As a car owner, there are several things you should check for to ensure the proper maintenance and upkeep of your vehicle. Aside from keeping the car clean, you must check the air pressure of the tires regularly, as well as the fluids of the vehicle. One of the fluids you must check in your vehicle is the anti freeze.
Anti freeze is a liquid chemical in your automobile that protects the radiator and engine from freezing or boiling levels. It is also known as engine coolant. The most common chemicals used in this coolant are ethylene and propylene glycol. The reason these two chemicals are used is because their freezing and burning points are well below the freezing point and above the boiling point of water, respectively, enabling it to pass through the engine in either extreme weather conditions.
An anti freeze tester is used to determine the levels of this coolant in your engine as well as the condition of the coolant. Some testers can even determine rust or sediment deposits in the liquid. Testing of the anti freeze is recommended to ensure the maximum upkeep of your vehicle. It can be done when you bring in your car for a regular service maintenance check up, or you may choose to do it yourself with home kits and testers.
There are several anti freeze inhibitors in the coolant. A good anti freeze test will measure several types, including OAT, HOAT, GO5, Dexcool and other conventional coolants. There are several brands and versions of the tester. Some have a floating ball, a disk or a tail and bulb. There are also test strips available. Readings can be done in either Celsius or Fahrenheit degrees and results are easy to read.
The basic test will require a small sample of the fluid and depending on the resulting chemical reaction, the test can indicate a variety of factors regarding the status and condition of your car’s coolant.
The test measures the ph levels, the reserve alkalinity levels. Testing is relatively easy. You must first wait for your engine to cool down before performing the test since the radiator should not be opened when it is hot. Most test strips just have the user dip the reactive tip into the anti freeze coolant. Just dip the strip for about a second then remove immediately. The strip should change color within a minute. The color change indicates the condition of the anti freeze and this is compared against the chart or color code that comes along with the package.
Before purchasing a tester, find out what type of coolant is used in your vehicle. Purchase the appropriate tester that can be used for your particular coolant type. Ideally, the tester should be able to test for any coolant type and can be used when the coolant is hot or cold. You should be able to get a reading directly from either the radiator or the coolant overflow system coolant samples and results should be immediate. Also, the tester parts should fit a variety of vehicles.
If you’re unsure, just remind your mechanic to do the test for you.