Even though many people choose to simply put water into their radiators instead of coolant, it is not really a good idea. If you do not have any coolant on hand and must use water, then by all means do so. It is much better than nothing and will definitely keep your vehicle from overheating. Do however, make sure that you purchase some coolant and put it into your radiator at your next available moment. When asked, many people simply do not know the difference between putting water into a vehicle or coolant; so if you have been wondering about this yourself, then you are not alone.
There is a big difference between using proper coolant and water. While water does help to keep your engine cool, it does not work nearly as well as coolant does. First of all, water boils faster and at a lower temperature than does coolant. Another thing that you should keep in mind is that coolant also performs the duties of antifreeze as well. If it is winter, than you risk having your engine block crack if you run your engine with only plain water. Engine coolant also has been formulated to keep the parts in your engine from becoming corroded. Water, it goes without saying, does not possess these qualities.
Now that the importance of always having coolant in your vehicle has been established, it is important that you check your coolant level if you have not done so in awhile. Coolant is very easy to check, and you should probably do so every time you check your oil. First, you should check your overflow tank. This is a clear tank and you can check the level without even taking off the cap. There is a fill line on the side, go ahead and fill it with 50/50 coolant to this point if you need to. If you have unmixed coolant, then you need to mix it with 50 percent water beforehand. Make sure your radiator is filled as well.
It is natural for dirt and residue to clog your cooling system, so doing a full radiator flush is a good idea once in awhile. In order to do this, you will need a wrench or screwdriver, rag, radiator flush solution, funnel, and a receptacle to place the used coolant. Making sure that your engine is cool, drain the coolant that is already in the tank. There is a drain plug on your radiator tank that you’ll need to unscrew. Make sure you have your receptacle underneath for the old coolant. Do not leave the old coolant where a pet or animal may drink it.
Now you have to replace the radiator drain plug. You are ready to put in your radiator flush solution. Unscrew the cap on the top of the radiator and fill it all the way to the top. Let your car run for about 10 minutes with the heater on all the way. After your engine has cooled completely, you may drain the fluid. Now you just have to replace the plug again and fill the tank up with coolant. Do not pour the coolant or flush solution on the ground, dispose of it properly.