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Left - Discovery , Right - Defender.

The coolant reservoir is a large black plastic container with a screw-on cap. The coolant should be an water-glycol mix of 50/50. Such a mix gives a lower freezing and a higher boiling point as pure water or pure glycol. This mix also works as rust inhibitor. Especially on the TDi's, V8s' and TD5s' you may never run without this as it will corrode the engine inside and hamper heat transfer.

You should NEVER leave coolant in an open container. It has a fatal attraction on cats and dogs as it's so sweet. And if they drink it they DIE!! And a terrible death it is. .


Coolant level should never be checked when engine is hot. Even when almost cold you still have some pressure. So put your hand on the cap and turn it slowly as shown in the picture above (the engine was cold when I did this). If you have the slightest doubt wear heavy gloves or put a thick rag on the cap. If your engine overheated put a piece of floor carpet over the cap and try to turn it. Those carpets are almost a barrier for steam. Wait for the point when the pressure slowly hisses out. After this it's safe to unscrew the cap.

Coolant level with engine cold should be around the outer lip of the tank as shown below. Don't overfill, excess liquid will be pushed out..

If need is you can always top up with normal water. If I have to do this from time to time I make sure I use undiluted glycol next time for topping up (above right).

In an emergency you can use almost any liquid as long as it's not salty. Of course it must be evacuated and rinsed as soon as possible. The only liquids not to use are saltwater, oil and brake fluids. If the engine overheated and you haven't enough liquid you can either shut off and risk a lockup or leave it at idle, remove the cap CAREFULLY and very slowly pour in new liquid. Be prepared to get some vapour without warning. This is only a recommendation, you do this at your own risk.


Those PLASTIC filler caps are mounted on top of the radiator(above). You don't need to remove them in normal use. However after a great loss of cooling fluid you must remove them and fill the system from here. Before removing them you must remove the reservoir cap as shown above to release the pressure. Fill up to about 1 cm below top level, then screw the cap in CAREFULLY with a large screwdriver.

In case of an overheated engine you must slowly pour water in so the engine doesn't get a shock.