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Topic # 22380 26-May-2008 16:51
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my car engine temperature metre is going above halfway recently and i think i need to put something into the radiator.

it is my understanding that the radiator has 50% water and 50% radiator fluid. how do I know which of the 2 has run out? i have never opened the radiator cap before. is there a level checker thing inside it to check the fluid level? if the fluid is low do i put some more water or radiator fluid in it?

i haven't got any radiator fluid but can i buy it from a car part shop?
 
i don't know what brand of radiator fluid my car currently has so if i buy some from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand?

with regards to the oil. i don't know what brand of oil my car currently has. i see some brands have different advantages etc. if i bought some oil from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand of oil that is in my car right now?
 
will anything bad happen if the car has a mixture of 2 different brands of oil?

and by the way, what colour is the oil when its dirty?

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Reply # 133363 26-May-2008 19:39
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Check the level in the cooling system header tank, which is the plastic container with a hose linking it to the radiator. If it's low or empty then mix 1/3 of cooling additive with 2/3 water and pour it into the header tank so that it reaches the full marker. Note that the full marker is well short of the capacity of the header tank - it's important that you don't fill it right up as the fluid will expand when the engine warms up. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is warm.

If your header tank and radiator already have the correct fluid levels then you need to get to a mechanic ASAP to get the problem checked out properly. Overheating an engine can be very expensive.

It doesn't matter what sort of cooling fluid you use - anything of reasonable quality should be fine. For the correct oil type refer to your vehicle's handbook. Any non-turbo built in the last 15 years should be okay with 15w-40 but you need to be confident that you're filling it with the same viscosity as the oil that's already in it. Ideally you also want to avoid mixing brands of oil, but matching the viscosity is the most important thing. Oil will darken as it becomes worn.

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  Reply # 133366 26-May-2008 19:45
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For the radiator, 50/50 is a rough guide I guess, most car manuals usually have a more accurate guide to use.... but in saying that, Ive spoken to 1 or two mechanics who have said just having the coolant isnt a major issue these days.
I dont think there any special type of coolant to get, but check with your local mechanic or Supacheap store.

W rating in oil for NZ is pretty much useless as NZ cars never get to freezing point (well..in theory). 
Have a look on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_oil

What type of car do you have ?

Newer the car, then I think you're best off to use synthetic oils. For my car (89 Galant) I just use the cheapest oil I find at Warehouse/Supcheap ;)

Try to stick to the same type/brand of oil all the time. Something to check while doing the oil, is have a look into the engine - if it looks rough or dirty, then you may have some issues that need looking at. If it looks "clean" (for an engine), then should be doing well.

If you find that when you do an oil change and your car smokes a bit afterwards, especially with giving the car a bit of gas from low revs, is to try going for a slightly heavier oil type (40 instead of 30).

Hope my limited knowledge is of some help...... Im sure other readers will put forward their views and correct me if Im wrong :)

Tonyhuges maybe able to shed some light on things also as he thrashes cars around a bit Laughing




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Reply # 133373 26-May-2008 20:02
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xpd: Newer the car, then I think you're best off to use synthetic oils.


A few years ago I was chatting to a mechanic at a pub and he told me that there is no benefit in using synthetic oil unless the vehicle has used this type of oil throughout its life. Switching between mineral and synthetic oils between oil changes is not advisable.

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  Reply # 133379 26-May-2008 20:09
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Wait til engine is cool and remove radiator cap. If there's no fluid visible (it should be full right up to the neck of the radiator) then top it up with just water for now. You will need to consult a mechanic - the water has to have gone somewhere.

If there is fluid there, then put cap on and consult a mechanic - there are many causes for your temp guage to go above the norm.

I would check the lube sticker on your windscreen, if there is none there or your speedo reading exceeds the number written on the sticker then consult a mechanic, time for an oil change.

If you check the level and its low then check the sticker to see what viscosity was used to determine what to buy. As a guide, the dipstick level from low to high is roughly about a litre of oil, dont overfill. If in doubt, consult a mechanic.

Engine oil that is very black (very bad unless its a diesel) or a very dark brown is overdue for changing but if you have no idea then get it changed with manufacturers recommended oil. I am a fan of semi-synthetic oils, they did wonders for my noisy tappets on my 93 familia.





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  Reply # 133381 26-May-2008 20:10
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I had a radiator place once tell me 100% water was fine...

With regards to oil, my suggestion would be read the owners manual as it will tell you what type of oil to use, if you don't have it then try sites like www.castrol.co.nz, www.shell.co.nz, etc which have a "lubematch" tool on it where it has *most* cars on it and can suggest the type of oil to put in your engine.
Like my primera for example it suggest using Magnatec which I've found personally good oil.

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  Reply # 133386 26-May-2008 20:14
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alasta:
xpd: Newer the car, then I think you're best off to use synthetic oils.


A few years ago I was chatting to a mechanic at a pub and he told me that there is no benefit in using synthetic oil unless the vehicle has used this type of oil throughout its life. Switching between mineral and synthetic oils between oil changes is not advisable.


I used to put Mobil1 (fully synthetic) in my HT holden with 186 engine. I made sure I ran a couple of cheap oils for few oil changes for only a few 100k's to clean then ran Mobil1. The difference was amazing, fuel economy, performance and even the sound was so much better. Of course running an oil that was back then $90 for 4 litres was a bit excessive for a car more than 20yrs old - but you gotta love your Holdens :)




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Reply # 133388 26-May-2008 20:17
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DjShadow: I had a radiator place once tell me 100% water was fine...


Making that recommendation may be in their best interests rather than yours!

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  Reply # 133412 26-May-2008 21:00
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richgamer: my car engine temperature metre is going above halfway recently and i think i need to put something into the radiator.

it is my understanding that the radiator has 50% water and 50% radiator fluid. how do I know which of the 2 has run out? i have never opened the radiator cap before. is there a level checker thing inside it to check the fluid level? if the fluid is low do i put some more water or radiator fluid in it?

i haven't got any radiator fluid but can i buy it from a car part shop?

i don't know what brand of radiator fluid my car currently has so if i buy some from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand?

with regards to the oil. i don't know what brand of oil my car currently has. i see some brands have different advantages etc. if i bought some oil from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand of oil that is in my car right now?

will anything bad happen if the car has a mixture of 2 different brands of oil?

and by the way, what colour is the oil when its dirty?

Never opening your radiator cap is the car equivalent of never checking to see if you antivirus has been updated.

50/50 antifreeze vs. water is good. Antifreeze (radiator fluid) does so much more than protect against freezing, it has anto corrosion properties, and raises the boiling point of the water well above 100 degrees. You should never use 100% water in a radiator unless you have a very specific reason to, backed up by knowledge of the potential consequences.

What year, model and type of engine do you have?

Dirty oil is usually tar-like in colour. Clean oil is translucent and looks "nice". If your oil isn't translucent, and doesn't look "nice" then it needs changing (ages ago).

Don't mix oil if you don't know whats in there. Choose an oil based on your cars needs, and do a full oil+filter change, then keep using that same oil for each oil change.

Do your oil changes every 10,000km like clockwork. Regular oil changes make a huge difference to engine wear.




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  Reply # 133417 26-May-2008 21:05
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Yeah but this was around 7 years ago when I saw this place, at the time I knew little about radiators apart from the fact they keep your engine cool so I just trusted their word on it since it was what their business was dedicated to :)

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  Reply # 133418 26-May-2008 21:06
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Never open your radiator cap while the engine is hot/warm. Wait for everything to be cool to touch before opening that cap.

I learnt this the hard way, I opened a cap and got severe burns over my chest, neck, shoulders and arms in the middle of nowhere (East Coast area) during a drought, and was 1 hour drive from any water.




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  Reply # 133431 26-May-2008 21:51
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tonyhughes: Never open your radiator cap while the engine is hot/warm. Wait for everything to be cool to touch before opening that cap.


Heh... its like telling people not to look down the barrel of a gun.... or shove a screwdriver into a live socket...but they still do it.

Or is that just the Americans.... Tongue out




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  Reply # 133461 27-May-2008 00:49
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richgamer: my car engine temperature metre is going above halfway recently and i think i need to put something into the radiator.

Have your driving habits changed recently?

it is my understanding that the radiator has 50% water and 50% radiator fluid. how do I know which of the 2 has run out? i have never opened the radiator cap before. is there a level checker thing inside it to check the fluid level? if the fluid is low do i put some more water or radiator fluid in it?  i haven't got any radiator fluid but can i buy it from a car part shop?

this has basically been answered, but to put it another way: there are several different mixture ratios you could use dependant on what type of motoring you are doing and in what environment you are doing it in.  For "normal" motoring in NZ (ie anywhere above Christchurch - sorry South Islanders :-)) just make sure the radiator, or resevoir tank is at the full level and the water is, in laymans terms, "nice and green".  The brand of fluid does not matter as it's manufactured to a standard - the green comes from the fluoresent dye used to track leaks.  by the way I would suggest you have a good check of all the water carrying hoses to see if you have a leak.  If you don't know which hoses carry water, get the manual for your car and learn - there's nothing like being some time from help and not knowing what to do.
 
i don't know what brand of radiator fluid my car currently has so if i buy some from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand?

No.

with regards to the oil. i don't know what brand of oil my car currently has. i see some brands have different advantages etc. if i bought some oil from the shop would it matter if it was a different brand of oil that is in my car right now?

If you don't know what's in there now, then you basically have no choice.  Pick a brand and stick with it.  20w/50 is a very common brand, but your car may not be common - you haven't told us.
 
will anything bad happen if the car has a mixture of 2 different brands of oil?

Shouldn't be, unless you mix diesel engine oil with petrol...

and by the way, what colour is the oil when its dirty?

As has been said beofore, clean oil is light bown in colour and is quite translucent.  The dirtier it gets, the darker it gets.  It also acquires a burnt kind of smell - and if that smell is quite noticeable you should replace immediately, as well as the filter.

However, bear in mind that low radiator levels are not the only cause of rising temperatures.  It may be simply down to the fact that your oil is well past it's use by date and isn't properly lubricating the engine anymore causing friction.  the age/make/model of your car is unknown, but it may be a fault developing in the thermostat.  It may be a blockage somewhere in the waters' circulatory system.

If you're not confident about troubleshooting the motor yourself but would like to learn, then go to a car parts specialist and buy the appropriate manual for your car.  Otherwise take it to a qualified mechanic.

All the best...

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