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Oct 27, 2015

6 Ways To Check The Quality Of Engine Coolant

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Coolant, which is also known as antifreeze, is important for the health of your car engine. Coolant plays several roles for your engine including protecting it from freezing, limiting corrosion, and maintaining the heat balance. Coolant is able to maintain this heat balance by removing heat energy so that the engine can maintain proper function.

Engine Coolant

Most coolants are typically comprised of the same fluids. Half of the fluid generally consists of ethylene glycol while the other half is water. Often times, there are additives such as dyes, antifoams, and corrosion inhibitors. In North America, the color of coolant is typically green.

Coolant should be changed once a year or every 20,000 miles. The following are 6 ways to check the quality of engine coolant:

  1. Use a coolant tester: You can purchase an inexpensive coolant tester such as a hydrometer or refractometer to determine the protection level of your coolant. The tester withdraws a bit of liquid from the system and tests it to determine if you need to add coolant.
  2. Take a look: Take a peek under the pressure cap and pay attention to the color of the coolant. If the liquid is clear or has particles floating in it, it may be time for a change.
  3. Consider the water you may have added: If water has been frequently added to your cooling system, the level of your coolant protection is going to be low.
  4. Have the entire cooling system checked: Take your car in to have the entire cooling system checked. Make sure to include testing the radiator cap.
  5. Test for corrosion inhibitors: This is a way you can check the coolant condition as conventional inhibitors decrease with time and need to be tested. This is typically done with test strips or by your local mechanic.
  6. Consider your climate: Coolant can degrade more quickly in extreme temperatures so be sure to consider extreme weather when determining the quality of engine coolant.

It is essential to use coolants to maintain proper functioning of your engine. Coolant is vital in maintaining the overall heat balance of the engine and protecting it from corrosion. It is important to be aware of your level of coolant to avoid any mishaps. If you haven’t done so within the past year or so, you may want to call your local car centre and have them flush your entire cooling system if you notice your coolant levels are low.

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