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Old 08-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #1
ksgirl73
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Default Coolant Replacement

The other day while driving home my serpentine belt blew. I immediately went to the nearest automotive place and they replaced it without any further damage being done to the car. At the time I happened to notice that the coolant level looked fine. According to the guy at the shop I had a loose oil cap which we believe may have caused the serpentine belt to slip off since there were no other indicators of problems with the car. He showed me what to watch for under the hood so I've been checking it the past 2 days and am noticing that my coolant level is suddenly low. I always park in the same place and haven't noticed any leaks. Would some of the coolant have leaked when the belt was replaced?

This brings me to my next question. Since it's pretty low, can I just add more and if so, do I need to add the same type, the red Toyota kind or can I pick up another brand at an auto parts store? I've been reading up online and saw a few brands that were recommended, but didn't know if another brand could be mixed with what is already in there.

I apologize for the dumb questions, but I'm female and car maintenance really isn't my thing so I'm trying to avoid taking it to the dealership if I can do any part of this myself or with a little guidance. My local dealership charges $130 for an oil change/tire rotation so as you can see I'm trying to avoid the steep fees. Thanks for the help.

Forgot to mention, it's a 2010 Toyota Corrolla S.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:23 PM   #2
Scott O'Kashan
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Default

Welcome to the forum! You are very wise to ask questions. You'll always find someone here who's willing to help you out.

A loose oil cap would have nothing to do with the serpentine belt. Anyone who would suggest this has questionable automotive knowledge.

Typically serpentine belts fail for one of two reasons; the belt is worn out and snaps or the serpentine belt tensioner is worn out and needs replacing.

As for the coolant, you can use any brand you want as long as it meets Toyota specifications. Any competent auto parts store can provide you with the proper coolant/antifreeze. Many of the discount auto parts stores employ young kids who were fired from a fast food joint the week before, so use caution when dealing with them and get a second and third opinion from other auto parts stores. If you have any doubt with the recommendation you receive, contact the antifreeze/coolant company from the phone number you will find right on the bottle. Once you find a competent person at an auto parts store, stick with them for anything you need with your car.

$130 for an oil change and tire rotation is highway robbery, in my opinion. Possibly they are using solid gold oil filters? An average oil change is about $30 or so and a tire rotation is about $10-$15 in most auto centers. Even only two oil changes in a year would run $260. Good grief! Using the best synthetic oil available, AMSOIL, at the wholesale prices I can deliver to any Toyota Corolla Forum member, that cost is reduced to only about $80. Combined with the improved fuel economy AMSOIL synthetics commonly deliver, most motorists save $100-$200 per year.

I hope this has helped answer your questions.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:54 PM   #3
ksgirl73
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Let me clarify, the guy at the shop inspected the serpentine belt and showed me that there were no cracks or other signs of wear and they couldn't find anything else wrong with any of the related parts so he suggested that oil had been spewing out under the hood and may have caused the serpentine belt to slip off due to the oil everywhere. You don't think this is possible? They couldn't find anything else wrong and prior to it coming off and I hadn't had any problems, no strange noises or anything else. Made sense at the time, but that's not saying much coming from me.

I managed to find a coolant I saw someone mention somewhere online for Asian cars so I got that. Waiting until tomorrow morning when the engine is cold to add it. I've never done this part myself before, but didn't really want to pay someone to do it. I've fallen for those games before.

Needless to say you see why I won't go back to the dealership now. As soon as the service package ran out I found somewhere else to go for oil changes. I suspect that the place I had the brakes worked on may not have put the oil cap back on. They were to do an inspection of everything else before touching the brakes and no one else had touched the car before having that belt replaced Wednesday.

Thanks for the info.
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