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Cars Get Cold Too

How To Check Your Antifreeze

It may not cross most people's minds, but checking your car's antifreeze protection level is an important part of regular maintenance. Anti-freeze helps protect your car from damage caused by cold weather, and keeping it at the proper level could save you from costly repairs down the road. In this article, we will show you how to check your car's antifreeze protection level and what to do if it needs to be adjusted.

What You Need

Before you begin, there are a few items you need for the job:

  • An anti-freeze tester: These are usually sold for just a few dollars at any auto parts store.

  • Paper towel or rag: This will help keep the anti-freeze off of surfaces like paint that could get damaged.

  • Ziplock bag: This will help keep dirt out of your anti-freeze tester while you’re not using it.


Step 1: Locate The Reservoir

The first step is to locate the reservoir where your car’s anti-freeze is stored. This is usually in the engine compartment, and it looks like a plastic container with a lid on top (as seen in Figure 1). There should also be a warning label telling you not to open the lid while the fluid is hot – so always make sure that your car has been sitting idle for at least two hours before proceeding! 

Step 2: Testing The Anti-Freeze

Now that you have located the reservoir, insert the end of your tester into the fluid (you may have to use a straw attached to the bottom of the tester). Then pump up and down until about half of the fluid has been drawn up into the glass chamber on top (Figure 2). Now look at how many “balls” are floating on top of the fluid; this number tells you how well protected your car is against extreme cold temperatures (see Table 1 below). Once done testing, pour any remaining liquid into its original container, then wipe off any residue with paper towel or rag. 


Step 3: Storing The Tester

After testing, take a ziplock bag and store your anti-freeze tester in it until its next use. This will help keep dust and dirt off of it when it’s not in use! And don't forget - always remember that antifreeze is poisonous so make sure none gets on any surfaces outside of its original container!   


Checking your car's antifreeze protection level doesn't have to be difficult or complicated; with these simple steps anyone can do it themselves! With regular testing every few months, you'll know exactly how well protected against extreme cold temperatures your vehicle really is - potentially saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs down the line!


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