Hi everybody! Welcome back! Here is a quick picture guide on how to add engine coolant (antifreeze) to a Toyota Corolla.

It is a good idea to check the level of your engine coolant every 15,000 miles or so. For more maintenance guidelines, checkout this vehicle maintenance log.

Antifreeze coolant is a liquid that circulates through your car’s radiator to help cool down the engine. Then why is it called ‘antifreeze’??? Well, the answer is that you could just use straight water, however, this can cause major issues if the temperature drops below freezing. The water could freeze and crack the radiator and all sorts of bad things would happen. On the other hand, if the engine gets too hot, the water can boil away. Antifreeze coolant has both a lower freezing point and a higher boiling point then water, making it great for cooling your engine, without freezing when it gets too cold.

Today we’re going to go ahead and top off the antifreeze in this 2004 Toyota Corolla. But before we get to that, a couple of words of caution.


  • Antifreeze coolant gets very hot when your car is running. Therefore, DO NOT OPEN the radiator cover when the car has just been running, or even if it is still warm. Hot steam can cause you to be very badly burned.
  • Antifreeze is poisonous, but might smell good. DON’T DRINK IT! Also, don’t let your pets drink it. Keep any unused antifreeze covered and away from pets and small children!

Alright, let’s get started!

Tools and supplies needed:

How to Add Antifreeze to a Toyota Corolla

The first step is to pop the hood and locate the radiator.

The radiator is at the front of the engine bay. In addition to the radiator cap (yellow with CAUTION written on it) there is also a plastic ‘transparent’ overflow tank with a black plastic cover.

Here is a photo of the overflow tank showing the LOW and FULL lines. This makes it very easy. We just want to add antifreeze until it is up to the FULL line.

BUT…! You need to be a little bit careful at this point. Depending on the type of fluid you have, you may need to add some distilled water. So, check the writing on the bottle. If it says “pre-mixed,” then you don’t need to add any water. Go ahead and fill the overflow tank up to the FULL line, as shown below.

OEM Toyota coolant is red or pink. The coolant shown in the image below is an aftermarket one, so it is green. It is recommended to use Toyota coolant…

If your antifreeze is not pre-mixed, then you need to dilute it with 50% distilled water.

It is typically much cheaper to buy full-strength antifreeze (not pre-mixed) for the total volume that you get, but often times it is just more convenient to buy the premixed stuff. You decide!

In my case, I had the non-premixed antifreeze, so I added 1 pint of antifreeze and 1 pint of distilled water. (Ideally you would mix these ahead of time and pour it in together.)

And that’s about it! Push the plastic cover back on, and you are all set!

To make this job easier, you might consider a coolant flush kit which allows you to fill and flush your radiator without spillage due to your car ‘burping’ and spewing coolant everywhere! Check it out.

Click here for more Toyota Corolla maintenance tips!