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How to Test Your Coolant for Winter? Try These Hacks!

how to test your coolant for winter

To prevent any major damages in your vehicle during the winter season, you need to learn “how to test your coolant for winter?” To do so, follow these simple steps:

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  1. Prepare necessary tools
  2. Get a coolant sample
  3. Test the coolant level
  4. Top off the coolant if needed

Your vehicle's coolant is responsible for maintaining your engine's optimum temperature. The engine temperature must not exceed a maximum threshold. Otherwise, it will deal with engine overheating that could lead to significant expensive repairs.

As weather changes and as winter approaches, you must perform a thorough inspection of your cooling system and confirm that there are no problems with the coolant. Although many customers think that overheating problems only occur in summer, overheating can be a significant deal during the winter season.

This article walks through some simple hacks to help you answer the question “how to test your coolant for winter?” By following these hacks, you should enjoy your winter without any overheating problems related to the cooling system!

How to test your coolant for winter?

Maintaining healthy coolant in your vehicle helps you enjoy the winter without any significant damages to the engine and allows you to enjoy a nice heating system coming out of your cabin.

Even if you live in areas that don't experience extremely low temperatures, you still need to maintain a good cooling system. The following hacks help you as well to prevent dealing with engine overheating problems.

Before we dive into the details about “how to test your coolant for winter,” It is critical that you understand what coolant is made up with. Coolant is primarily made up of water and antifreeze in the same quantities. However, in some instances, certain types of coolants might involve additional additives that help enhance the engine's performance and extend the lifetime of your vehicle.

Therefore, the purpose of coolant is to help water from not boiling when temperatures are extremely high and prevent freezing when temperatures drop below zero. Furthermore, one of the main roles of the coolant in your cooling system is to prevent corrosion that might lead to significant damages requiring higher pairs.

Now you have a good understanding of the purpose of the cold air system, and the importance of checking the coolant before severe and extreme weather temperatures are expected in the winter season. Let's take a closer look at what you need to do with the test your coolant for winter:

1.    Prepare necessary tools

The nice thing about these hacks is that you don't must purchase any expensive tools because they are affordable, and they'll be useful for the next time you check the colon in your colon system. To do so, you'll need to prepare an antifreeze hydrometer or tester, which you can find in any auto store at an affordable price. This tester is available for only $5, if not less.

Also, you need to purchase a specific final to fill the coolant. There are plenty of available funnels in the auto market, but it is recommended that you purchase a spill-free funnel for the cooling system. This way, you ensure that the coolant stays within the funnel, doesn't splash these surroundings, and causes the paint to chop off, resulting in corrosion.

Finally, you'll purchase a specific type of antifreeze that serves your needs. Again, there are available, and I freeze top types in the markets. For example, you can go with the universal one that is suitable for all seasons. Still, you might want to consider investing in specific antifreeze designed for winter that withstands the extremely low temperatures and might have certain additives to enhance the vehicle's performance.

It is always recommended that you follow with specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual to recommend better what type of fluid you use in your vehicle to achieve the best results. You can go with a higher quality fluid but never want to purchase a lower quality fluid that might result in some issues.

It is critical to understand that some premixed coolants are available in the market, which means you must not mix them with water. However, if you went with the antifreeze only, you'll need to buy specific distilled water. Never use the normal water to create the coolant mixture because it has some minerals that might impact your vehicle's performance and cause damage to your cooling system.

2.    Get a coolant sample

The first step in testing the coolant is to get access to the cooling system hand that sucks out a coolant sample. It is critical to note that the coin system can be extremely pressurized and heart, which leads to significant injuries that might impact your safety. Therefore, before touching the cooling system, you must allow your vehicle to cool down for at least between 15 and 30 minutes.


After letting your vehicle cool down for 15 to 30 minutes, you still want to touch the cap first before opening it to confirm that it's not extremely hot. Otherwise, you might need to wait a little bit more until it's completely cooled down.

Once you're ready, use the coolant tester and suck up enough coolant until you see it reaching the fill level marked on the tester. Then, you can remove the tester from the reservoir and look at your sample. Before you read the tester, you must tap on it, allow the coolant to sit freely, and then look at the arrow pointing.

The tester should tell you the freezing temperature and the boiling temperature for your coolant. Under ideal situations, the freezing temperature should be about negative 32 Fahrenheits, which indicates that you have a 50 to 50 ratio of antifreeze and water.

3.    Test the coolant level

Once you confirm that the temperatures of your clients are at the right range, the next step is to test the coolant level. The good thing is that the cooler's war is transparent between that you can see the fluid level and compare it to the maximum and minimum marks on the reservoir itself. You want to make sure that the client is not below the minimum and also, it's not above the maximum.

4.    Top off the coolant if needed

If you realize that the coolant level is below the minimum points, you need to top it off until you reach somewhere between the minimum and maximum. Sometimes being above the maximum slightly might not cause issues, but if it is way beyond the maximum mark, you might need to take some of the corn out to allow room for expansion.

How do I know if my coolant is freezing?

Coolant freezing is one of the worst issues you might deal with in winter because it leads to significant engine damages that might cost you a lot of money. One of the easiest ways to confirm whether your coolant is freezing already or not is by performing the freezing test, which we highlighted in detail before.

All that you must do is to grab a sample of coolant and look at the anti-freeze hydrometer reading to confirm where the arrow is pointing on the blue scale. If the freezing temperature is not close to negative 34 or 32 Fahrenheit, your colon is expected to freeze at warmer temperatures that should be clear on the Hydrometer reading.

If you realize that the coolant temperature is not as expected, you might want to either flush the coolant because it might get to a point where it's contaminated, or you probably won't want to check the amount of antifreeze in the cooling system because it is the one that helps your coolant not to freeze at warmer temperatures.

Your mechanic should give you detailed advice about what needs to be done next and whether to flush the coolant entirely or add additional amounts of antifreeze to make it work.

Do I need to change the coolant for winter?

There is a common misconception that the cooling system might not be necessary or should not be looked at during the winter. However, that's not the case. Your cooling system needs to be serviced all the time no matter what season you are in because it is needed whenever your engine reaches a high temperature beyond the maximum operating level.

Your engine's temperature will increase, and it will get beyond the maximum operating temperature regardless of the outside temperature. This is because the combustion process generates a massive amount of heat that easily increases the engine temperature.

Therefore, you must perform coolant change if needed during the winter season. It is also important to note that there are other things to consider regarding the cooling system in winter, which includes the water pump, hoses, there was set, heater core, radiator, etc. All these elements might get frozen during the winter season, which means that your mechanic needs to take a closer look there to confirm their anchor condition over time. And figure finally, having a perfectly working cooling system is extremely critical to maintaining the heating system.

If you didn't already know, the heating system is connected somehow to the cooling system. So if the growing system is not working properly, you can't get heat out of the cabin, and you'll deal with some uncomfortable situations that might be a little bit risky if you were driving in severely cold weather.

What level should the coolant be at when cold?

Typically, if your coolant is at the optimum level, you should see the fluid level between the minimum and maximum marks on the reservoir. If that's not the case, you'll need to top it off if the colon is below the minimum or suck out a little bit of the coolant if it's exceeding the maximum mark by a decent amount.

How accurate are antifreeze testers?

Antifreeze testers are cheap products that you can buy for about $5. Therefore, unsurprisingly, these dusters are not 100% accurate, but they are a good estimate of the condition of your cooling system.

If you want to know how accurate this tester is, you can test it on normal water and look at the freezing temperature. The freezing temperature should be about negative 32 Fahrenheit, and if the tester is reading the accurate number, you can trust it.

It is important to note that these sisters are just rough estimates to help you understand how your cooling system is performing. You are recommended to perform additional investigations if you feel that the cooling system is not performing well.


In vehicles, coolant is one of the most critical fluids that you need to maintain at the right level and condition all the time. This coolant is responsible for preventing engine overheating, preventing corrosion, and enhancing your vehicle's performance.

This article walked you through how to test your coolant for winter and showed you how to perform the coolant temperature test and how to test the coolant level and top it off if needed. It is important to note that no matter how much effort you put towards testing the coolants if your vehicle has major mechanical problems, the coolant might not be the right solution with singer time checking.

Instead, you should evaluate potential repair costs and check whether it's worth these repairs or not. In other words, if you realize that repair costs are approaching 75% or more from your vehicle's value, it might be worth selling your car and using its money to buy a better vehicle.

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