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You’re driving once you an alert the temperature gauge start to creep up. You traction over, safely check the coolant overflow reservoir and also find the it’s bone dry. You’re not delivering coolant, but you do have actually water.

You are watching: Can you put water in your radiator

You can be asking yourself: “Can I placed water in my automobile radiator?”

Yes, friend can. And in that situation, girlfriend should. Water in your automobile radiator beats nothing, hands-down.

Water matches Coolant

A long time ago — a really long time ago — dare ran through water in your radiators most of the time and people included antifreeze when it gained cold. Back then, cars were simpler, engines ran cooler and, uneven something was wrong, the boiling suggest of water (212 levels Fahrenheit in ~ sea level) to be high enough that it operated just fine.

Modern engines run at higher temperatures. Running just water in your car’s radiator will guarantee overheating and damage, including to her cylinder heads and also engine block. And also most madness water has minerals that will certainly leave deposits within the radiator, leading to corrosion, shortening that life and further diminishing its ability to cool.

Coolant provides a protective coating for her radiator come inhibit corrosion. A 50/50 mix the coolant and water additionally lowers the freeze temperature and also raises the boiling allude of the water in her car’s radiator. Instead of freezing and also cracking your engine block at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a half-water, half-coolant mix has actually a freezing allude of an adverse 34 degrees. The boiling point takes a healthy jump native 212 degrees to 265, together well.

So, if you find yourself in the case we began with — questioning yourself if you deserve to put water in my automobile radiator — make certain it’s for a brief distance only — simply far sufficient to buy and add coolant. Then, see a mechanic to find out why you were low in the first place, repair any type of leaks and also flush the system, and add a new 50/50 mix of water and also coolant with a funnel.

Why no Use simply Coolant?

That’s too much of a an excellent thing. Remember, water has actually natural cooling properties. It’s why friend drink it. The coolant’s job, beyond inhibiting corrosion, is stretching those properties to make freezing or boiling happen external the normal selection of temperatures her engine experiences. Coolant by itself would freeze in ~ 8 levels Fahrenheit. Wouldn’t you rather be protected to an unfavorable 34?

Check out all the heating and also cooling products accessible on NAPA digital or trust among our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare areas for regime maintenance and repairs. For an ext information on radiator failures, chat v a knowledgeable professional at your neighborhood NAPA AUTO components store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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Mike Hagerty watch All

Mike Hagerty is one automotive reporter whose work has actually been featured ~ above radio, TV, in print and online because 1997. He's the Publisher and also Editor the MikeHagertyCars.com, and also contributes vehicle reviews to the Los Altos city Crier and also losaltosonline.com. Ahead outlets have contained KFBK and KFBK.com in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and also Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio station in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines because that Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, southern Dakota and the mountain West and also BBCCars.com.