How to use an Antifreeze Tester
If you are concerned that your antifreeze is not pre-mixed, antifreeze testers can be purchased at any auto parts store and typically cost about $5.00. It is probably a better idea to just replace your current antifreeze with a pre-mixed version, but if you would like to test it, there are a couple of types of testers. One of the least expensive types works like a turkey baster with small colored balls inside:
1. First, suck the antifreeze by squeezing the bulb.
2. Fill the tube with fluid and make sure to put your finger over the end and shake off any air bubbles that have collected on the balls.
3. Now you should observe how many of the balls float. Generally, the number and location of the balls as they float will correspond with the quality of your antifreeze and how well your car is protected against freezing. The antifreeze tester will tell you how to read the results. As a note, if your coolant is more than a few years old, change it anyway. Antifreeze becomes acidic over time and can damage your vehicle. Click here for instructions of how to check your antifreeze (coolant).
4. If your coolant is low the first time you check it, you need to add more coolant. Wait to 2-4 days and then check the coolant again. You are going to be looking for two things: the anti-freeze to water mix ratio that you will check with your antifreeze tester and the fluid level to make sure it is not low again. If your fluid is low after 2-4 days, you probably have a leak and should see a mechanic right away. Make sure that your antifreeze to water ratio is correct when you test your fluid again. It is especially important in winter climates where temperatures are near or below 32 degrees fahrenheit. If there is too much water in your cooling system the fluid will freeze. Too much antifreeze can damage your engine.