Diagnosing an overheating cooling system can be tricky at times. Sure, sometimes leaks are obvious and you instantly know what needs to be replaced. Other times, though, the answer isn’t so obvious. This is when you need to have a cooling system test kit.
With a cooling system tester, you can diagnose problems that don’t make themselves readily apparent by leaking coolant onto the floor beneath your car, like a cylinder head gasket that is leaking internally, or worse, a damaged block or cylinder head.
Of course, you’ll also be able to find problems like small leaks at water pumps and hose clamps. When radiators leak, the coolant can often be blown away from the source by wind, making finding the leak very difficult. Similarly, engine heat can evaporate the coolant coming from small leaks without leaving much of a trace which can also make the origin of a leak difficult to detect. With a cooling system test kit, you won’t have a problem finding even the smallest of leaks.
The Best Cooling System Pressure Tester
We are big fans of test kits that come with all the attachments or fittings you might need to actually use the tool when you need it. There is nothing worse than having the right tool for the job, but not having the right attachment to be able to use it. For tools that use pressure to diagnose problems, you need to have air (or liquid) tight connections to ensure accuracy, and when a tool doesn’t come with these accessories, it becomes much less useful.
Our pick for the best cooling system pressure tester is the Mityvac MV4560 Radiator/Cooling System Pressure Test Kit. We have used Mityvac tools for years and we think this one is the best one yet.
The Mityvac cooling system kit comes with adaptors to fit most US, Asian and European car cooling systems. The adaptors fit like OEM equipment too. Every adaptor we tested locked in place just like the cap it was replacing. The seal was tight and we did not experience a single loss in pressure at the adaptors or fittings. The Mityvac kit also includes two adaptors for testing radiator and overflow caps to make sure they are able to hold the correct amount of pressure.
The Mityvac pressure hand pump works great, just like the hand held vacuum pumps and brake bleeding kits they manufacture. The pressure gauge is mounted directly to the pump, allowing you to carefully and precisely pressurize your cooling system, without worrying about over-pressurizing. The long, ergonomic handle/lever on the Mityvac is comfortable to use and builds pressure quickly. Because of the shape of the lever, we didn’t feel any hand cramping or soreness.
Durability has never been a concern of ours with any Mityvac product we have used. The PVC plastic used for the hand pump is lightweight and strong. The thick seals in the cap adaptors are robust and won’t break down over time. The flexible tubing is the same high quality clear tubing that is used in Mityvac’s brake bleeder and vacuum pump kits.
If we had to list a downside to this cooling system kit, it would be the same complaint we have with Mityvac’s other handheld pump products-there is no case to keep all the pieces of the kit together. While we understand this helps to keep the cost low, it would be nice to be able to keep the pump and adaptors organized in one place, whether in the tool box or in the trunk of the car.
Despite its lack of case, we highly recommend the Mityvac MV4560 cooling system tester. The quality of the pump is top-notch. The adaptors amazed us with their quality and fit. It is clear that this kit will last for years of use in any car mechanic’s garage.
When it comes to where to buy, Amazon’s seems to have one of the best prices around for the Mityvac MV4560 kit. Overall, the Mityvac is one of the best cooling system pressure testers around and we think you will be highly satisfied much like we are. Happy wrenching!