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Discussion Starter #1
How often should I add coolant to my car? I bought it a little under four years ago and I haven't added any at all, so today when I took a look, it noticed it was below the "low" line and almost completely empty, except for a tiny bit at the bottom of the reservoir.
 

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It really depends on a lot of things. Your driving habits, environment, and the type of vehicle. If yours is low I would do a flush, inspect all the hoses then refill to your car's specs. My trailblazer I would do every 50k yet on my Bimmer every 25k to 30k cause I beat the crap out of it.
 

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A lot of cars will come in to my dealership with low coolant, especially when the weather changes. There isn't necessarily anything wrong, it just may be that the factory short-filled them or never topped back off after the lines were bled of air.

If you have a reservoir with "min/max" lines, top it off while the vehicle's cold (with the proper fluid--there's more than a few, depending on manufacturer) and check it (cold) a few weeks later. If it's habitually going down to empty, then you'll know something else is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It really depends on a lot of things. Your driving habits, environment, and the type of vehicle. If yours is low I would do a flush, inspect all the hoses then refill to your car's specs. My trailblazer I would do every 50k yet on my Bimmer every 25k to 30k cause I beat the crap out of it.
If I'm here asking about the filling of my fluids, do you really think I'm going to know how to do anything that you've mentioned there?

A lot of cars will come in to my dealership with low coolant, especially when the weather changes. There isn't necessarily anything wrong, it just may be that the factory short-filled them or never topped back off after the lines were bled of air.

If you have a reservoir with "min/max" lines, top it off while the vehicle's cold (with the proper fluid--there's more than a few, depending on manufacturer) and check it (cold) a few weeks later. If it's habitually going down to empty, then you'll know something else is going on.
Yeah, I bought it brand new and I'm not good enough with car maintenance to have been checking it regularly. I only just noticed it while I finally got around to adding some windshield washer fluid (which had been empty for about a year).

Guess I'll make a trip up to the dealership to pick up some coolant. My manual said it had to match the brand of my car.
 

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In a perfect world it would never leak out and you would want to replace it every other year or so. Sounds like you have a leak. It's probably time to flush the system and add new.

Which color coolant and what car are we talking about?
 

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There's a difference between checking and filling.

Try making a habit of checking all of your fluids about once a mont or every 500 miles and add as needed.

Your owner's manual will tell you how to do all of that.

Also check for leaks by (at the very least) just looking under your car periodically.

"Guess I'll make a trip up to the dealership to pick up some coolant. My manual said it had to match the brand of my car."

You are going to get soaked by overpriced coolant at the dealer.

Check the coolant specification (not brand) then buy some at AutoZone or Walmart
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, but it's hard to say what I had in there to begin with.

It's a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer. I have no clue what color the fluid was. I opened up the cap and saw some neon greenish spittle, so maybe green?
 

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If I'm here asking about the filling of my fluids, do you really think I'm going to know how to do anything that
Oh it's not that hard. If you can pull a trigger, you can do that stuff. Why pay twice as much at a dealership when you can do it yourself. (unless your car is under warranty then let them do it.)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There's a difference between checking and filling.

Try making a habit of checking all of your fluids about once a mont or every 500 miles and add as needed.

Your owner's manual will tell you how to do all of that.

Also check for leaks by (at the very least) just looking under your car periodically.

"Guess I'll make a trip up to the dealership to pick up some coolant. My manual said it had to match the brand of my car."

You are going to get soaked by overpriced coolant at the dealer.

Check the coolant specification (not brand) then buy some at AutoZone or Walmart
*Checks manual*

There's no mention of specification. It just says "Use Mitsubishi Genuine Coolant or an equivalent."
 

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Nice of Mitsu to use green from the factory. Just run to any local Advance Auto, Autozone, Napa or Walmart and pick up a couple gallons of green coolant. Make sure you know if you're getting 100% or 50/50. If you don't get 50/50 you'll want to cut the coolant in half with water.

If you just need to fill the reservoir you'll only need about a gallon, but if the reservoir is empty you could end up needing more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is what I got. Hopefully it's the right stuff, because it's going in!



I really don't get the part where it says "mix with any color anti-freeze." Uhhh...isn't this anti-freeze? Why would I have to mix anti-freeze with anti-freeze?

Anyway, it better be right. Cost me $28!! Ridiculous!
 

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Because if you mix green with GM orange it gels and clots the water passages in the engine. They are claiming this mix won't, but I wouldn't try it.
 

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First off .... extended life or long life AF is good for 5 years.

Secondly, nearly all antifreeze has gone to green again and most is compatible with the orange extended life of yesteryear.

Thirdly ..... are you just checking the fluid?? Did you do so when it was warm or hot or when it was cold?

When an engine is cold, it's not uncommon to see the level below the max line. It will flow back into the radiator when cold. When it's warm (as in checking it at a gas station while filling up with fuel) it would have pushed some back into the reservoir as it expands when hot. As long as the coolant is somewhere between the low and max line on the reservoir and the engine is cold, you're OK but feel free to bring it to the max line if need be. If your reservoir was empty, you may wanna check inside the radiator as well to make sure you see the antifreeze in the radiator. (if possible) DO SO ONLY WHEN COLD!!!! DO NOT OPEN WHEN HOT!!! According to your manual there, your reservoir holds roughly 2/3 of quart. Pretty small reservoir.You will loose a very small amount of coolant due to constant temperature changes as the reservoir is not 100% sealed. After 3 years and it still had some in there, I'd say you're OK, but keep an eye on it over the next couple weeks to be sure there is no leak. (radiators can form pin holes that will leak small amounts of AF and it will steam off so you will never see a drop on the pavement.)

Personally, I'd have the cooling system flushed and filled and thermostat and gasket changed this fall given the age of the car.
 
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