Dealership used wrong coolant

I recently took my 2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid to a dealership (my first time at this dealership) for the 40k mile checkup. When I picked it up, the check engine light was on. I went back in and told them, and they sent someone out to address it, 10 minutes later they returned the car and there was no engine light.

This week my check engine light came on and when I checked, the coolant was low, I then realized it was leaking green coolant. The invoice says they performed a cooling system service, including “flush cooling system with orange coolant”. I don’t know what is causing the engine light, or why the radiator is leaking but I was already feeling skeptical of this dealership. Is using the wrong coolant enough of a red flag to not return to this dealership?

If this is a Ford dealership, then the use of anything not from Ford is a red flag.

However I doubt the use of the wrong coolant is the cause of the leak. Most likely they used a flush machine or a coolant exchange machine with a universal coolant in it. Use of these machines requires adapter to be installed and the leak is probably due to a leaking adapter, either from an improper install or failure to tighten the cap properly.

The use of non Ford approved coolant could be because they are a multi-manufacturer dealership, I.e. Ford/Kia etc. They should have two machines, one for each make they service.

I would for now take it back and have them fix the leak and re-service your coolant system with the proper coolant. If they make up an excuse about the universal coolant being OK (and in reality it may be), then tell them you will call the CSR number in your owners manual to report them.

BTW, your vehicle is too new to have this leak due to age, it was caused by the mechanic, who most likely is a trainee or a junior mechanic.

Edit: the "orange coolant on your invoice might be a misprint. I’m not sure Ford uses orange coolant. You will need to verify this in your owners manual. If the owners manual calls for orange coolant (OAT coolant), then that is what they should have used. If it calls for a HOAT coolant, some of those are green or yellow (or blue or red).

One more Edit: Some green and orange coolants cannot be mixed, most notably the old green (IAT) and GM’s Dexcool (OAT). They can form a gel that can do serious damage to your engine. With so many colors in use today, you can’t alway go by the color. The old green IAT coolant have pretty much disappeared from the marketplace though so it is unlikely they used any in your system.

Also I looked it up, your coolant should be orange. But Ford switched to a yellow coolant in 2018. There is some question on whether the yellow is backward compatible, but that only applies if the two are mixed. If the old coolant was completely flushed out, then the new coolant can be used and might be better if it is. Is it possible your “green” is actually yellow?

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That dealer’s recommendations, 2 years/30,000 miles is way more often than the owners manual: “Initial replacement at six years or 100000 miles (160000 kilometers), then every three
years or 50000 miles (80000 kilometers).”

And the manual calls for Motorcraft Orange Antifreeze/Coolant Prediluted

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Thanks for the reply.
It is a Ford dealership, I don’t see any other brands on their signs or letterhead. It looks pretty green to me, but I suppose I could be seeing it wrong? Image below

Is that photo showing the underside of the floor, near the heater/evaporator? If so you may have a coolant leak in the heater. I hope it is not that, b/c not good news.

You really need to pull a sample from the reservoir to tell the color accurately. For about a buck, you can get a cheap antifreeze tester and test the concentration at the same time you are getting an clear view of the color.

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I’d just ask them why the coolant is green when I take it back in for them to fix the leak (for free, assuming they caused it). Depending on their response, I might not go back there for service again. Things might have changed, but the old style green coolant used to have to be changed more often than the “long life” variants you typically see today. I think Prestone makes a universal long life coolant that is kind of a yellowish green. If they happened to use that, I’d be ok with it.