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Old 04-08-2021, 02:00 AM   #1
coastwardpig
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Stealership didn't inform me of

First of all I want to apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong forum sub-section.

Long story short, I brought in my Toyota 86 to the local Toyota dealership for an oil change and a few other things. When I got the car back I looked through the receipt/job description and noticed the mechanic indicated that my coolant level was low and put a check-mark in 'Attention Suggested' column. So I popped the hood and had a look. Well the coolant is in fact non existent; there isn't a single drop of coolant in the reservoir.

Luckily the car hasn't overheated and the check coolant light isn't illuminated.

I feel that I should have been informed that my coolant levels were dangerously low and was at risk of damaging my engine.
Should they have let me drive off with a car that has no coolant in it, and not mention anything?


Any thoughts, comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:31 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by coastwardpig View Post
First of all I want to apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong forum sub-section.

Long story short, I brought in my Toyota 86 to the local Toyota dealership for an oil change and a few other things. When I got the car back I looked through the receipt/job description and noticed the mechanic indicated that my coolant level was low and put a check-mark in 'Attention Suggested' column. So I popped the hood and had a look. Well the coolant is in fact non existent; there isn't a single drop of coolant in the reservoir.

Luckily the car hasn't overheated and the check coolant light isn't illuminated.

I feel that I should have been informed that my coolant levels were dangerously low and was at risk of damaging my engine.
Should they have let me drive off with a car that has no coolant in it, and not mention anything?


Any thoughts, comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome to the group -

Yes, it would have been nice if the tech would have topped off your coolant level. However, then they wouldn't have the chance to sell you a jug of their high priced blue stuff -

Just because their wasn't enough coolant in the system to show up in the "overflow" tank, doesn't mean that the engine was in danger of overheating, especially in Canada during the winter.

If your car was overheating the temperature gauge would have told you so.

However, it's best to keep the coolant level "between the lines" in the overflow tank.

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Old 04-08-2021, 02:45 AM   #3
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Thank you for the quick reply humfrz
I always thought the coolant level had to be "between the lines". I think I'm still going to top it off just for peace of mind.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:38 AM   #4
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My car was like that a year after I bought it. Got some subaru super blue pre mix off amazon, and topped it off. Haven't really had a problem since, though I watch it a lot closer now!
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:41 AM   #5
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Yeah I got mine with pretty low coolant too.



Makes me really want to change my oil shortly; I just can't decide if I want to do it myself (which requires the investment of a jack, stands, etc) or just take it someplace which is easier and cheaper in the short term (the latter being the real issue).
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Old 04-08-2021, 06:46 AM   #6
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Yeah I got mine with pretty low coolant too.



Makes me really want to change my oil shortly; I just can't decide if I want to do it myself (which requires the investment of a jack, stands, etc) or just take it someplace which is easier and cheaper in the short term (the latter being the real issue).
Most places are charging more for oil changes these days. With sales I got Pennzoil ultra platinum for $30 and a Subaru filter for less than $10.

The tool will pay for them selves over time.
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:40 AM   #7
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Meh. It's good OP looked at the sheet and saw it. I personally do my own maintenance so I look at the reservoir level often. Just add some of the blue coolant (which is expensive AF, but you really gotta use it) or some distilled water (which is much cheaper but might dilute the antifreeze) and call it a day. As the engine heats up, the level rises, so don't fill it beyond the top line on the tank. A good level cold is halfway between the lines.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:14 PM   #8
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coastwardpig: Best to check coolant level in the radiator itself, once the vehicle has cooled down, (with no pressure in rubber coolant hoses). If radiator is still full, all is ok.


It is quite common for these vehicles to lose some coolant. No one (within these forums) seems to have an explanation for it. We just need to check the coolant overflow bottle regularly, maybe at the same time the windshield washer bottle is checked under hood.

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Old 04-08-2021, 03:22 PM   #9
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I would ask what their oil change service includes, if it included the topping of fluids (like most service providers), I would ask why it wasn't done.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:24 PM   #10
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The difference between "very low" and "full" is about the volume of a glass of water. I wouldn't worry about it, especially considering these cars do drink a bit of coolant.
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:30 AM   #11
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I went to the Toyota dealership today and purchased 'the blue stuff' and topped off the coolant.
Thank you so much for the replies! I'm very glad I joined this awesome community!


Quick question: I noticed you can thank users for their posts but I haven't figured out how to do it. Does the feature become available after x number of posts or something?
Thanks again
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Old 04-09-2021, 02:55 AM   #12
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yep it's either 5 or 10 posts
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:08 AM   #13
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If you don`t have a leak/usage it does not need COOLANT as such. Just distilled water as it evaporates off!
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:48 AM   #14
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If you don`t have a leak/usage it does not need COOLANT as such. Just distilled water as it evaporates off!
This ^
Once upon a time in the days of yore cars did not have expansion tanks. When the coolant expanded too much it came out the tube and pissed out all over the road. This of course meant that eventually the level would drop in the rad and have to be topped up with the proper MIX of water and "antifreeze".
Then one day some tree hugging hippes complained that cars should probably not be pour toxic chemical out all over the roads and the companies added the expansion tanks to hold that mix.
Unfortunately the tanks could not be air tight or else the pressure to release the expanded coolant would have to be incredible so they added venting to them. When the expansion tank fills up the coolant is HOT and the water evaporates off leaving behind the "antifreeze".
Strangely enough when the expansion tank is empty it does not mean the coolant is actually low. Unless you have had a leak (you will know it) what it really means is that the rad has just leveled itself off to the perfect amount inside when it is hot. The 6 ounces or so less when it is cold means nothing as far as cooling goes.
So the moral of the story is... If you have not had a physical leak but your expansion tank RESERVE is low, just add distilled water not "antifreeze". Your coolant concentration has not changed and all you need to do is replace those few ounces of evaporated water.
Now, if you have had a leak that is a whole different ball game.
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