How to Gauge How Much Water to Mix With Radiator Fluid

Radiator Fluid being poured
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 14-5-20
What You'll Need
Disposable bucket

Many people will use a premixed radiator fluid in their vehicles. But if you are in a pinch, or just prefer to save the extra money a premixed solution costs, you can mix your own antifreeze. You need to have the right amount of fluid to water in order for the mixture to be functional. Here's what you should know.

Step 1 - Choose a Coolant

There are many different brands of coolants available on the market today. There won't be a lot of difference between the brands. Coolants are always made of the same materials so there is no guesswork regarding which type should be used for your vehicle. The biggest difference will be in whether the coolant is premixed or not. Coolants that you have to mix yourself will usually be a few dollars cheaper than the premixed varieties. If you choose a premixed version, you won't have to deal with the mess and hassle of mixing it at home.

Step 2 - Mix Coolant

Mixing radiator coolant is relatively easy and won't take much time. It's best to do this in a bucket that you don't mind tossing out, especially if you have pets or small children roaming around. Some types of coolants will come in a jug that you can add the water to directly.

It may be a good idea to use gloves when you do this. This will keep the coolant off your hands if that is a concern. The mix should always be a 50/50 mix. If you are using a bucket, you will simply want to pour the contents of the coolant in to the bucket, then refill the coolant jug with water. Pour the water in to the bucket slowly to avoid splashing.

If the jug of coolant is designed to just add water, you will need to find the fill line and add water to that point.

Step 3 - Add Coolant

Newer cars will have an overflow tank next to the radiator. The overflow tank will have markings to show you if the levels are low. You will simply add the coolant to the tank when the car is cool.

An older car may require you to add the radiator fluid directly to the radiator.

Step 4 - Store or Discard Excess Coolant

Once the tank has been topped off, you can choose to store the mixture for a later use. If you are using a bucket, you will probably want to dispose of the excess coolant, unless you have an airtight container to store it in. Be sure to clean up the area you were working in. Hose down the ground to be sure pets can't lick the coolant off the ground. Keep the excess mixture stored in an area where children or pets can't get to it.