Ford Escape: Maintenance / Checking the Coolant

When the engine is cold, check the concentration and level of the coolant at the intervals listed in the scheduled maintenance information.

Note: Make sure that the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum marks on the coolant reservoir.

Note: Coolant expands when it is hot. The level may extend beyond the MAX mark.

If the coolant level is at or below the minimum mark, add prediluted coolant immediately.

Maintain coolant concentration within 48% to 50%, which equates to a freeze point between -29°F (-34°C) and -35°F (-37°C). Coolant concentration should be checked using a refractometer. We do not recommend the use of hydrometers or coolant test strips for measuring coolant concentration.

Adding Coolant

WARNING: Do not remove the coolant reservoir cap when the engine is on or the cooling system is hot. Wait 10 minutes for the cooling system to cool down. Cover the coolant reservoir cap with a thick cloth to prevent the possibility of scalding and slowly remove the cap. Failure to follow this instruction could result in personal injury.

WARNING: Do not add engine coolant when the engine is on or the cooling system is hot. Failure to follow this instruction could result in personal injury.

WARNING: Do not add coolant further than the MAX mark.

WARNING: Do not put coolant in the windshield washer reservoir. If sprayed on the windshield, coolant could make it difficult to see through the windshield.

Note: Do not use stop leak pellets, cooling system sealants, or non-specified additives as they can cause damage to the engine cooling or heating systems. Resulting component damage may not be covered by the vehicle Warranty.

Note: Automotive fluids are not interchangeable.

It is very important to use prediluted coolant approved to the correct specification in order to avoid plugging the small passageways in the engine cooling system. Do not mix different colors or types of coolant in your vehicle. Mixing of engine coolants or using an incorrect coolant may harm the engine or cooling system components and could void the vehicle Warranty.

Note: If prediluted coolant is not available, use the approved concentrated coolant diluting it to 50/50 with distilled water. Using water that has not been deionized may contribute to deposit formation, corrosion and plugging of the small cooling system passageways.

To top up the coolant level do the following:

  1. Unscrew the cap slowly. Any pressure escapes as you unscrew the cap.
  2. Add enough prediluted coolant to reach the correct level.

    Note:We do not recommend the use of recycled coolant.

  3. Replace the coolant reservoir cap. Turn the cap clockwise until it contacts the hard stop.
  4. Check the coolant level in the coolant reservoir the next few times you drive your vehicle. If necessary, repeat step 2.

If you have to add more than 1.1 qt (1 L) of engine coolant per month, have your vehicle checked as soon as possible. Operating an engine with a low level of coolant can result in engine overheating and possible engine damage.

In case of emergency, you can add a large amount of water without engine coolant in order to reach a vehicle service location. Service your vehicle as soon as possible.

Water alone, without engine coolant, can cause engine damage from corrosion, overheating or freezing.

Do not use the following as a coolant substitute, as they 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 coolant.

Severe Climates

If you drive in extremely cold climates, you may need to increase the coolant concentration above 50%.

Note: A coolant concentration of 60% provides improved freeze point protection. Coolant concentrations above 60% decrease the overheat protection characteristics of the coolant and could cause engine damage.

If you drive in extremely hot climates, you may need to decrease the coolant concentration to 40%.

Note: Coolant concentrations below 40% decrease the freeze and corrosion protection characteristics of the coolant and could cause engine damage.

Coolant Change

Change the coolant at specific mileage intervals. Refer to the scheduled maintenance information.

Note: Dispose of used coolant in the appropriate manner.

Follow your community's regulations and standards for recycling and disposing of automotive fluids.

Fail-Safe Cooling

Fail-safe cooling allows you to temporarily drive your vehicle before any incremental component damage occurs. The fail-safe distance depends on ambient temperature, vehicle load and terrain.

How Fail-Safe Cooling Works

Ford Escape. Checking the Coolant If the engine begins to overheat, the coolant temperature gauge moves toward the red zone:

Ford Escape. Checking the Coolant A warning lamp illuminates and a message may appear in the information display.

If the engine reaches a preset over-temperature condition, the engine automatically switches to alternating cylinder operation. Each disabled cylinder acts as an air pump and cools the engine.

When this occurs, your vehicle still operates, however:

Continued operation increases the engine temperature, causing the engine to completely shut down. Your steering and braking effort increases in this situation.

When the engine temperature cools, you can re-start the engine. Have your vehicle checked as soon as possible to minimize engine damage.

When Fail-Safe Mode Is Activated

WARNING: 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, your 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.

WARNING: Do not remove the coolant reservoir cap when the engine is on or the cooling system is hot. Wait 10 minutes for the cooling system to cool down. Cover the coolant reservoir cap with a thick cloth to prevent the possibility of scalding and slowly remove the cap. Failure to follow this instruction could result in personal injury.

Your vehicle has limited engine power when in the fail-safe mode, drive your vehicle with caution. Your vehicle does not maintain high-speed operation and the engine could operate poorly.

Remember that the engine is capable of automatically shutting down to prevent engine damage. In this situation:

  1. Pull off the road as soon as safely possible and switch the engine off.
  2. If you are a member of a roadside assistance program, we recommend that you contact your roadside assistance service provider.
  3. If this is not possible, wait for a short period of time for the engine to cool.
  4. Check the coolant level. If the coolant level is at or below the minimum mark, add prediluted coolant immediately.
  5. When the engine temperature cools, you can re-start the engine. Have your vehicle checked as soon as possible to minimize engine damage.

Note: Driving your vehicle without repair increases the chance of engine damage.

Engine Coolant Temperature Management (If Equipped)

WARNING: To reduce the risk of crash and injury, be prepared that the vehicle speed may reduce and the vehicle may not be able to accelerate with full power until the coolant temperature reduces.

If you tow a trailer with your vehicle, the engine may temporarily reach a higher temperature during severe operating conditions, for example ascending a long or steep grade in high ambient temperatures.

At this time, you may notice the coolant temperature gauge moves toward the red zone and a message may appear in the information display.

You may notice a reduction in vehicle speed caused by reduced engine power in order to manage the engine coolant temperature. Your vehicle may enter this mode if certain high-temperature and high-load conditions take place. The amount of speed reduction depends on vehicle loading, grade and ambient temperature. If this occurs, there is no need to stop your vehicle. You can continue to drive.

The air conditioning may automatically turn on and off during severe operating conditions to protect the engine from overheating. When the coolant temperature decreases to the normal operating temperature, the air conditioning turns on.

If the coolant temperature gauge moves fully into the red zone, or if the coolant temperature warning or service engine soon messages appear in your information display, do the following:

  1. Stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Fully apply the parking brake, shift into park (P) or neutral (N).
  2. Leave the engine running until the coolant temperature gauge needle returns to the normal position. If the temperature does not drop after several minutes, follow the remaining steps.
  3. Switch the engine off and wait for it to cool. Check the coolant level.
  4. If the coolant level is at or below the minimum mark, add prediluted coolant immediately.
  5. If the coolant level is normal, restart the engine and continue.
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