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Greg in KY
11-03-2010, 04:37 PM
I was checking everything for the winter.

I use one of the little antifreeze testers with the floating balls.

Probably cost $1.50 and is 20 years old.

Then I got to wonderin'?

Are these accurate enough?
Do they ever wear out?
If they do fail do the balls float or sink?

Thanks, Greg

willie59
11-03-2010, 08:56 PM
Well, I really know know the facts about those things. I do know they're not as accurate as a refractometer, which are much more expensive. But to err on the side of reliablity, I don't like to use one for too many years without replacing it. I'm like you, I don't know if the coolants tested over the years has an affect on the balls or disks from emulsified oil in coolant or minerals. I do prefer a good quality hydrometer, not the little bitty ones with the bb size balls, one little air bubble hanging onto one or the balls can affect reading. I use a good size one, but I avoid the glass ones, they're just too darn easy to break. :)

koldsteele
11-04-2010, 09:01 AM
I worked for a man 25 years ago who believed in buying a new Hydrometer every year ...His point the new tester is cheaper than the cost of wondering how accurate the one was thathad been laying in a toolbox for a year..I buy new every year ...peace of mind I guess .

alrman
11-05-2010, 08:46 PM
I worked for a man 25 years ago who believed in buying a new Hydrometer every year ...His point the new tester is cheaper than the cost of wondering how accurate the one was thathad been laying in a toolbox for a year..I buy new every year ...peace of mind I guess .

Have you ever compared an old one with a new one? - a kind of calibration test

koldsteele
11-12-2010, 12:10 PM
Have you ever compared an old one with a new one? - a kind of calibration test

Good ? ...I was too late this year just pitched last years in the dumpster .

Drifter
11-22-2010, 10:48 PM
Use test strips to back up the hydrometer reading.

Randy88
12-14-2010, 07:33 AM
A good refractometer is the only way to go for testing antifreeze, buy one and it'll last a lifetime and is the most accurate way to check antifreeze ever invented, no more guessing on the tester or if its good or not, I used to use the ball style and after hearing the court case where the persons engine froze up it ended in court and the guy won, his new ball tester floated most of the balls from an ordinary glass of water and he won the case. After that I used about five different ball style on the same samples and none were the same and threw most of them away, used a refractometer ever since. I still have a large disc one in the service truck to do spot checks on stuff in the field to give some idea as how much straight antifreeze to add to machines, in case someone put straight water in instead of mixed at some time during the summer, but only when we have to and have a hose or something break and my refractometer is at home, but we still use it before winter to double check to make sure they are safe.

RobVG
12-14-2010, 01:11 PM
Havent' used the ball type since high shcool. I've always used the Prestone tester. Recently I mixed up a 50/50 mix and it tested -35 on the nose. You do have to flick bubbles off if you fill it too quickly.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WFNVRG8DL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I check nitrite levels with a test strip. There is a difference between the antifreeze tester and the stips when checking glycol. After testing the tester I trust it more. Test stips become inacurate over time. Have to be kept tightly sealed.

If I had the money, I'd give that refractometer a try.