How Long Can You Run A Car Without Coolant?
Most people know that coolant is one of the most critical fluids in your car. Unfortunately, coolant leaks are relatively common, and coolant itself can be somewhat expensive. Coolant is even more costly if you’re driving a luxury car or a foreign car brand that doesn’t use a standard coolant mixture.
Those problems can all make it fairly common for people to ask if it’s possible or safe to run their vehicle with little or no coolant. So, how long can you run a car without coolant?
It depends a little on what you mean. If you’re talking about how long you can safely run a car without coolant, that’s a very different answer than if you’re talking about how long a vehicle will physically run without coolant in its system. We’re going to assume that most people don’t want to risk serious damage to your engine and other internal systems, so we’ll stick to the first answer.
Ideally, you should never run your vehicle without coolant. Running too hot can damage many internal components, and heat builds up in your vehicle’s engine incredibly quickly. After all, the engine is home to small rapid-fire explosions that power the pistons, and all those explosions let off heat.
However, if you absolutely must start your car without coolant, it can probably run for about a minute without too much risk of damage. You may be able to get away with as much as 5 minutes of running without coolant, depending on the engine, car model, and how hard you’re asking the engine to work.
It's not a good idea, though. Even with those incredibly short runtimes, there's still a risk of severe and even potentially dangerous internal damage to your vehicle.