Truck Trend Garage: 2010 Ram Windshield Washer Fluid In Coolant Reservoir

RIGHT FLUID, WRONG PLACE

Alex SteeleJul 12, 2012
Question: I have 2010 Ram, and I'm embarrassed to say, I filled up the coolant reservoir with windshield washer fluid. I didn't realize until a long drive when I saw the low washer fluid light was still on. Is this going to hurt anything?
Answer: A small amount of washer fluid mixed with coolant is nothing to worry about. Washer fluid is mostly water, anyway. Bring it in for a coolant system service (flush) when you get a chance, and ask them to also drain the reservoir. That's not always done as part of the service. On some vehicles, the coolant reservoir (expansion tank) can be removed easily, but it looks like yours may require partial removal of the grille. Otherwise, I'd say take it out, dump it, and refill before you get it in for service. A technician can remove the fluid with a suction device as opposed to removal of the reservoir. If you filled the reservoir all the way to the top when the engine was cold, it may very well overflow when the engine reaches operating temperature. As the coolant in the engine and radiator expands, it's forced by the radiator cap and raises the level in the reservoir. Again, it's nothing to worry about, and it should only happen once.
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How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at trucktrend@sourceinterlink.com. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.

Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage -- visit Alex Steele at www.RealWorldAutomotive.com.

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