Antifreeze testing

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  #1  
Old 12-08-06, 03:29 PM
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Question Antifreeze testing

It's supposed to be 17 degrees here tonight.

What is the proper way to test coolant to see if you have enough antifreeze? The instructions on the bulb-type tester I bought today says to let the car engine warm up before drawing coolant into the tester. But how warm should it be? If you let it warm up too much, it'll get hot and boil over when you remove the radiator cap. Is it okay to draw the coolant to be tested from the little plastic reservoir overflow tank? And If I need to add antifreeze, can I just pour it into the plastic overflow tank? I don't relish the thought of having to drain coolant out of the radiator in order to accomodate the added antifreeze.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
 
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Old 12-08-06, 03:42 PM
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I've never tested coolant before. I'm not sure the overflow res. would produce the warm coolant, or the cold coolant that was sitting in the lines.

You can remove the radiator cap, just barely crack it to let the air escape, then you should be ok.
 
  #3  
Old 12-08-06, 04:37 PM
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What model year car do you have ?
Most cars produced since 2000 should have the new generation coolant that is good for about zero degrees.

The older cars ( because being older) probably have some type of 50/50 mix which should be tested for freeze rate only because someone probably replaced the original coolant by now, I hope.

You can use the resevoir to test from.
I've had antifreeze turn to slush at about zero in a car I drove about 25 years ago but didn't freeze completely.

Your probably OK with what you have now but it's a good idea to know that it is good for at least zero degrees unless you live in Fargo.
 
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Old 12-08-06, 05:52 PM
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If you're testing coolant in a system that hasn't had anything added recently and the reservoir is up to level, you can test it from the reservoir after letting the car warm up to temperature. The coolant isn't really boiling over, it just expands as it warms up and the excess goes into the reservoir. When the car cools down the coolant contracts and the system draws from the reservoir. This cycle evens the mixture throughout the system.

However, if you find you need to add a significant amount of antifreeze to get the immediate (like that night) protection level you need, that would have to be added directly into the radiator. The antifreeze wouldn't have enough warming and cooling cycles to sufficiently mix antifreeze added to the reservoir.

Then the car would have to be ran for a few minutes to mix the coolant.

Hope this helps,

Bob
 
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Old 12-09-06, 04:40 AM
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Should be about 60 degrees F.
Take it from the rad. Be carefull.
 
  #6  
Old 12-09-06, 06:12 AM
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Smile Antifreeze testing

My thanks to everyone for the responses which have been very helpful.

The car is a 1994 Toyota Tercel; a second car that's not driven very often (28,000 miles).

I suppose I'll drive it around and let it heat up and pour some antifreeze directly into the reservoir, and drive it around some more so the added antifreeze will hopefully mix and blend with the existing coolant already in the system. Will that work?

Thanks to again to all and Merry Christmas; happy winter holiday, etc.; and most importantly have a prosperous 2007!
 
  #7  
Old 12-09-06, 07:37 AM
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Antifreeze testing

If you have a '94 and the antifreeze has not been drained, flush it and refill. You may be circulating an acid/antifreeze solution that won't freeze. You might add another 10 years to the car

Dick
 
  #8  
Old 12-09-06, 09:52 AM
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I would add the following to Dick's comments. If you haven't done so in the past, replace both the upper and lower radiator hoses, and the thermostat. They are all beyond their normal expected lives. A little P.M. goes a long way to keep you from being stranded somewhere on a frosty night.
 
  #9  
Old 12-10-06, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
I would add the following to Dick's comments. If you haven't done so in the past, replace both the upper and lower radiator hoses, and the thermostat. They are all beyond their normal expected lives. A little P.M. goes a long way to keep you from being stranded somewhere on a frosty night.
Don't forget other coolant hoses. You have at least 2 heater hoses and possibly other coolant hoses such as by pass hoses, throttle body hoses etc. My son's Honda Prelude had 12 coolant hoses total. If any one breaks, at a minimum you will be stranded and it could possibly cost you an engine if you over heat the engine badly enough.

Also old coolant can eat away at the metal of your engine by electrolysis. It also accelerates the deterioration of your hoses. It is called EME (electrolytic metal corrosion). There is always voltage present in your cooling system, but if it gets above .5 volts you are getting into the danger zone which is considered to be .5 to 1.75 volts.

It is easy to check. Set a DC voltmeter on a low voltage scale and put one probe in the radiator or if the radiator does not have a radiator cap on it put the probe in the coolan it the coolant reservoir. Put the other probe to a good groung on the engine. If the voltage is ove .5 volts I would change it.
 
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