How to Check and Test Engine Coolant | Hagerty DIY

How to Check and Test Engine Coolant | Hagerty DIY


– Hi, my name is Randy Clouse.
Here today with Hagerty to
do a fluids level check,
on a 69 Camaro.
As always, we’re gonna use a towel.
Something clean and dry to put on,
to protect the painted surfaces.
The first thing I’m
gonna check is coolant.
And we always want to check coolant,
when it’s cold.
The coolant will, as
it gets hotter inside,
the system will pressurize.
If we take the radiator
cap off with a hot engine,
it’s very likely the water
could burst out and burn us.
So, always check and
feel it’s nice and cold.
Radiator caps should push down.
Give it about half a turn.
Cap comes off.
I’m fortunate to have an LED light,
on the end of a flashlight,
which works really good for
looking down inside of places.
So, if we look down inside this radiator,
we can see the tubes on the radiator,
and the cleanliness of the radiator.
And that’s really important.
As the radiators age
we’re gonna start seeing
a lot of corrosion and a lot
of growth around those tubes.
Those tubes are what
passes the coolant through
the radiator to help cool the coolant.
Next we’re gonna see,
how low the fluid level is in this.
That’s because this particular car
does not have a coolant
recovery tank on it.
A bottle in the inner fender.
So it actually runs this low,
so when it gets super hot,
it expands up to the bottom
of that radiator cap.
So that’s exactly where the
level needs to be in this car.
As coolant gets older it
can start deteriorating,
and it’ll actually start leaving deposits,
inside the radiator.
And where you’re gonna see those,
most of the time,
is right at the end of those tubes,
that you’re seeing in there.
There’ll be little corrosion
growths built up around them.
And once those get so bad,
then it’s time to replace the radiator,
because it’s plugged up
and it can’t cool the coolant anymore.
I have a baster.
I use this all the time
for different fluids.
In this particular case,
I’m gonna take out enough
fluid out of the radiator,
so I can test it.
So coolant comes in many colors.
You can get red coolant,
blue coolant, green coolant.
In this case we’re running
a yellowish colored coolant.
So the product I’m using today,
is called Accustrip.
I’ve just picked this up at
a local auto parts store.
And inside you’re gonna find,
they’re just strips of paper.
Those of you with pools are used
to doing this.
Taking your PH level tests in you pools.
Or your hot tubs.
But we just stick it in.
Okay, so we’re gonna leave
it in for 30 seconds or so.
Then we’re gonna come up to the bottle.
And the first test we’re gonna do,
is this gives us for blue
coolant, red coolant,
or other coolants.
Because we know we have
a yellow coolant there,
that’s obviously gonna
fall into other coolants.
So we’re gonna follow up it up the scale.
And it looks like,
a good match is somewhere
between 60 and 100%.
And that’s the percentage
of glycol or antifreeze.
So that tests pretty good.
And we’re over to,
minus 22 degrees.
So that actually is not too bad.
So let’s go to the next test,
which is alkalinity test.
So we’re gonna come up the scale.
The good would be a green at the bottom.
And as we come up,
we’re up to about a three point two,
I would say, right here
on this middle one.
So what it says here now,
is it says to go to step three.
So now we’re gonna go to the next level.
We’re gonna come up to step three.
And we’re gonna find ourselves,
somewhere in the 7.5 to 9 range.
Which is in about the
middle of the service.
So this coolant is getting just about
to the end of its life.
It’s starting to feel a little bit of PH.
It’s starting to see a
little bit of alkaline in it.
Probably what I’m gonna do this fall,
is I’m gonna go ahead and
change this coolant out.
And put some fresh coolant in.
No sense gambling on bad
coolant for the winter.
Especially for sitting.
So by using litmus strips in the coolant,
we can certainly tell the
amount of coolant protection,
as far as the temperature goes.
we can test the alkalinity
and the PH level.
I think that’s a very thorough
way to do a coolant test.
Thanks for watching guys.
If you have any comments,
leave them in the section below.

17 Replies to “How to Check and Test Engine Coolant | Hagerty DIY”

  1. Just my two cents…When it comes to radiator corrosion, also think about the water you add with your antifreeze before you do it. I strongly recommend using distilled water. Over the long term, your freeze plugs will thank you too.

  2. Coolant is probably one of the most commonly neglected maintenance items on a vehicle. . And subsequent cooling system problems are one of the main causes of breakdowns and major engine damage. For peace of mind I change all my vehicles coolant every 2 years.. and mix with distilled water. Thanks for the video!

  3. Honestly I used the coolant checker that has the balls inside of the plastic housing, with the Baster ball on the end, I'm gonna buy the setup u have and test again

  4. This is interesting. I didn't know there was anything out there like this. I just looked this up thinking about getting some for myself. I noticed this on the description of the Wix brand "will not work for extended or long life antifreezes (only for traditional, standard antifreezes". How do you know if you have long life or extended antifreeze in your car?

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