When cold, level is below the ''low'', covering only about an inch or two of the overflow tank. i drove it about 3 miles to the dealer where it registered above the low line. the dealer said it was fine, the further i drive, the higher it will go. i had the radiator flushed and filled in oct. 08. prior to that the level was never below ''low''. do i need to add more coolant or are they actually telling me the truth? all the new cars in the dealership have their reservoirs at the ''full'' mark. thankyou.
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What type of vehicle do you have John,om your overflow coolant tank,should have two levels,hot and cold,if the tank is empty,then remove radiator cap and see how much is in radiator,add if low then put cap back on,then add to your overflow tank,plus you have a leak somewhere,may be your water pump is leaking,find the water pump,crawl under vehicle and see if fluid is leaking their.Do all this when engine is cold.
You should first check your coolant overflow tank to make sure there is the proper amount of coolant in it. You MUST check the coolant level when the engine is cold to get a proper reading of the level of coolant. When you open a car's coolant system to flush it is common to get air bubbles in the engine. As the engine warms up, the coolant expands and the excess goes into the overflow tank. When the engine cools, the coolant contracts and it draws coolant from the overflow tank. So, after a flush, you must check the level of the coolant the next couple of times you drive your car because it will take several expanding and contracting cycles for all of the air bubbles to be forced out of the engine. If the level is the same after checking it a couple of times, then you should open the radiator cap check the level there. It should be at the very top of the radiator. (MAKE SURE THE ENGINE IS COLD OR YOU WILL GET BURNED!!!).
If insuring the engine has the proper level of coolant doesn't correct the low coolant light, the next step would be to replace the sensor. In most engines it is just a screw-in plug with a wire on it that transmits to the low coolant gauge in the dash. Most automotive part stores should be able to look up where it is located. It is like changing a spark plug, but you may loose a little coolant out of the engine when you remove the old one, so check the coolant level after changing it.
Coolant flows to the overflow tank (white plastic tank- not to be confused with the washer fluid resevoir) when it is hot, then gets sucked back into the radiator when needed. In theory, you should never need to open the radiator itself. Just make sure the overflow tank is full to the cold line if your engine is cold, and full to the hot line if it the engine is hot. If you recently drove your car, the level will gradually change in that overflow tank (as coolant is forced out of the radiator and eventually sucked back in. Unless it is completely empty, you shouldn't need to add much.
SOUND LIKE ENGINE COOLANT LEVEL LOW.CHECK COOLANT SURGE TANK.IF LOW MORE LIKELY RADIATOR COOLANT LEVEL LOW.ADD COOLANT TO COOLANT SURGE TANK UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STAY AT FULL COLD MARK DONT OVERFILL OVERFLOW JUG.
REPLACE THERMOSTAT IF TOP COOLANT COOLANT HOSE GOING TO RADIATOR IS HOT TO TOUCH THERMOSTAT OPEN. TO BLEED COOLANT SYSTEM FIRST YOU NEED TO ADD COOLANT TO THE COOLANT OVER FLOW JUG UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING AND STAY AT FULL COLD MARK.WAIT 3 MINUTES IF COOLANT DROPS ADD MORE COOLANT UNTIL COOLANT STAY AT FULL COLD MARK.WITH RADIATOR OVER CAP OFF CRANK ENGINE FOR MINUTE WATCH COOLANT LEVEL AT OVERFLOW JUG.IF COOLANT DROPS ADD MORE COOLANT IN THE OVERFLOW JUG.WHEN COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING IN OVERFLOW JUG.SCREW BACK ON THE RADIATOR CAP TO OVERFLOW JUG.WHILE ENGINE IDLING WATCH TEMPERATURE GAUGE WHEN TEMPERATURE START CLIMBING TURN OFF ENGINE WAIT A WHILE KEEP FROM GETTING SCALDED.WHEN COOLANT COOL DOWN SOME. PLACE A LARGE RAG OVER THE COOLANT OVERFLOW JUG OPEN CAP LITTLE AT A TIME UNTIL PRESSURE RELEASED, THEN REMOVE CAP ADD MORE COOLANT IN THE OVERFLOW JUG TO THE FULL COLD MARK.THEN REPEAT THE PROCESS SCREW BACK ON THE COOLANT OVERFLOW RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP.THEN START ENGINE WATCH TEMPERATURE GAUGE WATCH COOLANT TEMPERATURE GAUGE WHEN COOLANT TEMPERATURE START RISING TURN OFF ENGINE AGAIN WAIT UNTIL ENGINE COOL DOWN ENOUGH TO KEEP FROM GETTING SCALDED TAKE PLACE LARGE RAG OVER RADIATOR CAP WHICH IS THE COOLANT OVERFLOW JUG CAP OPEN CAP LITTLE AT A TIME UNTIL PRESSURE RELEASED ADD COOLANT UNTIL AT FULL COLD MARK. WHEN YOUR COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING.AND TOP RADIATOR HOSE VERY HOT THERMOSTAT OPEN AND AIR IS OUT THE COOLANT SYSTEM. MAKE SURE YOUR COOLANT OVERFLOW JUG HAS COOLANT IN IT,WHEN ENGINE COOL DOWN CHECK COOLANT OVERFLOW JUG KEEP COOLANT LEVEL AT FULL COLD MARK.BECAUSE IF OVERFLOW JUG IS EMPTY THATS A SIGN RADIATOR COOLANT LEVEL LOW.WHEN OVERFLOW JUG EMPTY IT WILL ALLOW AIR GET IN THE COOLANT SYSTEM AND CAUSE CAR TO OVERHEAT.WHEN REPLACING THERMOSTAT ALSO REPLACE THE RADIATOR CAP ON THE COOLANT OVERFLOW JUG.
Sounds like your sensor unit in your coolant overflow tank. Like nearly everything man made that floats, they will eventually leak (become water logged). This is a relatively cheap fix, as long as the light is coming on and the coolant level in the overflow tank is between the MIN and MAX lines in the overflow tank. This means that the float in there is dropping below the actual fluid level (watter logged) and you need to get a replacement sensor unit (aka sending unit) for the overflow tank.
Otherwise, if the coolant level in the overflow tank IS BELOW the MIN level line on the tank, then you are losing coolant somewhere and that is when things start to get expensive (might be a radiator problem, head gasket, cylinder head, heater core, etc).