Coolant Test - What ,why and how

It is important to maintain your antifreeze/coolant at the proper concentration to provide good corrosion protection as well as prevent freeze-ups and boil overs. That is when the car is parked out in the cold , the coolant can freeze up and expand and crack the engine block causing permanent damage.

A Coolant Tester (about $5 TO $6 at the parts store ) is a do-it-yourself tester that easily tests for anti-freeze/anti-boil protection.

Anti-Freeze protection is required for cold winter weathers and anti-boil is needed for extreme hot summer conditions. The water to coolant ratio is what determines the freeze and boil temperature point.  The tester provides a quick and easy method to safely collect a sample and measure coolant concentration. The tester also allows visual inspection for rust and sediments in the coolant.

Procedure :

Wait at least 30 minutes till your engine has cooled down enough to work with. Now remove the cap of the radiator. Then with your antifreeze tester you suck up the coolant in your radiator to the specified level on the tester. If the coolant reservior is easily accessible , you may drop the tested tube in it and draw the coolant as well, and thenwhen you are done , you can push it back. Figure below shows a coolant reservior :

The indicator will rise and tell you the Freeze point in both Degree F and Degree C some testers might tell you what percentage of the coolant is antifreeze. Different climates and engines will require different percentages.

In some cold climates where the extreme can be for example (-40F),you probably want to make sure the freeze point is -50F, by increasing the coolant ratio. You can do this by adding coolant to the reservoir. If the reservoir is already near full I suggest draining some coolant from the bottom. See the topic on coolant flush. You can collect that drained coolant in a gallon plastic jar - like drinking water or milk jar. If the coolant seems filled with rust and sediment particles you may want to check when the coolant was changed last time and see the manual for recommended intervals before you decide to do a full flush.  The coolant that is collected may  disposed off safely or , if it is clean  keep for the summer season.