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Should my radiator overflow resevoir be under pressure? Can you just open the top at anytime.

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Should be no pressure but still use caution around engine bays
you should be able to see from just looking at the outside that its got the right level

Posted on Jul 17, 2009

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2004 explorer, overheating, coolant bubbling in resevoir


Hi Mike,first thing to do is raise hood,check coolant level in overflow container,if low,there's a leak.look everywhere around top part of engine area for leaks,if none,then get under vehicle and look for leaks with a flashlight.If none are found,then thermostat may be bad not opening all the way causing it to get hot,here's a link on how to remove,get a pot of water and heat to 180 and see if thermostat opens completely.if not,then bad,if it does,then water pump is bad or radiator is partially clogged.Here's how to replace the water pump.Here's how to replace your radiator.Enjoy your free repair guide.

Feb 24, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Radiator drain plug


The hose coming from the radiator cap neck should be routed into an overflow resevoir.This allows the coolant to escape when the engine is warm,and return to the radiator when it cools off.The radiator cap will bleed off when it reaches the set pressure(typically 16 PSI),and allow the coolant to be sucked back into the radiator by the vaccum created when the engine cools off.If your resevoir is missing or broken,get one at an auto graveyard(it'l probably be about 5 bucks).If you want a $0 fix,you can just put the hose into an empty plastic soda bottle(make sure the hose sits at the bottom of the bottle).

Sep 24, 2012 | 1997 Cadillac Seville

1 Answer

Do you put antifreeze in engine coolant yellow cap or radiator do not open hot cap of 2002 chrylser town & country van?


You can put it either one or both. If you can see coolant in the bottle with the "engine coolant" cap ( resevoir) then there is no need to open the other. Fill the resevoir to the full mark. If that bottle is empty then you can open the radiator cap ( do not open hot). Do it when the engine is cold because the antifreeze in the rad can be hotter than boiling water and is under pressure. When the engine is cold, turn the cap until it stops, then push down and turn a little more and it will come off. There is a safety tab on it to keep hot coolant out of your face. Fill the radiator slowly until the coolant is about 1/2 to 1" below the neck and reinstall the cap. Make sure you get it on properly, both safety tabs are caught and fully tightened or it may blow off. Then you can top up the resevoir too. Hope this helps.

Sep 09, 2011 | 2002 Chrysler Town & Country

1 Answer

Where does the overflow hose drain out.....the location


The overflow drains and picks up coolant from the overflow bottle, or coolant resevoir. This is the same bottle where you top off your antifreeze. Usually located near the radiator.

Sep 04, 2011 | 1995 Chrysler Cirrus

3 Answers

I replaced my radiator on my 2004 with a 2.2 and it seems like the thermostat is not opening. It can not get the air out. It seem to just to over heat and push the coolant out. Randy


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.

Aug 09, 2011 | 2004 Oldsmobile Alero

1 Answer

Van is losing water but the overflows continues to stay full. No cracks in radiator and the cap where you put in the water has a hose going in but no hose on the opposite opening.


In a properly working system, the coolant expands as the coolant temp rises. The excess coolant flows into the overflow container by the hose that runs from the bottom of the overflow to the top of the radiator, under the radiator cap. When the coolant begins to cool down, it contracts,drawing fluid back into the radiator from the overflow. The water pump has a "weep" hole located near the bottom of the pump housing that will leak coolant if the pump is going bad. In some engines, the 3.0, the water pump is located under the camshaft timing belt cover, and is a BEAR to deal with. However, the coolant should be pulled into the radiator when the engine cools, so check that the hose from the top of the radiator is attached to the bottom of the overflow and that it is not blocked or pinched. Have the system pressure tested to verify that it has no leaks. Hope this helps. Dano

Jul 10, 2011 | 1992 Plymouth Voyager

1 Answer

Where to put water


under the hood on one of the fender wells there will be a tank, this is your coolant overflow tank, fill it to the line on the side, the other fill area is at the top of the radiator, NEVER OPEN THIS CAP WHEN YOUR ENGINE IS HOT!!! it is under pressure and severe burns can result. When cool remove cap and fill radiator to top replace cap and top off overflow to mark. have fun!

Feb 26, 2011 | 1998 Jeep Cherokee

1 Answer

My coolant resevoir is full but top coolant hose is empty. Is there a bleeder system?


Here is a basic description of cooling system, the top hose going to engine is the supply hose the bottom hose is the return hose. On your overflow coolant reservoir there is a lower cold level mark and a hot level mark above it also there is an overflow drain spout several inches above hot level mark to relieve pressure if system is overfilled. As to a bleeder system, bleeders purge air from a system to allowed it to become primed (pressure built up) generally on hydraulic systems like brakes or pneumatic systems like a diaphram pump for example. the only drain available is the petcock valve at the bottom of the radiator used to drain coolant. Now to your top hose being empty, you can remove top hose to engine have a garden hose running into radiator and if radiator cores are not stopped up water should flow freely from hose if not radiator is clogged. If you have water flow now you can pressure test system it should hold between 15-18lbs pressure constantly otherwise check all hoses/clamps etc (if leaks were present before replace faulty component/s) your vehicles water pump circulates coolant and is what pressurizes cooling system. A faulty thermostat will also restrict coolant from entering the engines coolant passageways if it doesn't open and your vehicle would overheat soon after, but you should still have coolant in upper hose when engine is running regardless. If you can add other info like your vehicle is running hot or coolant light coming on I can narrow it down for you.

Jan 07, 2011 | 1996 Pontiac Sunfire

1 Answer

Overheating bubbleling in resevoir


bubbling into the overflow may mean a head gasket is gone, it may also mean the radiator or thermostat is blocked. or there is a leak
Clean and flush radiator, check the radiator fins for corrosion
pressure test coolant system
(if this is ok then)
new thermostat
new coolant

May 09, 2010 | 1994 Pontiac Bonneville

1 Answer

Coolant filling up overflow bottle and not returning Started intermittently No coolant leaks Changed Hoses Cap Thermostat Cooling system has always had good quality coolant and is clean inside...


You may need to ask AAA to put a radiator pressure tester on the resevoir bottle and pump it up to operating pressure(Pressure cap rating) and see if it over pressurises while it is running at operating temp,rev engine up and down and watch what the testers pressure readings do,it should move up and down in sync with the water pump.If the pressure keeps building i would have to believe that combustion chamber gases are over pressurising your cooling system.Also test the pressure cap is functioning within factory specs.

Oct 30, 2008 | Mitsubishi Passenger Cars & Trucks

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