Can I Drive After Adding Coolant? (How Long Should I Wait)

can i drive my car after adding coolant

If you have been driving your car for a few years, sooner than later, you will have to add coolant to your car’s engine.

Can I Drive After Adding Coolant?

You cannot drive your car immediately after adding the coolant. The coolant mixture can consist of air. In case you drive your car directly, you do not provide the time for the air and the mixture to separate. The engine might use the mixture along with the air. In that case, the efficiency of the coolant will come down drastically.

If you continue with the same coolant for a long time, the engine will overheat frequently. Due to the same, the lifespan of the coolant will reduce as well. That means you will have to replace the coolant soon.

How Long After Adding Coolant Can I Drive?

It is a good idea to drive your car only fifteen minutes after adding the coolant.

If you were driving your car previously, it is a good idea to wait for fifteen minutes before adding the coolant. During these 15 minutes, you have to keep the ignition off.

When you wait for at least fifteen minutes before adding the coolant, the engine’s temperature will cool down.

During this period, the coolant will settle down pretty well. If the engine’s temperature is high, and you add the coolant, it will also get heated up and will not be able to reduce the engine’s temperature.

What Do You Do After You Put Coolant In Your Car?

1. Inspect The Coolant Level:

After filling the coolant, you have to observe the level. Usually, the coolant reservoir has a minimum level and a maximum level. Once you fill it up with the coolant, it should be very near the maximum level. However, it shouldn’t be above the maximum level. The extra coolant might be wasted if it is above the max level.

Only when it is near the maximum level can you think about driving after fifteen minutes.

2. Ensure The Cap Is Screwed Shut:

The coolant reservoir has a cap on top as well. You have to ensure that the cap is screwed shut after filling the coolant.

In case the cap is loose, the coolant might get spilled.

When that happens, not only the coolant level will go down, but also the coolant might cause wear and tear of the other engine.

That is why, before you close the hood, do make sure that you are screwing the cap shut as tightly as possible.

3. Observe The Engine Temperature After 15 Minutes:

You have to wait in your car for at least fifteen minutes. After you turn on your car’s ignition, you have to observe the engine temperature. Only if it is within the prescribed range and the engine is not overheating can you drive your car.

You have to monitor the engine temperature while turning on the ignition and after driving 2 to 3 miles. If the coolant is working, the engine will not overheat, and you can drive easily.

Does Coolant Work Immediately? How Fast Does Coolant Work?

Under ideal conditions, coolant can work immediately after you add it to the car’s engine.

However, whether you buy a premixed coolant or mix it with water yourself, there are chances that there might be air in the mixture.

In case you turn on your car’s ignition instantly, this air might interfere with the working of the coolant. Coolant is a mixture that can work immediately, but it will not work effectively when it consists of air.

Once you let it settle down for fifteen minutes before turning the ignition of your car, the air will get eliminated. Therefore it becomes easier to drive your vehicle without overheating the engine.

How Do I Know If My Coolant System Is Working?

Of course, once you add coolant to your car, you would want to know whether the coolant is working appropriately or not. Fortunately, there are ways you can check the same.

1. Check The Dashboard:

Most modern cars have an engine temperature indicator on the dashboard. That will let you know whether the engine’s temperature is at the normal level or whether the temperature is high.

When you turn on the ignition after fifteen minutes or after driving the car for a couple of miles, check the engine temperature, and you will know right away whether the coolant is working or not.

If the coolant is working, the engine temperature will be normal.

2. Check The Thermostat Inside:

If the dashboard doesn’t have an engine temperature range, there is a thermostat inside the car’s hood.

However, for checking this thermostat, you will have to turn on the engine and open the hood and, after that, manually check the thermostat.

That will also let you know whether the engine’s temperature is in the normal range or whether the engine is overheated.

What Happens If I Drive Immediately After Adding Coolant?

No Long Wait

After adding the coolant, the only advantage of driving is that you will not have to wait for long. You can resume your journey without a large break.

Reduced Effectiveness Of Coolant:

As I highlighted above, the coolant mixture can consist of air. If you drive immediately, you don’t provide time to separate air and mixture. Hence, the effectiveness of the coolant will be reduced drastically.

High Wear And Tear:

Immediately, you will not notice any problems with your car, but the reliability of the various parts of the car will reduce over a period. If you continue driving even after the engine is overheated, it will suffer extensive wear and tear. In that case, the high wear and tear will lead to high maintenance costs.

Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of driving the car right away after adding the coolant, it is up to you to make the decision.

Some Tips Before & After Adding Coolant:

To increase the efficiency of the coolant, there are a handful of tips you need to follow.

1. Know About The Composition Of Coolant:

When you’re buying a coolant, you will come across various types. Firstly, you have to look at the compatibility of the coolant with the engine you have. Only when it is compatible can you go ahead with that coolant.

When it comes to the type of coolants, you will have two choices. You have to dig deeper into the types of coolants and, after that, choose one.

• Premixed:

Premixed coolants are already diluted. They come in the ready-to-use form. Once you open the bottle, you can directly add them to the car.

If you’re looking for convenience and do not want to mix the coolant and water yourself, going with a premixed coolant is undoubtedly a good idea.

• Pure Coolant:

If you’re looking for a generic coolant you can use for any vehicle, buying pure coolant is a good choice. After that, you can dilute it according to your requirement.

The first thing you need to look at is the type of coolant you want to buy. Only when you’re sure about that can you think about adding the coolant to the engine.

2. Check The Coolant Level In Advance:

The amount of coolant you add to the car will depend on the leftover coolant. Of course, you can remove the current coolant and add a completely new coolant. However, that is not always necessary.

In most cases, you have to add more coolant as long as the brand and the composition is the same.

For that, you need to know the current level of the coolant. Only when you are aware of that can you go ahead and add coolant to the car.

3. Follow The Procedure In The Manual:

While the generic process of adding the coolant is always the same, it can vary in some way depending on the vehicle you have. That is why going through the manual once is a good idea. Once you do so, you will understand whether you need to take any extra steps according to the car you have.

4. Buy Coolant Specifically Designed For Your Car:

If you do not want to dig into the coolant’s composition, a much better idea is to choose a coolant specifically designed for your car.

Finding such a coolant online is not going to be a difficult task. Before you buy it, do look at the contents and compatibility.

Once you have a coolant specifically designed for your car, it can operate at maximum efficiency. Maximum efficiency means that the temperature of the engine will remain under control. That will help you reduce wear and tear. In that case, going on long drives will be easier as well.


So, you shouldn’t drive right after adding coolant to your car. It is better to wait for at least fifteen minutes. In case of any confusion, all you need to do is follow my guide above. Following the guide above makes it effortless to not only add coolant to your car but ensure that the engine temperature remains under check.

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