Are you wondering how long can you run a car without coolant, or with low coolant? This article will answer your question fully. And we will share also what happens if you run a car without coolant so you are fully informed which will help you make the right decision.
Having a low coolant level in your car could mean there’s less time for the coolant to get cold in the radiator before getting pumped within the system.
This can affect the cooling of the engine, causing it to be inefficient. This is most common in old vehicles because they tend to leak coolant. We will also respond to the query ” how long can I drive with low coolant?”
You will have to read this article Some Common Symptoms of a Low or No Coolant in car
Low Coolant in Car: How Long Can you run a car without coolant
The main function of the coolant system in your car is to regulate the engine increasing temperature, so as to reduce fuel economy and minimize the power consumption and lifespan of the component. If the coolant in the cooling system is unable to perform its intended task, it can cause some problems in the car.
Any malfunction in the coolant can affect the heater since the coolant passes through its core via valves. If there is a leakage or even the blockage of the coolant in the engine, it can cause the heater to become unresponsive. This is why it’s vital to check your coolant level regularly.
So, let’s look at some warning signs of low coolant in car so it can be easy for you to resolve the issue.
How Long Can Your Car Run Without Coolant?
If you read this article I published earlier, you probably will have asked yourself, this question.: how long can I drive with low coolant? Well here is what I know.
Driving your car with low or no engine coolant is dangerous because it can damage some many other components of the surrounding engine and even damage the engine as well.
If you are driving with low engine coolant, your engine lights may come up and when you open the hood to check, you may discover it smoking with accompanying smell indicating the coolant has sprayed everywhere. In this condition, it may not be advisable to drive the car for even up to a few minutes because it can lead to severe engine damage that may cost you much to repair.
You should note that the coolant only serves its purpose when the thermostat opens, and it takes some time for it to eventually open and circulate the coolant. If the coolant is not flowing, then it may have to absorb the heat from the motor.
It is possible for you to run the engine for 15 seconds, but not longer than that if your car is running right. You mustn’t run it for more than a few seconds because even though the coolant is not moving due to thermostat, it still functions as a major heat absorber because it has a much higher specific heat compared to aluminium. You can run it for a short period, not longer than a minute.
How safe is it to drive with Low Engine Coolant?
The cooling system consists of coolant, anti-freeze solution, radiator, thermostat and hose pipes that circulate the coolant. The main function of the coolant is to absorb the heat from the engine, transfer it to the radiator and fan for cooling. The thermostat functions by regulating the amount of coolant that is distributed to the engine and radiator.
The internal combustion unit of the engine produces a lot of heat, which can even get to temperature as high as over 200 degrees. A leaking hosepipe can cause the amount of coolant in the engine to reduce. Delay in fixing the problem can cause some components of the engine to begin malfunctioning. So, it is not safe to drive with low engine coolant because it can create air bubbles in the system, which can damage your engine.
how long can i drive with low coolant?
When you have a low coolant, normally you will be able to still run your car for some time. But it depends on the level of the coolant. If the coolant is low but above the minimum mark, then you are still fine to run the car for a few days, but if the coolant is below the minimum mark, please do not even try to drive your car like that so you don’t knock your engine. You need to top up the coolant.
Related article: Can low coolant cause car to shake?
What happens if you run a Car without Coolant?
Running your car without coolant comes with some consequences. Here are some things that can happen in your engine when you are driving with low coolant.
- 1. Engine block
When the weather is hot, running your car on low engine coolant may not be a problem, but it becomes an issue during cold or freezing season. The coolant will harden and turn to ice if the temperatures drop excessively. This is is a common problem in cars that make use of normal tap water without an anti-freeze. To avoid this problem, you should have a 50:50 ratio between the coolant and water.
- 2. Engine meltdown
If low engine coolant is left unchecked for long, it will cause the engine to start overheating. This will lead t increase in temperatures on various engine hot spots. More coolant will get into the engine system because of the leaking head gasket. When this happens, it will affect the power of the vehicle because the coolant will go into the combustion chamber, thereby completely destroying the engine.
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- 3. Blown head gasket
A blown head gasket may not show any obvious signs of leakage. However, the coolant levels will begin to drop. A blown head gasket can be identified by checking the end of the oil dipstick. If you see milky liquid or bubbles, it means the gasket has really blown. Ensure you have your mechanic check and rectify the issue immediately.
- 4. Corrosion
Most engine parts are produced from metal. So, some parts or components may begin to develop rust if there’s low engine coolant. The anti-freeze contains chemical compounds that helps protect components of the engine from rust. These components become exposed and vulnerable to corrosion and rusting if coolant is low.
Conclusion on How Long Can You Run a Car without Coolant
The coolant is important in cooling the engine of your car. The fuel and air mixture produces a lot of heat which has to be dissipated. If this heat isn’t dissipated, it can lead to serious engine damage. Low engine coolant may be caused by leaking hosepipes, leaking gasket, faulty radiator cap, faulty heater, and overflow reservoir.
Now you know all about low coolant in the car and the signs that accompany this condition. It is not advisable to drive or run your car with low coolant because it can lead to damage to your engine. This is why it is important to check the issue on time since fixing the minor part is way cheaper than the cost of getting a new engine.
If you notice low engine coolant when the temperature gauge on the dashboard starts to rise, stop the car immediately and check for leaks. Check for coolant drippings at the bottom of the car bonnet. A pipe sealant can be used to seal the small leaks in the hosepipes temporarily. It is unsafe to continue driving a car that has low engine coolant. Coolant leakages can lead to severe damages in the engine
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