Antifreeze plays a very important role in keeping your cooling system functioning efficiently.
The main purpose of antifreeze is to prevent water from freezing; while raising its boiling point to prevent overheating.
Antifreeze is not used by itself; but by adding the correct amount of good water; we now have engine coolant. This is what we actually put in our cooling system.
So; engine coolant is just another name for properly mixed antifreeze and water. This new mixture adds further protection to your engine as well;
- Protecting your engine from corrosion
- Aiding in heat transfer
- Lubricating the water pump
- Preventing scale build up
Even more; it is very important to have the correct antifreeze in the right concentration.
Cooling system problems are now responsible for about 60% of engine failures. The colour of antifreeze can be green; orange; red or even blue. So; Most of the time coolant should look a vivid green and it should feel slippery; like oil. If it feels gritty to the touch; then you should get the cooling system flushed and replace the antifreeze.
What Does Antifreeze Do;
- Prevention Corrosion
- Excellent heat transfer
- Protection from freezing
- Prevention of scale build up
- Compatibility with hard water
- Stability at high temperatures
- Compatibility with plastics and other materials used in cooling systems
- Controls foaming
Engine designs have changed to improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions. These demands have made engine operating conditions even more severe.
By The Best And Forget The Rest
Even when the warranty is over it is still best to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. However; the antifreeze used should at least meet minimum specifications. There are many older vehicles which still use traditional antifreeze. But; they still need to meet factory specifications. As a result; these coolants are cheaper than the longer life technologies and; do not achieve the same corrosion protection.
Water Quality Matters
There is still one factor that can reduce the effectiveness of antifreeze and that is the quality of the water. As a result; high levels of calcium and magnesium in tap water; can lead to deposits and scale build up. Consequently; it is advisable to use distilled water in the cooling system rather than tap water.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between coolant and antifreeze?
Antifreeze is a concentrated product and has to be diluted. The diluted liquid is usually called engine coolant.
How do I find out what type of coolant should be in my car?
The best way is to ask your dealer or check your owner manual.
How do I find out what type of coolant is in my car?
The colour of the coolant does not prove type or quality of the product. Therefore; the best course of action is to drain and flush the system.
Which types of coolant can form sludge when mixed?
Good quality coolants should not form sludge. In contrast; poorer quality coolants and/or the use of excessively hard water can form sludge.
I want to replace /top-up the coolant; what should I use?
For replacing or topping-up; you should use the product recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This should be one that meets the specification indicated by the vehicle manufacturer. Also; It is important to ensure that this is diluted to the correct mix with good quality water.
The antifreeze I use is too expensive; can I use something cheaper?
For most people a car is a significant investment. So; purchasing a good quality antifreeze will help to protect your investment.
Finally; you’ll need to have the cooling system flushed and replaced from time to time. And because of its importance; it’s vital you keep a regular check on the condition of the coolant.
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