A Rookie’s Guide To Radiator Fluid: Antifreeze Vs. Coolant

A Rookie's Guide To Radiator Fluid: Antifreeze Vs. Coolant

Key Takeaways:

  • Radiator fluid helps transfer heat away from the engine and prevents overheating.
  • Antifreeze has many benefits, including preventing engine freezing and corrosion.
  • Coolant prevents your radiator from overheating.
  • Antifreeze and coolant also help lubricate the water pump so it can continue to move the coolant efficiently.
  • Radiator fluid is typically ethylene glycol-based and needs to be replaced every two years or 30,000 miles or two years.
  • Auffenburg Hyundai of Cape Girardeau offers quality car repair and maintenance services to customers in Chaffee, MO, and the surrounding areas.

When it comes to car maintenance, the radiator fluid is one of the most important things to know about. It keeps your engine cool, and it also helps to prevent freezing in cold weather. There are two broad types of radiator fluids. Antifreeze is developed to lower the freezing point of water, while coolant helps to regulate the engine temperature. Auffenburg Hyundai of Cape Girardeau will discuss the differences between antifreeze and coolant and how to choose the right type of radiator fluid for your car.

Radiator Fluid

When choosing a radiator fluid, it is essential to consider the climate in which you will be driving your car. If you experience cold winters in our area, you will need to use a radiator fluid that has a lower freezing point. Conversely, if you live in an area with hot summers, you will need to use a radiator fluid with a higher boiling point.

Radiator fluid is available at most car dealerships and auto parts stores. Following the packaging instructions is essential when adding radiator fluid to your car. Overfilling the radiator can cause damage to the engine, so it is crucial to add the liquid slowly and carefully.

If you are unsure which fluid type is best for your car, consult a local car dealership or auto parts store professional. They will be able to help you choose the right product for your vehicle and climate.

Antifreeze vs. Coolant

Antifreeze is a chemical that lowers the freezing point of water. Antifreeze is used in car radiators to help prevent the engine from freezing in cold weather. Antifreeze is available in liquid and gel form, typically green or yellow in color. Coolant, on the other hand, is a mixture of water and antifreeze that helps to regulate the engine temperature. Coolant is usually red or blue in color.

Benefits of Antifreeze Coolant

There are many benefits to using antifreeze and coolant in your vehicle. In addition to preventing your engine from overheating or freezing, they also help to protect the machine parts against corrosion. They can extend the life of your vehicle by keeping it clean and free of rust and other corrosive materials. They also help lubricate the water pump so it can continue to move the coolant efficiently. The water pump circulates the fluid throughout the engine. The coolant helps to keep the engine at a consistent temperature by absorbing heat and transferring it away from the engine.

Types of Coolant

It’s essential to use a compatible type of fluid in your car. Different car engines require different types of radiator fluids. Be sure to consult your car’s owner manual or a car dealership before adding any liquids to your vehicle.

Most modern cars use an “all-in-one” radiator fluid, a mixture of water and antifreeze. This type of fluid is usually green, pink, or blue in color. You can find all-in-one radiator fluids at most auto parts stores. Here are the basic types of coolant:

1. Ethylene Glycol

Ethylene glycol is a toxic chemical used as an antifreeze in cars and airplane cooling systems. It keeps the water from freezing in cold weather conditions. It also raises the water’s boiling point, so it doesn’t overheat as quickly. It makes the coolant an ideal solution for keeping your engine at a consistent temperature, no matter the outside temperature.

2. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a thick liquid that comes from plants. It has many different uses, but one of its most common applications involves being used as an ingredient in the coolant. It has a sweet smell.

Why Can’t I Mix Propylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol?

Never mix ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. They don’t mix well and are poisonous if ingested. They are quite different in terms of fluidity, toxicity, and heat transfer properties. When mixed, ethylene glycol and propylene glycol produce a hazardous by-product that must be emptied, cleaned out thoroughly, and refilled with suitable glycol fluid.

Changing Your Radiator Fluid

As summer ends, now is an excellent time to think about changing your antifreeze and coolant. They help to keep your engine running at an optimal temperature, even in cold weather conditions. It is also essential to change your radiator fluid regularly to prevent corrosion and extend the life of your engine.

Most car manufacturers recommend changing the radiator fluid every 30,000 miles or every two years. However, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, you may need to change it more frequently. You can check your car’s owner’s manual for specific recommendations to determine when to change your radiator fluid.

If you find that your car’s engine is running hot or the temperature gauge on your dash is reading higher than usual, it could be a sign that you need to add more radiator fluid. Other symptoms that you might need to add radiator fluid include:

  • A sudden drop in coolant levels.
  • Leaks in the radiator or hoses.
  • Discolored (rusty) radiator fluid.

If you need to add more radiator fluid, use the same type of fluid already in your car. Mixing different kinds of radiator fluid can cause engine damage.

Also, please read our article on the signs of a failing radiator to prevent engine overheating.

How to Test Antifreeze Coolant Level and Strength? 

A refractometer or hydrometer test kit can measure the freezing point, boiling point, and concentration of antifreeze in the coolant. This information lets you know if your car’s cooling system is working correctly.

Need Car Maintenance and Repair Services in Chaffee, MO? No Problem!

Auffenburg Hyundai of Cape Girardeau, serving Chaffee, MO, is committed to providing our customers with the best possible service. From car sales and financing to service and parts, we’ve got you covered. Our team is dedicated to making sure your experience at our car dealership is nothing short of exceptional. Schedule a service today or browse our inventory online. We know you’ll find the perfect car for your needs.

Thanks for choosing Auffenburg Hyundai of Cape Girardeau!

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