Testing – 1, 2, 3: How Do You Test Your Coolant and Antifreeze?

Authored by: Allan Zieser, STLE, CLS

Modern extended life coolants such as Chevron Delo ELC, XLC, and ELC Advanced provide the most protection for your dollar of any coolant on the market. However, you do need to test for the concentration of the coolant and water mixture.

The only accurate way to test for this concentration (and freeze point) is to use a refractometer. The old-style floating ball testers will not work properly with modern OAT, NOAT, and HOAT formulations.

Generally, there are two types of refractometers that you should use with your modern coolant mixtures. These are the look-through analog type of refractometer and the newer digital refractometer. Either will work for your application, but the digital refractometers tend to be more accurate and easier to use than a traditional look-through type of refractometer. Plus, digital refractometers remove the interpretation of the operator as a source of errors.

The operation of either type of these refractometers is straightforward. However, you do need to calibrate the look-through types with the included screwdriver and distilled water prior to using the device. Digital refractometers should be cleaned with distilled water between uses to ensure that any traces of prior coolants are removed prior to operation. Instructions should be included with the refractometer when you purchase it.

One note is that the antifreeze/coolant needs to be mixed with distilled water prior to testing or you will get an incorrect reading on your meter.

Need a new refractometer for your company or want to find out more details on their operation? Our Ottsen Experts are here to help you with the testing and products you need to keep your equipment well-maintained. Give us a call!