Antifreeze Coolant – What Are The Basics You Need To Know

Antifreeze Coolant - What Are The Basics You Really Need To Know
Antifreeze Coolant - What Are The Basics You Really Need To Know

Antifreeze Coolant, is a mixture of antifreeze agents and water; which goes into your vehicle’s cooling system, to regulate the temperature.

The main purpose of antifreeze coolant in your engine is to remove heat.

So, antifreeze coolant, is one of the more overlooked fluids in your engine.

Antifreeze coolant, should be used in a 50/50 mixture with mineral free water.

What Does Antifreeze Coolant Do:

  • As the name suggests; antifreeze coolant is necessary to, reduce the freezing point of your cooling system.
  • While, it will raise the temperature, at which the system will boil.
  • The antifreeze in your engine, is also a lubricant for the water pump.
  • Antifreeze contains different chemicals, to maintain the pH levels; and to keep the various materials from corroding.

Therefore, without antifreeze coolant; the heat produced through constant internal combustion, would destroy the engine very quickly.

Consequently, water alone, is not entirely adequate to keep the system cool.

In time, the water in the system would evaporate. Likewise, in very cold weather; the water would freeze when the car sat idle.

Antifreeze Coolant
Antifreeze Coolant

So, for these reasons, the mix of antifreeze, is vital to the proper working of the coolant system. Antifreeze coolant, can become more acidic over time; and lose its rust inhibiting properties, causing corrosion.

Corrosion Can Damage The:

Antifreeze coolant, does not last the life of your vehicle.

Signs You Need To Replace Your Antifreeze Coolant
Signs You Need To Replace Your Antifreeze Coolant

Signs You Need To Replace Your Antifreeze Coolant:

Coolant Light Comes On

  • If this light comes on while you are driving; it is telling you that your engine is too hot. This may be a low coolant condition. This could be a coolant leak; most likely the result of a broken or cracked hose.

Temperature Gauge, Higher or Lower Than Normal

  • When your cooling system is operating properly; the needle of the temperature gauge, will be in the “normal” range. But, if the needle begins to creep upward or downward; it is indicating a fault in the vehicle’s cooling system. This can be anything from, leaves blocking the radiator; to a cooling fan that is not working.

Heater Isn’t Working

  • In addition, your vehicle’s heater runs off of the same coolant in your engine. So, if the engine is leaking coolant or if there is a blockage; your heater performance will be affected.

Coolant Leak

  • Coolant loss can be either external or internal. Seeing a green, pink, or orange puddle on your driveway indicates leaking antifreeze coolant. Antifreeze, has a bright color, sticky feel, sweet smell and taste. It is toxic to humans and pets if swallowed. So, make sure you clean up any puddles of coolant; that you see to protect yourself and your pets. Loss of coolant where no puddle is seen, is often due to internal engine gasket failure.

Poor Gas Mileage

  • Your vehicle’s engine runs most efficiently within a set range. Consequently, this range allows fuel to burn more efficiently; providing more engine power and lower fuel consumption. So, if the engine temperature drops below range; fuel does not vaporize properly, negatively affecting your fuel economy.

Sweet Smell

  • Sweet-smelling (but toxic) ethylene glycol is leaking from somewhere. It could be coming from a radiator or heater hose; a failed intake manifold gasket or cylinder head. It might be coming from, a leaky radiator cap or the radiator itself; especially if you smell it outside the car. A strong odor inside the passenger compartment; probably means a bad heater core. If you detect a film on the inside of the windshield, your vehicle’s cooling system could be leaking.

Electrolysis Corrosion

This is usually the result of, not changing your coolant often enough. Over time the corrosion inhibitors in every type of coolant wear out. Sooner or later your cooling system will start to leak.

Corrosion In Cooling System
Corrosion In Cooling System

Corrosion Causes Damage To The:

  • The radiator
  • Water pump
  • Thermostat
  • Radiator cap
  • Hoses
  • Vehicle heater system

Testing Your Antifreeze Coolant

One of the best ways to check the condition of the antifreeze, is to use chemical test strips. The test strips change color, to reveal both the condition and strength of the antifreeze.

Coolant Test Strips
Coolant Test Strips

The test strips react to the level of alkalinity or acidity in the antifreeze. If the anti-corrosion additives are depleted; the antifreeze is overdue for a change regardless of time or mileage.

Antifreeze Coolant, Flushing Benefits Are:

  • Removes Rust and Scale Deposit – Over time rust and scale deposits, build up within the radiator. A flush helps to remove these deposits with the old antifreeze. This is important, since these build ups can cause overheating or even damage your radiator.
  • Lubricate the Water Pump – The additives in the antifreeze coolant lubricate the water pump. This will lengthen the life of the water pump.
  • Removes Contaminants –  A flush completely drains the system of the old antifreeze. This means that any contaminants that have made their way into the system, will be flushed out. The additives in the coolant, can lose important anti-corrosive properties; which leads to the build up of particles. A radiator flush will remove these particles from the system.
  • Protect Against Rust and Foam– The new antifreeze will have additives, that help prevent rust and build up. It will also prevent foaming in the system, which helps it operate efficiently.

CAUTION: Hot antifreeze is hazardous and can cause severe burns. Do not remove the radiator cap, from a hot engine.


So, just as oil is an essential fluid for your engine; and you know it’s important to check the level and keep it topped up; coolant is also crucial, to the health of your engine. As a result, without coolant antifreeze, your engine will suffer extreme damage; even when the temperature outside is moderate.

While oil provides vital lubrication to moving parts to prevent wear; it can only do this if, the engine is maintained at its optimum operating temperature. Finally, antifreeze coolant, helps to cool the engine and without it the engine will overheat; leading to severe damage.

Thank You !