One of the more useful things you can learn around the car is how to mix antifreeze concentrate.
This is will come in handy either for adding some coolant or when flushing the whole system and replacing the coolant.
In this article, you can see how to mix antifreeze concentrate but also find answers to the most common questions regarding this topic.
If you’re not in the mood for reading, you have a video tutorial at the end of this article which you can also watch on our YouTube channel.
WHAT WILL YOU NEED TO MAKE THE MIXTURE?
For this, you won’t need anything special, most of these things you probably already have around the household.
- Clean bottle or water bowl
You can use a plastic bottle, preferably with a wide bottleneck to avoid spilling. Bottles are better if you just want to add some coolant. Also, this way you can keep the rest of the coolant for later usage.
If you’re going to flush the whole system, best use a clean water bowl or bucket. Use one with a big enough capacity to make the whole batch at once and one that you can stir in without spilling.
- Measuring cup
A plastic measuring cup (like the one used in the kitchen) will do just fine.
- Distilled water
The amount of distilled water you’ll need depends on the mixture ratio. It’s usually 1:1 but best see how much you need before you start.
So, if it’s 1:1 then an equal amount of water and antifreeze is needed.
It’s good to know that antifreeze is considered the concentrated liquid while coolant is considered the diluted one.
In this case, the antifreeze is in a 1-liter bottle. You may have bought a bigger package but the basic principle is the same as you’ll see later in the article.
Additional accessories are a funnel for easier pouring with less spilling. Also, if you happen to have a coolant tester, it will come in handy which you will also see later.
HOW TO MIX ANTIFREEZE CONCENTRATE WITH WATER?
Before you start, make sure that the engine has cooled down if the car has been driven. But the best time to do this is when the engine is stone cold.
Once more, pay attention to the mixture ratio. In this example, it’s 1:1, so 1 liter of water is added to 1 liter of antifreeze.
Best take a look at the antifreeze packaging, there should be a ratio specification and perhaps a recommendation for the mixture.
1. POUR THE ANTIFREEZE AND ADD THE WATER
First, pour the antifreeze into the bottle, bucket, or else and then add the water.
To be honest, you can do it the other way around, it won’t make much difference but this way the mixing should supposedly be a bit better.
In this part I must mention a very important tip: don’t add antifreeze concentrate directly into the system (without diluting it).
This is a popular shortcut because the mixing part is avoided. The idea is that the coolant system, through circulation, will mix it on its own.
Know that this can easily lead to damaging the water pump or seals in the system. Remember that the proper thing to do is to first mix the antifreeze and then add it to the system.
Especially do this if you’re going to flush the whole coolant system. First, mix the complete batch and then pour.
2. SHAKE OR STIR UP THE COOLANT
If you have a bottle, shake it up for a minute or two before pouring.
If you’re using a water bowl or bucker, use a stick to stir the mixture up.
This way the whole batch will be even, which is important especially if you’re replacing all of the coolant.
Before pouring it into the system, you can use the coolant tester and test the whole batch for its freezing resistance.
Make sure the temperature value is within the boundaries. For instance, the coolant must not be too diluted with water as it may freeze during the winter and damage the system.
In this case, it’s nearly -35 degrees celsius which is more than enough.
3. POUR THE COOLANT INTO THE SYSTEM
Open the coolant bottle on the car and pour the coolant.
Make sure that the level is between minimum and maximum. A higher or lower coolant level may cause overheating.
If you’ve flushed all the coolant, make sure to vent the system and get rid of all the air inside.
Make sure to properly tighten the cap when closing the coolant bottle on the car. Best re-check the coolant level after a couple of days, especially if you’ve flushed the whole system.
We’ve made a video on how to add coolant and make other checkups, click here if you want to read it.
CAN YOU MIX ANTIFREEZE BRANDS?
In terms of manufacturers (if you have the same type of coolant but from a different manufacturer) you can mix them, to some extent.
But before you do, make sure that the specifications and formula are the same or very similar. Otherwise best avoid it.
CAN YOU MIX ANTIFREEZE COLORS?
If the color of the antifreeze is different than the one you have in your engine, don’t mix it.
Different colors may mean different formulas which may not react well to each other. It can cause a sludge-like substance to form inside the coolant system, resulting in clogs and consequently overheating.
But the best way to be sure you won’t cause any problems is to either buy the same coolant you have in your car already or one from a different manufacturer but with the exact same specifications.
CAN YOU MIX ANTIFREEZE AND WATER?
When asking how to mix antifreeze concentrate, this is one of the most common questions.
Can you mix normal tap water with antifreeze?
Sometimes you won’t have distilled water at hand (like on the road) and the obvious solution is to use tap water.
It’s OK in cases of emergency and for adding a small amount of coolant.
But mixing the whole batch with tap water (like when flushing the whole system) is not recommended at all. Tap water can cause a scale build-up within the system and possible future clogs.
To be clear on this part and from personal experience, It won’t cause any immediate damage, but in the long run, it can.
So, as you’ve seen, learning how to mix antifreeze concentrate is a simple job that takes only minutes of your time.
The other option for replacing or adding coolant is to buy coolant directly, not antifreeze. A good option if you don’t have the means to make the mixture.
Just open the container and pour the coolant directly into the system.
For the end, make sure to check the coolant from time to time and replace it within the proper maintenance interval.
Besides engine oil, this is the most important fluid in the engine.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO MIX ANTIFREEZE CONCENTRATE-YOUTUBE VIDEO