Checking the Engine Coolant
Do not add engine coolant when the engine is hot. Steam and scalding liquids released from a hot cooling system can burn you badly. Also, you can be burned if you spill coolant on hot engine parts.
Do not put engine coolant in the windshield washer fluid container. If sprayed on the windshield, engine coolant could make it difficult to see through the windshield.
To reduce the risk of personal injury, make sure the engine is cool before unscrewing the coolant pressure relief cap. The cooling system is under pressure; steam and hot liquid can come out forcefully when the cap is loosened slightly.
Do not add coolant further than the MAX mark.
Automotive fluids are not interchangeable. Do not use engine coolant or windshield washer fluid outside of its specified function and vehicle location.
Do not use stop leak pellets, cooling system sealants, or additives as they can cause damage to the engine cooling or heating systems. This damage would not be covered under your vehicle’s warranty.
During normal vehicle operation, the engine coolant may change color from orange to pink or light red. As long as the engine coolant is clear and uncontaminated, this color change does not indicate the engine coolant has degraded nor does it require the engine coolant to be drained, the system to be flushed, or the engine coolant to be replaced.
When the engine is cold, check the concentration and level of the engine coolant at the intervals listed in the scheduled maintenance information. See
Make sure that the level is between the MIN and MAX marks on the coolant reservoir.
Coolant expands when it is hot. The level may extend beyond the MAX mark.
If the level is at the MIN mark, below the MIN mark, or empty, add coolant immediately. See Adding Engine Coolant in this chapter.
The coolant concentration should be maintained within 48% to 50%, which equates to a freeze point between -30°F (-34°C) and -34°F (-37°C).
For best results, coolant concentration should be tested with a refractometer such as Robinair® Coolant and Battery Refractometer 75240. We do not recommend the use of hydrometers or coolant test strips for measuring coolant concentrations.
Adding Engine Coolant
- Do not mix different colors or types of coolant in your vehicle. Make sure the correct coolant is used. Mixing of engine coolants may harm your engine’s cooling system. The use of an improper coolant may harm engine and cooling system components and may void the warranty. Use prediluted engine coolant meeting the Ford specification. See
Capacities and Specifications.
- In case of emergency, a large amount of water without engine coolant may be added in order to reach a vehicle service location. In this instance, the cooling system must be drained, chemically cleaned with Motorcraft Premium Cooling System Flush, and refilled with engine coolant as soon as possible. Water alone (without engine coolant) can cause engine damage from corrosion, overheating or freezing.
- Do not use alcohol, methanol, brine or any engine coolants mixed with alcohol or methanol antifreeze (coolant). Alcohol and other liquids can cause engine damage from overheating or freezing.
- Do not add extra inhibitors or additives to the coolant. These can be harmful and compromise the corrosion protection of the engine coolant.
Unscrew the cap slowly. Any pressure will escape as you unscrew the cap.
Whenever coolant has been added, the coolant level in the coolant reservoir should be checked the next few times you drive the vehicle. If necessary, add enough prediluted engine coolant to bring the coolant level to the proper level.
Recycled Engine Coolant
We do not recommend the use of recycled engine coolant since a Ford-approved recycling process is not yet available.
Used engine coolant should be disposed of in an appropriate manner. Follow your community’s regulations and standards for recycling and disposing of automotive fluids.
If you drive in extremely cold climates:
- It may be necessary to have a Ford authorized dealer increase the coolant concentration above 50%.
- A coolant concentration of 60% will provide improved freeze point protection. Engine coolant concentrations above 60% will decrease the overheat protection characteristics of the engine coolant and may cause engine damage.
If you drive in extremely hot climates:
- It may be necessary to have a Ford authorized dealer decrease the coolant concentration to 40%.
- A coolant concentration of 40% will provide improved overheat protection. Engine coolant concentrations below 40% will decrease the freeze and corrosion protection characteristics of the engine coolant and may cause engine damage.
Vehicles driven year-round in non-extreme climates should use prediluted engine coolant for optimum cooling system and engine protection.
What You Should Know About Fail-Safe Cooling
If the engine coolant supply is depleted, this feature allows the vehicle to be driven temporarily before incremental component damage is incurred. The “fail-safe” distance depends on ambient temperatures, vehicle load and terrain.
How Fail-Safe Cooling Works
If the engine begins to overheat, the engine coolant temperature gauge will move to the red (hot) area and:
A high engine temperature message will appear in the information display.
The service engine soon indicator will light.
If the engine reaches a preset over-temperature condition, the engine will automatically switch to alternating cylinder operation. Each disabled cylinder acts as an air pump and cools the engine.
When this occurs the vehicle will still operate. However:
- The engine power will be limited.
- The air conditioning system will be disabled.
Continued operation will increase the engine temperature and the engine will completely shut down, causing steering and braking effort to increase.
Once the engine temperature cools, the engine can be re-started. Take your vehicle to an authorized dealer as soon as possible to minimize engine damage.
When Fail-Safe Mode Is Activated
Fail-safe mode is for use during emergencies only. Operate your vehicle in fail-safe mode only as long as necessary to bring your vehicle to rest in a safe location and seek immediate repairs. When in fail-safe mode, the vehicle will have limited power, will not be able to maintain high-speed operation, and may completely shut down without warning, potentially losing engine power, power steering assist, and power brake assist, which may increase the possibility of a crash resulting in serious injury.
Never remove the coolant reservoir cap while the engine is running or hot.
You have limited engine power when in the fail-safe mode, so drive your vehicle with caution. Your vehicle will not be able to maintain high-speed operation and the engine will run rough. Remember that the engine is capable of completely shutting down automatically to prevent engine damage, therefore:
- Pull off the road as soon as safely possible and switch the engine off.
- Arrange for your vehicle to be taken to an authorized dealer.
- If this is not possible, wait a short period for the engine to cool.
- Check the coolant level and replenish if low.
- Re-start the engine and take your vehicle to an authorized dealer.
Driving your vehicle without repairing the engine problem increases the chance of engine damage. Take your vehicle to an authorized dealer as soon as possible.