Coolant/Antifreeze: Which Type Is Right for Your Car?
The coolant, also known as antifreeze, is very important for it maintains the optimum performance of your car. It keeps the temperature around the engine tolerable for the vehicle to work. There are several types of coolant available in the market, and all of them function basically the same. However, not all types have common components and chemical make-up. Before you buy one, it's better to learn some information about its different types so as to make sure that what you get is the right one for your car.
The ethylene glycol-base antifreeze is the type that is most commonly used among cars. This type is composed of 50% water and 50% ethylene glycol. Aside from these components, this coolant also has anti-corrosion chemicals that inhibit the formation of rust in metal parts of the engine. Since not all cars are made from one kind of metal only, each car has specific antifreeze that can protect the specific metal elements in it. If you're not that fussy about your car's coolant, this is a safe choice since it's used in many car makes and models-the ethylene-glycol coolant solution is actually found in almost all antifreeze products for vehicles.
There are also extended-life coolants, which are organic-acid base type of coolants. They do not have silicates, nitrates, borates, phosphates, and other chemical extenders that can be found in ethylene glycol base coolants. The organic acid technology in extended-life antifreeze helps in making it last for more than five year in your car. They are highly durable and corrosive-resistant. Given the quality chemicals used in its production, this type of coolant is more expensive.
This coolant type is best suited for European cars or vehicles that require this kind of antifreeze. The reason why many European auto manufacturers prefer this type of coolant is that the water in the region is rich in minerals. If you mix mineral-rich water with an ordinary coolant, it can lead to deposit build-up inside the cooling system. However, this coolant has a longer lifetime compared to the regular type.
One more tip
Coolants nowadays come in a variety of colors-red, orange, green, and even blue. When choosing the right one for your ride, don't use the colors as mere basis. Always ask about its chemical composition and if it contains additives that can affect the shelf life of your car's metal parts.
Checking and Changing Your Own Coolant/Antifreeze
When your car stalls in the middle of the road, you check the ignition, or oil levels immediately to know what's going on. When the engine suddenly stops working, there is also a possibility that the problem lies within the engine and the temperature around it. When the temperature is too high, the engine overheats and when it is too low, the car doesn't start. The antifreeze or coolant keeps the engine's temperature to a good working condition to prevent such problems.
Checking the coolant level
A regular maintenance check of your car's coolant levels can help you determine if there is a need for you to change or refill your antifreeze. To check, just follow the steps below.
Difficulty level: Easy
Step 1: Open your hood and find the coolant container. It has markings on it that tells you whether the coolant level is high or low. If the level indicated is a bit low, you need to refill.
Step 2: Remove the radiator cap and take a closer look at the coolant's surface. If you see contaminants like oil and rust, you need to remove the old and pour in new antifreeze.
Step 3: Watch out for signs of coolant problems. If you keep on experiencing engine stalls, high emission levels, and overheating, your coolant reserve must be old that's why it doesn't perform efficiently
Changing the coolant
The signs above tell you to change the coolant in your car. For easy DIY reference, here are the tools and steps that you need in order to change your car's coolant.
Difficulty level: Easy
Step 1: Make sure that the engine is cool before you start.
Step 2: Drain the old coolant mixture from the container. Place the drain pan on the floor beneath the bottom drain valve. Turn the radiator cap slowly to release the coolant.
Step 3: Make sure to flush out the coolant entirely. Clean the coolant by running water through it using a hose. You can use your garden hose to do this.
Step 4: Put back the cap and refill the container with water and the new coolant. It should reach the level of the radiator neck.
Step 5: Start the car and wait for a few minutes. Check regularly if the water level is the same before and after you rev up the engine. If the level stays the same, it means that there is no leak and you're done!