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Hello,
I just changed my oil, and saw that my coolant level is slightly below the Minimum on the reservoir. Ideally, I would like to fully change my coolant as per the tutorial here on EOC, but it may be until this weekend or next week until I have time to.
Now, my question is, can I just top it off with distilled water for the time being? I live in Colorado right now, so I'm not too worried about it freezing overnight. Last time I had the coolant flushed (d'oh) I was talked into it a few years ago at a Jiffy Lube (d'oh). I realize now, this was a poor decision, and as a result I don't know what type of coolant is in there now.

Any advice?

Thank you!
 

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If the engine is cold and you're right at the minimum line or slightly below it, you're fine.

After you shut your engine off and the hot coolant cools down and starts to contract it creates a vacuum in the radiator and sucks fluid back in from the reservoir through that little hose that goes from the radiator neck to the reservoir. Unless that tank is completely empty, you're not sucking any air into your cooling system.

Open the radiator cap up when the engine is cold. If you see fluid all the way to the top, don't wouldn't worry about it.

Also, you guys can pretty much use tap water where you're at. Colorado water is so ridiculously soft it's not even funny.
 

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Unless you specified and see it listed on your receipt, assume that Jiffy used a random major brand coolant, not Honda Type 2.

If your unspecified year Element is out of warranty it may not make a difference - but there was a production run of Elements that was prone to cooling system blockage. If yours was in that run and has or develops the problem, you wouldn't want to confuse the warranty repair process.

PS - FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE.
 

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Here in Florida cooling is critical. I've done a lot of flushing and refilling, and even replaced the water pump on my son's car. This does not make me an expert of course, but I have developed some voodoo ideas around keeping my cooling system operating at max efficiency.

First, I would never use anything other than coolant and distilled H2O. I have no doubt that any minerals will precipitate out and attach to the inner tubing. Even minor build-up probably affects flow and heat transfer.

I know Honda does not make coolant, but I credit Honda engineers with near mystical powers, and will use whatever coolant they recommend.

Finally, I was puzzled by the long service interval between fluid changes (120K mi as I recall). But it is a sealed system so nothing gets in until the it's opened, and I'm guessing any impurities in the solution will coat the tubing most when dry and exposed to oxygen.
 

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I suspect that what Davidinsarasota meant was that Honda doesn't actually manufacture coolant, but rather buys it from a supplier and then resells it in a bottle with Honda on the label.
Bingo, Dan. Goes for Oil, ATF, etc.
 

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