as said get the engine hot enough/heater on to open that thermostat. After doing my last change on my Avalon checked it a few times during the week and added as needed until not more needed. It's like your burping the lines. Just make sure you have the right coolant. Zerex 675130 Asian Vehicle Anitfreeze / Coolant - Gallon About $15.00 Wamart. Go to Walmart to get oil , antifreeze, etc. Better prices. I leave the auto parts stores to starters etc.

Last edited by wdc123; 12-17-2017 at 06:18 PM.
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