The coolant reservoir is a tank located in your vehicle that holds the overflowing coolant that comes from your cooling system. The reservoir is a clear plastic container located near the radiator. The cooling system is attached to your engine. This system is made up of tubes and pipes that have coolant running through them. The system works by having a pipe push and pull the coolant through.
The fluid expands as it is subjected to more heat. If the fluid in your cooling system is filled to the top when your engine is cold, it will need somewhere to go when the fluid warms up and expands. The excess coolant goes into the reservoir. Once the engine cools down, the extra coolant flows back into the engine through a vacuum system.
Over time, the coolant reservoir can leak, become worn, and fail because it is used on a regular basis. If the cooling reservoir shows signs of becoming bad, and it is left unattended, the engine can become damaged and complete engine failure is possible. It is best to avoid this by providing the coolant reservoir with regular maintenance. Check your coolant on a regular basis and ensure it is properly filled up. While you are doing this, look for any signs of cracks or broken pieces that indicate the coolant reservoir needs to be replaced.
Since the coolant reservoir does not last the life of your vehicle, there are a few symptoms you should watch for that indicate it is going bad and will need to be replaced soon.
Signs you need to replace your coolant reservoir include:
- The engine is overheating
- You notice coolant leaking underneath your vehicle
- Coolant level keeps dropping on a regular basis
- The temperature gauge keeps rising near the danger zone
- Hissing sounds or steam comes from the hood of the engine
The coolant reservoir is an essential part of your vehicle’s cooling system, so it should be in good working condition. As soon as you notice any problems, have the vehicle looked at as soon as possible so as not to cause damage to your engine.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Coolant Reservoir Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.