What type of engine coolant does my car need? How long does changing my fluids take? Where do I get rid of leftover fluids? This article will help answer these questions as well as provide tips for safely changing your vehicle’s fluids at home.

Tip 1: Choose the Right Coolant for Your Car

In order to replace your coolant you need to know what type of coolant your vehicle needs. The simplest way to figure that out is to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Tip 2: Monitor Seasonally

The chemicals in antifreeze work hard every time you turn your vehicle on. The fluid is pumped through your engine to maintain an even operating temperature as well as prevent corrosion. The longer your engine coolant goes unchanged, the less effective its chemicals become. Different vehicles require new coolant at different mileage intervals. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more specific information on when to replace your engine coolant.

Tip 3: Add/Flush and Replace Coolant Safely

Whether you’re new to DIY car care or have been fixing your car for decades, it’s always important to know what you’re doing before you start. Since antifreeze is a chemical, proper safety precautions should be exercised anytime you replace your vehicle’s fluids yourself. Here are few things to remember before you get started:

  • Have eye protection and disposable gloves available to prevent any personal harm from splashing liquids.
  • Prior to opening the container, read and follow all label directions for safe handling, use and disposal.
  • If any spills occur, they should either be fully absorbed with paper towels or flushed with lots of water to avoid accidental exposure to humans or animals.
  • Store any unused antifreeze in its original, labeled container with the cap sealed tightly. If you used a concentrated coolant product that has been diluted with water before storage, clearly mark the container to indicate its dilution.

Tip 4: How to Properly Dispose of Coolant

Since engine coolant is a chemical mixture, it’s important to know the safe and proper ways to dispose of old coolant after you perform a flush. It’s important to have a plan for disposal before you begin the coolant flush.

  • Recycling used antifreeze—whether through the retailer where you purchased the new product, or through local municipal programs—is strongly recommended where available. Visit Earth911.com [LINK: https://earth911.com/ ] to find a recycling or disposal center near you.
  • If recycling is not available in your area, consult local sanitary sewer/ water treatment authorities to see if flushing antifreeze to their system is allowed. They may have quantity restrictions or request the consumer flush with copious amounts of water to minimize impact on their treatment process.
  • Antifreeze should NOT be disposed of:
    • Into your solid waste stream (i.e., to a landfill).
    • Into a storm water drain that enters any lake, stream, river, pond or other body of water.
    • Into a subsurface sewage treatment system (e.g., a septic system).
    • By mixing with other used automotive fluids.
    • By directly draining onto the ground.
    • In a manner that is regulated by state or local ordinance, regulation or covenant.