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Discussion Starter #1
I feel a little foolish asking the question, but when exactly should I check the coolant level?

Scenario:

1. My car was cold from being parked overnight.
2. The coolant in the reservoir was near the "Low" mark.
3. I warmed up the car, drove to buy some coolant, returned home.
4. The coolant level in the reservoir was right on the "Full" mark.

I checked the owner's manual and it says to check the coolant when the car is "cool" - to me, that's a subjective and useless instruction - I know "hot" and I know "cold".

My current thinking is that the coolant level is just fine, but then again, why does the owner's manual not just state to check the reservoir level when the engine is "hot"?

Thanks!
-Steve
 

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Coolant level sounds fine. As for the terms, I can't help you. I check most fluids at operating temp. :shrug:
 

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I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon! :biggrin:

My '07 Owner's Manual says to check the coolant level "cool", but IMO, cold , after the engine has set overnight is best & will prevent overfilling. There are 2 marks on the tank. "low" & "full". When the engine is cold, the coolant level in the tank should be at the "full" mark. If you check the level when the engine is hot, the level can be over the full level (normal), so always check the level when the engine is cold. :wink:

In addition, it's not wise to mix different types of coolant, so match what's there with a 50/50 mix of coolant & distilled water, assuming you get undiluted collant. You can also purchase coolant that's already 50/50. :smile:

Bobby...

This is copied from the Owner's Manual PDF version. Other than saying "cool", the info I wrote above is the same, but I prefer "cold" over "cool". :wink:

Engine coolant: Checking the coolant level:
1. Check the coolant level on the outside of the reservoir while the engine is cool.
2. If the level is close to or lower than the “LOW” level mark, add coolant up to the “FULL” level mark. If the reserve tank is empty, remove the radiator cap and refill as required.
 

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There are two different times to check the coolant.

1. when cold view the expansion bottle and the level of the coolant in the bottle should be near the "low" mark.
a. also check the level of the coolant in the radiator. Should be near the top. Please only do this when the engine is cold.

2. when hot the coolant in the bottle should be near the "high" mark.


I have some friends that were filling the bottle every time it was at the low mark and after driving the coolant would be blowing all over the engine and so they thought it was over heating.
 

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I don't understand "when"?

cold = cold
hot = hot.

All related to the temp of the engine not the weather or outside temp.
 

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2015 Highlander AWD XLE 6AT
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The '09 instructions are to "Check the coolant level on the outside of the reservoir while the engine is cool."

Yeah, there's no definition of "cool". Below 140 F (60 C) is physically safe (you can usually touch something at this temp and recoil without physical injury), but a "cool engine" is probably below ~122 F (~50C), which appears to be the "blue temp light" transition point in the '09.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for all the replies.

So the consensus is to check the level when the engine is "cold" and to fill to the "Full" mark - I had been concerned about overfilling, since when the engine gets "hot" the coolant level will be over the "Full" mark (but it appears that's OK).

As for my terminology, I should have said "Cold" and "Operating Temperature".

More subjective terms like "Cool" and "Warm" are open to a very wide range of temperatures, wouldn't you agree?

Thanks to all!
-Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Steve,

Check the instructions on page 11-13 of the 2009 Forester owner's manual.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
I gotta beat the dead horse a little more...

In the screenshots (and in the actual manual, which I do have) note that it says to "Check the coolant at each fuel stop". Now while it's unlikely I'd do that, it certainly implies that you must have been *driving* at least for a while, so there's a paradox here...

How can you check the engine when it's "cold" (overnight) and also at each fuel stop?

I guess you could park it overnight in front of the pump but.... (yes, that's sarcasm).

But really, now I'm not sure again.
 

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The expansion bottle is there for the expansion of the coolant as the engine heats up to operating temperature.

Once the level of the coolant is at the min mark when cold (overnight for example) and at the max mark when hot (after a good work out) you are really done.

You don't want to physically add coolant to a expansion bottle when at the low mark when the engine is cold. This is for the radiator to expand to.

Once in a while open the rad cap (cold) and take a peek. Coolant should be visible.

The dead horse is burried.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The expansion bottle is there for the expansion of the coolant as the engine heats up to operating temperature.

Once the level of the coolant is at the min mark when cold (overnight for example) and at the max mark when hot (after a good work out) you are really done.

You don't want to physically add coolant to a expansion bottle when at the low mark when the engine is cold. This is for the radiator to expand to.

Once in a while open the rad cap (cold) and take a peek. Coolant should be visible.

The dead horse is burried.
Alas, the horse has risen from the grave (at least for me) since you've DIRECTLY contradicted the advice given by '2.5x sleeper', above.

To wit, '2.5x' says:
"When the engine is cold, the coolant level in the tank should be at the "full" mark. If you check the level when the engine is hot, the level can be over the full level (normal), so always check the level when the engine is cold."

What's a reasonably intelligent person to do/trust?

Thanks for listening. Ding, Ding...
-Steve
 

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^^ Simple for me. I recently had the coolant changed on my '03 & '07 at my Subaru dealership. I asked my trusted service advisor. :wink:

Final thought. You really can't hurt anything by having a bit too much coolant... it would just leak out of the overflow tank. On the otherhand, having too little can be a problem. My .02 cents worth. :smile:

Bobby...
 

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:chair: Couldn' find anything similar with a horse... :icon_wink: Besides, if I had, then some PC organization would probably complain. :icon_rolleyes:

How can you check the engine when it's "cold" (overnight) and also at each fuel stop?
I suspect that something may have been "lost in the translation". My take is that Subaru is recommending that the coolant level be "checked" at each fuel stop to make sure that it's generally OK. For example, is the hot engine's expansion bottle half-full or empty?

If the level appears seriously abnormal, then you'll need to do a real check when the engine is cool/cold.

If this is a real concern to you, then you might want to normalize the coolant level when the engine is cold, and then add a mark (black felt tip?) on the bottle at the corresponding "hot" coolant level.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
 

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Well if you check after you drive, the coolant level should be at the top line, but not over. When my coolant is cold, it's half way between LOW and FULL.
 

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Well if you check after you drive, the coolant level should be at the top line, but not over.
I have a different interpretation of the coolant level instructions for my '09.

Ref: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/when-check-coolant-2009-forester-62279/#post690189

These instructions suggest adding coolant to the expansion bottle's "Full" line when the engine is cool. As a result, the "hot engine" coolant level will likely be above the "Full" line due to thermal expansion, and that should be OK. The coolant level should then fall back to the "Full" line when the engine cools.

Regards,
Jim / crewzer
 

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^^ That's what I've trying to convey with my previous posts on this thread! :icon_eek: It's what my Subaru dealership, service advisor told me when I had the coolant changed on my '03 & '07. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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O have made a permanent marker between the upper and lower mark and that's what I use for "cold Reading". Naturally some coolant needs to be added in colder months.
 

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I have a different interpretation of the coolant level instructions for my '09.

Ref: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/when-check-coolant-2009-forester-62279/#post690189

These instructions suggest adding coolant to the expansion bottle's "Full" line when the engine is cool. As a result, the "hot engine" coolant level will likely be above the "Full" line due to thermal expansion, and that should be OK. The coolant level should then fall back to the "Full" line when the engine cools.

Regards,
Jim / crewzer
yeah our SGs say that same stuff too so that's how i interpreted it as well. but my dealership told me differently, as did a lot of other guys here. dealer says if you fill up to full when cold, it'll most likely come out... and that it did. found dried coolant all over my block and fans and i thought there was a leak, but there wasn't.

if you think about it... when you change your coolant and fill up, the instructions say to fill up to full while running the engine at temp... so.. yeah.
 
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