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Learn how to test your antifreeze, and how to change your coolant to make sure it is protecting your car's engine and cooling system properly. In this video I cover what how to properly test your coolant and top off your radiator so it is a 50/50 mix that way your car wont overheat and your engine block wont freeze or corrode.
Also if the heat in your car is weak or you dont have heat, in this video I will show you how to bleed the air out of the cooling system so you can get heat Coolant is 50% antifreeze and 50% distilled water. And no, freeze plugs are not going to save your engine block from freezing and cracking every time.
Coolant Tester: https://advanceautoparts.rt8x.net/zZYq6
Concentrated PEAK 10x: https://advanceautoparts.rt8x.net/b4Y0k
50/50 PEAK 10x: https://advanceautoparts.rt8x.net/2bZJQ
Distilled Water (no minerals): https://amzn.to/3qAGGe3
Ramps: https://advanceautoparts.rt8x.net/63mzG
Spill Proof Funnel: https://amzn.to/3mS9xs1
Large Fluid Storage Container: https://amzn.to/3oxtzse
Temperature Chart for Antifreeze:Water: https://bit.ly/AntifreezeWaterChart
How to SUPER FLUSH your Coolant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s--5ft5YiHg
How to Flush your Heater Core: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9SIafVsqyc
How to Diagnose and Fix NO Heat in your Car: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XjXTVJhFLM
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Disclaimer:
Due to factors beyond the control of ChrisFix, I cannot guarantee against improper use or unauthorized modifications of this information. ChrisFix assumes no liability for property damage or injury incurred as a result of any of the information contained in this video. Use this information at your own risk. ChrisFix recommends safe practices when working on vehicles and or with tools seen or implied in this video. Due to factors beyond the control of ChrisFix, no information contained in this video shall create any expressed or implied warranty or guarantee of any particular result. Any injury, damage, or loss that may result from improper use of these tools, equipment, or from the information contained in this video is the sole responsibility of the user and not ChrisFix.

Hey guys chris fix here now, it's that time of the year again the leaves are falling. It is starting to get real cold out, and that means winter is right around the corner. So today, i'm going to show you guys how to check and test your coolant in your car. That way your engine doesn't freeze, it doesn't crack, your cooling system doesn't burst and you have nice warm heat all winter, long inside the cabin of your car.

So you can stay toasty now for those who are lucky enough to live in an area that doesn't get cold in the winter. Don't worry. This video still applies to you, and here is why so coolant is a mix of antifreeze and distilled water, and it does three main things: it prevents your engine and cooling system from freezing overheating and from corroding. So the first thing coolant does: is it prevents your cooling system from boiling and overheating boiling water does not cool? Well, the air in the water doesn't cool, doesn't have good heat transfer so to prevent overheating.

We don't want the fluid in our cooling system to boil. If we take a look right here, you can see our water is boiling, but our antifreeze is not under normal conditions. Water boils at 212 degrees, fahrenheit and 50. 50 coolant boils at 226 degrees fahrenheit.

Now cooling systems are pressurized. If you take a look right here on this reservoir cap, it says 21 psi and if you take a look right here on this radiator cap, it says 16 psi and when you pressurize liquids, the boiling point increases so at 15, psi water boils at 250 degrees. Fahrenheit and coolant boils at 260., so making sure your antifreeze is a 50 50 ratio is pretty important to prevent it from boiling over like that now. The second thing coolant does.

Is it prevents corrosion? If we look here, we have the water pump from my pickup truck before i owned it. The owner used straight water in the cooling system and look at all that rust and that scale in the water pump and the radiator was 20 times worse. And what happens is when you have scale and rust, clogging up the radiator? It prevents good heat transfer and your cooling system is just working harder to keep that engine at operating temperature. It could also cause things to fail, such as the water pump, which is why i had to change it now.

Antifreeze has additives in it that prevents corrosion check out this bolt. You can see it's in pretty good condition and then, if we check out this bolt, you can see it's all rusted water does not have any of those additives in it, so stuff will rust in water and then. Finally, if you take a look at this water pump, that was in my jag, it looks like it's in great shape compared to the one that was in my truck and that's because before the jag got a head gasket leak, it was running fresh 5050 coolant and Then the last major thing that coolant does is it prevents your cooling system from freezing water freezes at 32 degrees, fahrenheit and 50 50 coolant freezes at negative 34 degrees fahrenheit, and it's important that water does not freeze inside the cooling system because it could actually break The engine it could crack the block water expands about 10 percent, or so, when it freezes, you can see this used to be at the same level, but now this is a little bit higher, because this is frozen. You might have experienced this when you put a.

Can of soda or a bottle of water in the freezer and it expands and breaks that soda can or the bottle and, as you guys know, i don't like to just tell you things i like to show you real life examples. So what we're going to do is we're going to fill this pipe up with antifreeze, a 50 50 mix and we're going to fill this pipe up with regular, plain old water h2o, and these are metal pipes and we're going to leave them out overnight in the Below freezing weather and just wait and see what happens? It's amazing. So let's fill the antifreeze metal pipe with 50 antifreeze and 50 water good and cap it off, and then let's fill the water pipe with well just water good, all right! So now we have our 50 50 antifreeze pipe and our 100 water pipe and let's let these sit outside in the freezing cold overnight and also i thought, it'd be cool to show you guys what happens to plastic as well. So, let's add a 50 50 mix.

Antifreeze water into one pipe and our plain water into the other pipe and we'll get these to sit outside overnight as well in the freezing cold and, let's see what happens, this should be good, alright. So a couple of freezing days later check out our results. I love real life tests because look at this, so the cap here actually blew off it, cracked off from the expanding ice. The ice had nowhere to go in here, so it had to go somewhere and it broke the metal.

That's how strong it is and if we take a look at the pvc pipe with the water in it, it didn't blow anything apart, because pvc has a little bit more flexibility. But you can see that nice big crack just picture the plastics in your cooling system that crack would leak out all the coolant and then meanwhile, the 50 50 ratio protected these. There is no damage at all. It's not blown apart.

You can see, there's no cracking or anything. So that's why you run a 50 50 ratio now. One last thing i want to mention is about freeze plugs, because i know i'm gon na get comments on this. So this right here is an extra engine.

I have so we could supercharge the drift car and if we take a look on the side here, these right here are freeze plugs. This is what they look like. They are a press, fit cap that goes into the block and they got this name because people running straight water or not enough, antifreeze in the winter would come to their car with these on the floor, because the ice would actually push them out now. This could actually save your engine block from cracking.

It won't work all the time, but that's how it got this name. What these actually are are just plugs for the block for when they cast it. This is how they drain the sand from the block to make sure you get all that sand out when the blocks are actually made at the foundry. So that's how a freeze plug got its name.

It's not designed to prevent your block from freezing and cracking. So don't rely on this instead make sure you have that 50 50 mix so that you don't have any chance of the block freezing. So i think you get it it's very important to have that 50 50 ratio of antifreeze to water in your cooling system. So it runs properly now, let me show you how to test it.

Here are all the tools and products you need and, as usual, we're using common hand, tools and easy to find products. That way, you can do this exact same thing at home yourself, no problem at all. The first thing you're going to need is one of these antifreeze testers, also known as an antifreeze. Hydrometer sounds complex.

It's actually really simple to use and inexpensive. This is only five bucks i'll be sure to link this in the description. The next thing you might need is a funnel. You can use any funnel.

I really recommend one of these spill proof funnels. They work amazing for the cooling system, especially if you have air in your cooling system. Maybe you don't have a lot of heat coming out of your heater that could signify that there is air trapped in the heater core, and if so, i will show you how to get all that air out in this video. That way, you have nice warm heat using one of these spill proof funnels i'll, be sure to link that in the description as well and then finally, we need to get some good old antifreeze we're using peak 10x.

This is a universal antifreeze, meaning it works in any make and model, and you can mix it with the antifreeze that's already in there, which is perfect, because we're going to be topping off the antifreeze, we're not doing a full flush. Now, depending on what our tester says, we might need to add straight antifreeze: we might need to add just 50 50 and top it off or we might need to add distilled water. Now, when adding water to your cooling system, it has to be pure distilled water. There's no minerals in this.

If you add tap water, if you add water from your hose bottled water, any of that stuff that has minerals in it, so make sure you find distilled water and make sure your distilled water doesn't have anything that says: minerals added, for example, this water right here You can see it says enhanced with minerals for taste, although it is purified water, it's not distilled, and it has minerals in it. That's what we're trying to avoid. So i wanted to cover that real quick, because i see people add hose water or bottled water to their cooling system. All the time - and you don't want minerals in there, minerals will coat the inside of the cooling system and make it so that there's less heat transfer also it'll increase the rate of corrosion, which isn't good so make sure you use that distilled water, and with that, That's all the tools and products you need.

I do want to thank peak very much for supporting the video and sending me out the coolant that way. I could teach you guys how to properly test your coolant and then top it off with the correct ratio. So with that said, let's go get started. Let me show you how to test the coolant, so the first car we're gon na test is susan.

The previously vandalized car that we've been fixing up. I got her this summer. I have no clue the condition of the coolant system, so that's the perfect candidate to check, especially before the winter. Now, what we're going to need to do is get a coolant sample to fill this up.

So you need to find access to the coolant, and in this case we have a coolant reservoir right here that we could get our sample from now whenever you're working on the cooling system. It's super super important before you do anything, make sure the coolant cap is cool to the touch it cannot be hot. These systems are pressurized when they're hot. So if you remove this, when it's pressurized you'll get hot scalding coolant pouring all over you, which would not be fun, so this cap is cool, which means we could remove it.

Then we could grab our antifreeze tester and insert the hose into the coolant reservoir to press the bulb and it's very important. We get enough coolant to fill all the way up to our fill line. Right here you can see right there. It says fluid level.

We need it to that level or higher so that we could get an accurate reading and once we have our sample, we could remove it from the reservoir and, let's take a look so the way you read this on the side here is your freezing point in Blue, we have fahrenheit in red, we have celsius. This is the temperature at which your coolant will freeze at a perfect 50 50 ratio. We have negative 34 degrees, that's the freezing point, so we have negative 35 right there close enough. These things aren't crazy, accurate anyway.

So we just want to make sure our arrow here points in this vicinity now before you take this reading, there's two things you want to do one you want to make sure you tap on it like this, that's very important because there could be bubbles supporting this Float and since it works on specific gravity, bubbles could be supporting it up and giving you a false reading and two. You can see this arrow right here. If we take this and we tilt it to the side, you can see. The arrow is no longer in that crosshair.

We want the arrow to be in the crosshair, which means that our reading is level. Otherwise. Our float moves side to side so line up that arrow in the crosshair like that and make sure there are no bubbles which there aren't and then take a reading. You can see it's right around negative 34 degrees, which is perfect.

We have a 50 50 ratio of antifreeze to coolant. That is what you want to see now, while this tool is very helpful, you did hear me say it's not very accurate. I mean it's only five bucks, but there is a good way to test it out to make sure it's at least relatively accurate, and that is get a cup of distilled water and we're gon na take a sample of the distilled water, because we know distilled water's. Freezing point is 32 degrees, fahrenheit zero degrees celsius.

So we have a freezing point that we know for sure and with just plain water. Our freezing point is right there, so our arrow should be pointing at that freezing point and it's a little bit below so like. I said it's not 100 accurate, but it's pretty close, so that gives you a pretty good idea of the accuracy of these. It's good enough for what we need it for and now with that all done.

We know we have 50 50 in here. We could put our cap back on and make sure you tighten it down all the way. Just like that, beautiful and while we're here, the last thing to look at real quick is to make sure our coolant level is at the proper level. And if you take a look at the side of the cooling system, you can see it says minimum and maximum, and then our coolant is right above that maximum line.

So if your coolant was at the minimum line, i definitely recommend filling it up to the maximum line. That little amount does make a big difference in the cooling capacity of your system, also keeping air out of your system, and we are a little bit above, which isn't a big deal if it was way filled up to here, i'd definitely consider taking some out. So you have room for expansion, but being a little bit above, isn't a big deal but always check this, and that's all there is to testing and checking your coolant. So you know it's at that: optimal 50 50 ratio.

It takes less than a minute to do. It's less than five dollars to buy one of these. There's no excuse for you not to check it, and it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs, especially if that engine block goes bad from overheating or from cracking in the winter. Now, there's one other thing that could freeze in your engine bay that we want to check it's a little bit different.

It is your washer fluid now, if you fill this up with straight water in the summer or you buy washer fluid in the summer from the store they're, probably using a summer mix which doesn't protect as cold. So you need to definitely make sure that you change this out and what we're going to fill it up with is washer fluid that not only has de-icer in it which will help when the windshield gets icy in the winter, but it's good to negative 25. So we don't have to worry about this freezing and cracking also, potentially, the lines freezing and cracking and the sprayer nozzles freezing and cracking all bad things that we don't want. So, in order to get all this out of here, go in the car and hit the wipers holding this down for about 10 to 15 seconds, we'll remove enough washer fluid so that you could add your winter washer fluid.

So now, with our washer fluid reservoir, pretty much empty, or at least close to it, we could fill it up with our winter washer fluid, and this will give us the protection we need for freezing and also make it easier to get the snow and ice off. The windshield good - and the last thing to do is hit your wipers one last time for a couple of seconds to flush the new fluid through the lines and spray nozzles, so they don't freeze beautiful. So our coolant's good, our washer fluid, is good. We don't have to worry about anything freezing over the winter and we are done with this car all right so now you know how to test your coolant, but what happens if your coolant isn't at that ideal, 50 50 ratio probably like what we're gon na find In the jag, the jag had a head gasket leak, or maybe it still has one.

I don't know i've been using this head. Gasket sealer i'm making another video all about using a head, gasket, sealer, documenting it, showing you guys how i added it and whether or not it works and it's a long-term video. So it's going to be over a year giving you an idea if it worked or not, but in the meantime what that means is we added a lot of water to the system because the engine was consuming a lot of coolant and it got expensive constantly topping It off with coolant, so instead we topped it off with straight water, definitely not the best thing to do, but we did what we had to do for a car like this. So let's go check out this coolant again only remove this cap.

If the engine is cool which it is and for whatever reason, the caps on these jaguars are a pain to remove there we go and now we can take our sample, and this is crystal clear. So it's definitely mostly water. So if you take a look good thing, we're changing this out, this is only protected to 10 degrees fahrenheit about negative 12 celsius, which it definitely gets below that temperature, sometimes where i live, so that could have been bad now. Let me show you what we need to do to get this ratio.

50. 50.. First, we need to raise the front of the vehicle, so you could get under it and i'm using ramps to make it simple, but you can jack it up. If you want and remember to chalk off the rear wheels so with the car safely lifted up, what we're gon na do is we're gon na go underneath and drain the radiator, so we can get the correct ratio.

So let's go get our safety glasses on and i have my drain pan ready and let me go show you where the drain plug is so under the car to orient you guys. That way is facing forward you're going to look behind the grill for the radiator. That's this silver piece right here and you want to go to one of the corners of the radiator. Now one of the corners will have the drain valve.

In this case it is located right there. So that is what we're going to have to unscrew to drain the radiator, i'm using a flathead screwdriver and be very careful, because this valve is just plastic and you can easily strip it so unscrew it and you can see the coolant starting to come out. So continue to remove that drain, plug the rest of the way and there you go, definitely have that drain pan under there aimed properly, because this coolant is coming out quick and now we just have to wait until it completely drains and once it's drained screw that Drain plug back in and make sure you tighten this, but don't go crazy. You want it to be snug but don't force it again.

This is just plastic all right. So, with our radiator completely drained of coolant, that doesn't mean we drain the entire cooling system. There's still coolant inside the engine inside the heater core and probably some of the hoses, but we did drain it enough that way. When we add our new coolant, we could get our 50 50 ratio we're looking for now in order to figure out how much antifreeze we need to add, we need to figure out how much we removed and to do that, you could use old bottles of antifreeze, Like this, you know they're a gallon each and just fill them up.

Luckily, i have one of these large fluid storage containers, which has the volume on the side. So i can see how much coolant we emptied, and it also makes it easy for me to bring all this coolant to the parts store to be recycled when we're done so. The entire cooling system in the jag is just about eight quarts or two gallons. So with about a gallon removed or four quarts, now, let's figure out how much we need to add to get to that 50 50 ratio.

The first thing you need to do is check the total capacity of your cooling system in your owner's manual. So in the jag, the total capacity is eight quarts. Now just to remind you that coolant was protected down to 10 degrees fahrenheit. So if we grab our chart the temperature's over here, you can see 10 degrees fahrenheit.

That gives us an antifreeze concentration of 25 percent and water concentration of 75 percent, so out of the eight quarts in the system, we removed four. That gives us four left in the system and then to figure out how much antifreeze versus water. There is the four quarts left in the system times 25 antifreeze gives us one quart of antifreeze and then the four quarts left in the system times 75 percent water gives us three quarts of water. So what we want to do is we want to get this ratio to 50 50..

This is what's still left in the car, and in order to do that, it's really simple. We just need to add two quarts of antifreeze straight antifreeze, concentrate and that'll. Give us three quarts antifreeze: three quarts water, 50, 50. and then from there.

We could just fill it up the rest of the way with 50 50. and don't worry i'll, be sure to link this in the description. So you could easily find it that way. You could reference the temperature and your antifreeze and water concentration, so let's go fill our cooling system so now grab your funnel and we're going to add our two quarts of straight antifreeze.

This is that spill proof funnel. I was telling you about comes with all these adapters. These are the adapters we need for the jag that goes in there like that, and then this just tightens down and then finally, our funnel connects just like that. So now we need to add two quarts of full strength antifreeze.

This has to be concentrated antifreeze that way we could get that 50 50 ratio and this specific 10x coolant i'm using has 10 times the concentration of corrosion inhibitors in it, which is awesome to help prevent the cooling system from corroding. So, let's finish up pouring those two quarts into the cooling system good and now we can top this off the rest of the way with our 50 50 antifreeze. Knowing that our ratio inside the cooling system is 50 50. and with the spill proof funnel, we could keep adding coolant to fill the funnel up.

Then, let's start the car and back off the ramps to get the car on level ground that way. The bubbles in the cooling system aren't trapped and can escape now with the car level we're going to let it run until it warms up and that thermostat opens up that's when all the air bubbles will start to flow out. We do want to go inside the car and you want to turn your heat on all the way. That way.

If there is a heater control valve, it will open up. So now the coolant is flowing through the heater core and our air will be nice and toasty. Once all those bubbles are pushed out and as the car runs, you can see the trapped air coming out of the system and those bubbles are being replaced by coolant and after about 10 to 15 minutes of the engine idling, our thermostat has opened up because we're At operating temperature, and if we take a look here, our coolant is almost all the way empty. You want to make sure you keep this topped off, but i'm not going to because this is pretty much as much coolant as we're going to need.

Our system has been completely bled of air and the reason why that works so well is because if you take a look, the heater core, the engine, the radiator, they are all way lower than the highest point of our funnel right here. So now we can shut the car off, we could get our plunger and plug the funnel. That way, we can remove the funnel without all the coolant pouring out and then let's remove the adapters from the reservoir and finally, let's take a sample to make sure we have that 50 50 ratio and check it out. We are at that negative 35 degree.

Protection mark, so we now have a 50 50 ratio in our cooling system beautiful now. One last thing we need to do don't forget the top off the washer fluid with the winter mix. That way, it doesn't freeze and if you're wondering what happened to this cat mice were actually chewing away. At this i found a little nest inside the engine bay they're trying to keep warm but we'll get that back on there and that'll do for now.

So there you go, that's all there is to checking your coolant and making sure it's that perfect, 50 50 ratio, so your engine and cooling system is protected. Hopefully this video was helpful if it was remember to give it a thumbs up if you're not a subscriber. Consider hitting that subscribe button and, as always, all the tools and products i used in this video are linked in the description.

18 thoughts on “How to test your coolant for the winter (before major damage is done)”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars lokoako chan says:

    Our car before is only water and small rust is forming so we replace it with coolant is it still okay? I think it is running 4 yrs of water only

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Owen Sherwood says:

    Is there a problem running straight antifreeze or a 70 30 mix? In case it gets colder in your area, will this have any downsides?

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Pegasus 898 says:

    Glycol antifreeze only does 2 things one prevents freezing and two prevents cavitation of the motors and pumps I wouldn’t of touched that engine is scrap

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars RCman says:

    Iv used water from a puddle before when the car was over heating and coolent was down a ton but but it was either slap water in it or walk 🤣🤣 would of been a couple days of walking out

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars AMP Games says:

    "over a year" for thhat headgasket sealer video. Guess we have 2 more months!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Baldi Baldimore says:

    What if you use liquid nitrogen to cool your engine?

    Will it like damage the engine?

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars jacob van halteren says:

    One thing to remember is that coolant becomes slush, and does not freeze solid like water so while the freezing point is -34 F the bursting point – at which it will expand and crack – is extremely low.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Flyguy says:

    It's cold here in Vermont. What happens if I use 75% coolant? Too much of a good thing?

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mortest says:

    don’t use distilled water
    use normal water without lime
    because distilled water will take out its minerals out of your engine block, which can cause rly rly big issues

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars coronavirus says:

    mhmm, mhmm ok ok…
    That if I just…

    don’t use ANY water? is my engine bulletproof now? Is my bmw a luxury Acura now?

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jacob Molina says:

    I gotta say your videos are awesome 😎 you explain things extremely well and you pay so much attention to detail thank you 😎

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ward Nemo says:

    Chris
    I have a 2004 dodge dakota it keeps losing coolant but I can't find any leaks! Could use your help!

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Arno OUwencamp says:

    i have a1995 luxline honda and so far i know there hasnt been antifreeze in for 2 years(if not longer) only water but can i put in antifreeze in or will it break down the rust and make a hole in the system

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Alex Obando says:

    Water boils at 212 depending on sea level. As air pressure rises, water takes less heat to boil. Top of Everest, water would boil around 180F. Interesting fact about water.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars drifterig says:

    meanwhile my dad when go offroad and broke his radiator he use water from a pond and put egg in hot radiator water to fix the leak that doesnt look safe lol

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Angela Chapman says:

    I just use straight antifreeze I've never mixed distilled water with it.
    What's the reason for your method? Thanks

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ralph Trites says:

    Long time viewer, 1st comment: What about Evan's Waterless Coolant? Do you run it in any of your vehicles?

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars GoldyCraft79 says:

    Nobody:

    Car burns in pieces:

    People: JUST THROW IT AWAY DANG IT!

    Chris: HEY GUYS CHRISFIX HERE! AND TODAY IM GONNA SHOW YOU HOW TO FIX A BURNT CAR INTO A FULLY WORKING CAR!

    Tools: SOAPY WATER.

    I burnt a car, which sucks

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