Engine coolant pressure light turned on

Auto School: When Should I Check my Coolant Levels?

Why Does My Coolant Light Come on When I Start My Car? 

Any time your dashboard warning lights pop on it can be unsettling – even ones that you see every day. If your coolant light is popping on each time you get behind the wheel, you might be wondering when and if you should check your vehicle’s coolant levels. This edition of Friendly Kia’s Auto School is going to go over the coolant system in your vehicle to help you better understand what’s going on below the hood.  

If you’ve been wondering why your coolant light comes on when you start your car or want to know when you should be checking your coolant levels, keep reading to find the answers.  

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What is Coolant? 

Coolant is a fluid that helps to keep your vehicle’s engine from becoming overheated. This fluid helps protect various pieces in the engine from overheating or even melting.  

Why is My Coolant Light On? 

If you have noticed that your coolant level light comes on when you first start your vehicle, you aren’t alone. This is common for many vehicles, especially those in cooler climates. Engine coolant takes up less space when it’s cold and more space once it has reached a higher temperature. So, why is the coolant light coming on when you start your car? The indicator is telling you that the fluid level is below the sensor, however, once you start driving and the engine heats up, the light should go off. If your coolant light stays on even after driving for a few minutes, then it’s time to check your coolant levels and the coolant sensor.  

Car coolant reservoir full of pink coolant

How to Check a Car’s Coolant Levels 

When your coolant light fails to turn off after driving for a few minutes, the issue could be a faulty sensor or too little coolant in the reservoir. If you want to check a car’s coolant level, be sure to wait until the vehicle is completely cooled off and hasn’t been running for a few hours. Checking the fluid level when the vehicle is still hot can lead to coolant spraying out and causing burns.  

Open the lid on the coolant reservoir and check to see if the fluid level is between the “Min” and “Max” markings on the side of the plastic. If the fluid is below the “Min” level, top it off so that it falls between the two markings. Once topped off and the lid is replaced, take your vehicle out for a drive. If the coolant light fails to turn off, it is likely that the sensor has gone bad.  

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If you’ve found yourself with a faulty coolant sensor or need your coolant system checked out, book an appointment with the Friendly Kia service team. Our experts will get your vehicle up and running like new in no time.