Coolant Air Lift Tool- Meaning and How to Use

A coolant air lift is one of the most useful car repair equipment to own today. It helps you ensure a healthy car cooling system; more about it below.

Coolant air lift kit with its various attachments and fittings
Coolant air lift kit with its various attachments and fittings

If you’re a car enthusiast, then there’s a good chance that you have come across a coolant air lift system. If you haven’t, do not worry because I’ll give you the rundown on this nifty tool. Among the things you will learn are what a coolant air lift means, how it works, how to use a typical coolant air lift tool or kit, and more.

What is Coolant Air Lift?

A coolant airlift is an effective way to rid a car cooling system of air. The process involves the use of shop air to create a Venturi effect over the radiator (or coolant reservoir) opening, which helps to draw air from the depths of the cooling system.

Vehicle cooling systems are always sealed. Many times, this creates air pockets that prevent coolant from circulating properly. Trapped air in the cooling system components often leads to poor cooling of the engine.

A coolant air lift helps to eliminate these air pockets- quickly and effectively. That, in turn, means an engine that can run at its optimum. The coolant air lift tool is a multipurpose piece of equipment, as you will learn next.

Coolant air lift kit
Coolant air lift kit

Coolant Air Lift Tool

Also known as radiator vacuum tool, the coolant air lift tool is a type of cooling system “purge and refill” tool.  That means it can both remove air from the cooling system and add coolant. The tool uses shop air to work and requires a compressor to supply about 90 psi of air pressure.

The coolant air lift tool does not only help you purge the cooling system and refill it with coolant. You can also use it to detect leaks in the cooling system. It’s this versatility that makes the air lift coolant refill and purge tool so useful- essential to own. Besides the versatility, the tool can help you save on mechanic costs or repairs after unforeseen overheating issues.

Coolant Air Lift Kit 

Many people use their repair tools to service a number of different cars. If you’re a mechanic, you will probably want your coolant air lift tool to support cars and trucks of many different makes. That’s made possible by having it come as a kit.

The coolant air lift kit is the air lift tool with attachments to make it compatible with a range of vehicles. The attachments usually include an assortment of adapters to help you insert it in the coolant filler necks of most cars. The components of a coolant air lift kit include:

  • Main unit consisting of a vacuum and gauge assembly
  • A clear plastic hose to refill coolant
  • An air evacuation hose
  • Multiple adapters to fit different radiators or reservoir

How a Coolant Air Lift Tool Works

As mentioned earlier, the coolant airlift tool works by producing a vacuum on the cooling system. This helps lift air out of the radiator and coolant hoses into the reservoir and out through the exhaust hose. Below is how a coolant air lifts tool works.

  • In order to operate, the tool must receive compressed air from a compressor.
  • As the air rushes through the tool valves, it creates a Venturi effect above the radiator or coolant reservoir opening.
  • The partial vacuum above the coolant refill opening draws air and expels it to the outside.
  • After eliminating the air, the procedure is usually followed by filling the cooling system. You only need to dip the tool’s refill hose in a container of coolant.
  • The vacuum in the cooling system then helps pull coolant, with the benefit that there will be no air trapped in the system, either inside it or by getting in from the outside.
Using the coolant air lift system
Using the coolant air lift system

How to Use Coolant Air Lift Kit

If the coolant air lift system is new to you, you probably want to know how to go about using it to remove air from your car engine cooling system. That’s what you will learn next. Before the steps on how to use the coolant airlift tool, here are the things to have with you.

What you will need: An air compressor (make sure it can supply up to 90 psi of compressed air), and your coolant airlift kit.  Here is how to do an air lift coolant refill and purge.

Step 1: Make Preparations

  • Drain the cooling system of all coolant.
  • This will leave it empty so you can effectively remove air and refill it with coolant.
  • Set the heater to the heat position.

Step 2: Attach the Coolant Airlift Tool

  • Using the most appropriate adapter, attach the vacuum gauge unit to the radiator (or reservoir) filler neck.
  • Turn the threaded knob so the tool makes a tight connection.
  • Attach the air evacuation hose.

Step 3: Connect the Air Compressor

  •  Connect the installed coolant airlift tool to shop air, ensuring at least 90 psi.
  • You should hear a hissing sound as compressed air rushes through the unit and draws negative pressure/vacuum in the cooling system.
  • You should also see the radiator hoses collapsing.

Step 4: Wait for vacuum to Build Up

  • Observe the needle as it moves higher on the vacuum gauge.
  • Wait for it to reach between 24 and 26 vacuum inches.  
  • Turn the valve to close it and disconnect the compressor or shop air source.

Step 5: Monitor the Coolant airlift Gauge

  • Wait for a few seconds to see if the system maintains the vacuum.
  • Should the gauge lose vacuum, it means the cooling system is leaking.
  • Take action to fix it before proceeding.
  • If the gauge maintains the vacuum, go to the next step.

Step 6: Use Coolant Air Lift Tool to Add Coolant

  • Remove the evacuation hose and instead attach the refill hose
  • Insert the refill hose screened end into a bottle of coolant.
  • Make sure there’s enough coolant to avoid drawing air into the cooling system and the refill valve is open.
  • Slowly open the valve on the main unit of the coolant airlift refill tool.  
  • Watch the needle on the gauge to move back to zero to indicate a filled system.
  • Next, remove the coolant air lift system.
  • Top up the radiator with coolant as necessary.

You have just used the airlift coolant vacuum to remove air from your system, check for leaks, and refill coolant.

Coolant Airlift Kit Price

How much dos the airlift coolant filler and air purge kit go for? Well, prices are different for different brands of the tool. Generally, you can obtain the kit for $35 and higher depending on the quality and other factors.

Needless to say, the higher-priced types of the air lift coolant kit will use components with a higher quality build, come with more attachments, and support a higher number of vehicles.  Make your choice based on your car repair requirements.


The coolant air lift kit is designed to remove all air from a car cooling system quickly and effectively. Not only that, but to also help you detect leaks and add coolant in the most convenient way. That, in turn, means fewer costs to maintain your car. With the coolant airlift tool in your garage, you can easily take on cooling system emergencies and keep your car in good condition.

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About Author
Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a writer and a content marketer who works for hand in hand with Sunbright Automotive Tools. Beforehand, Richard Johnson worked for multiple industries that had helped both small and big businesses to build better brands online through web page contents that productized services.

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