How to Test Antifreeze

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Learn how to test antifreeze to winterize your car, extend its life, and improve safety in this free vehicle maintenance and safety video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Winterize a Car
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Video Transcript

In this clip, we're going to talk about the amount of freeze protection your antifreeze happens to be carrying. What I have here in this blue glass is water as you can see. I have in my overflow jug coolant. What I'm going to use is something called a hydrometer. On the hydrometer is a scale which will measure at what temperature my antifreeze is going to freeze at. Just for demonstration purposes, I'm going to suck up some water in here. The number of balls floating is going to correspond with a gauge here on the tool itself written in black. We're going to start at the top with -40 degrees. And how high the balls are floating will indicate the level of freeze protection you have. Right now, the gauge is indicating, with none of the balls floating, that my antifreeze, or for demonstration purposes, I was using water, is going to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degree Celsius. What will happen if your antifreeze freezes up inside your engine? There are freeze plugs inside of it that will actually pop out and explode causing massive coolant leaks and things of that nature. You can also crack your engine block due to the fact that coolant expands when it's frozen. What I'm going to do now is test the antifreeze in the vehicle itself. I will take the cap off. As you can see, it says "radiator coolant only". Coolant and antifreeze are the same thing. I want to take a snorkel out of what I got on my overflow jug and test what's actually running in my system. As you can see, all of the balls are floating. And the very highest measurement I have for freeze protection is in the range of -40 degrees which means the vehicle can be driven almost anywhere on the planet. You're going to want to make sure to test your antifreeze every winter. This simple step and for the cost of the tool can save you, possibly, a horrible engine repair. This is the proper way to test your antifreeze.

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