If you own a car or truck, you may have at least heard of antifreeze and coolant, even if you do not perform extensive vehicle maintenance yourself. It sounds like they play a very similar role in a vehicle’s engine. So what is the difference?
In essence, coolant and antifreeze are the same. People can use them interchangeably. The technical answer is as follows: coolant = antifreeze + water.
Although most people think they are the same person, antifreeze and engine coolant are significantly different. Although engine coolant is only a liquid substance that enters the radiator through the engine and then returns to the engine, antifreeze is just a mixture of chemicals that is injected into the engine coolant to reduce heat and reduce the possibility of the engine. The coolant freezes in the extremely cold season.
Tips about engine coolant:
Coolant can protect the engine and the metal parts it contacts from corrosion.
Coolant can maintain engine temperature. Your engine should not be too hot (overheating) or too cold (burning more gasoline and the car is not driving smoothly). It must be right, so the thermometer on the dashboard is in the middle.
The coolant is a 50/50 antifreeze/water mixture or a 70/30 antifreeze/water mixture. Guess which is more expensive? 50/50 can work normally, but 70/30 can prevent corrosion.
Coolant is cheap, $10-15 per gallon, but if there is no coolant in the radiator and other parts of the cooling system, it may damage the engine (very expensive). You may need to keep some emergency situations in the car.
Not only will the antifreeze not freeze, but it can also rise to 265 degrees Fahrenheit without boiling.
Coolant is usually green, orange, or pink.
Depending on your vehicle’s age and mileage, it will take about 3-5 years to replace (completely flush out the coolant and inject new coolant). Check your user manual for the suggested content.
What is antifreeze?
Antifreeze is usually used as one of the components of the coolant mixture-the coolant is usually a 50-50 ratio between antifreeze and water. Antifreeze (especially ethylene glycol, which is its main component) is used to lower the freezing point of the liquid circulating around the vehicle engine. This helps prevent the liquid from freezing at low temperatures and helps increase the boiling point of the liquid so that it does not evaporate. The coolant can also maintain the lubrication inside the engine to make it run smoothly.
What color is the antifreeze?
The two common colors of antifreeze can also cause confusion. Why should one be green and the other orange? Orange antifreeze is usually an “extended life” antifreeze. Due to the use of different types of corrosion inhibitors, its service life is longer than that of green antifreeze.
Is the antifreeze coolant?
Is it antifreeze? Well, antifreeze and engine coolant are similar, but not the same. Antifreeze is a concentrated glycol-based liquid that must be diluted with water before use-at this point, antifreeze is called a coolant. Alternatively, you can purchase a pre-mixed engine coolant, ready-to-use antifreeze, and water solution.
Antifreeze is mainly composed of ethylene glycol and is used in the cooling system of automobiles to ensure the normal operation of the engine even in the most extreme sub-zero weather. Glycol can prevent the coolant from freezing in the radiator by reducing the coolant temperature while lubricating the water pump and inhibiting corrosion.
Engine coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water, with a common ratio of 50:50. This is because antifreeze works best as a diluent (making it a coolant) when it resists high temperatures. With the help of the coolant in the automobile cooling system, the engine can be effectively adjusted to the optimal temperature throughout the year.
Antifreeze does not expire, but additives that can prevent engine corrosion do. Therefore, it is recommended that you replace the antifreeze according to the manufacturer’s expiry date guidelines.
In addition, ethylene glycol is toxic to humans and animals, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations and disposal instructions.
What does coolant /antifreeze do?
Whether purchased as a pre-mixed solution (engine coolant) or a concentrate that can be mixed for use at home, antifreeze reduces the freezing temperature and increases the boiling temperature of the liquid circulating around the engine. Combined with water, antifreeze also helps lubricate the internal components of the engine.
Engine coolant is usually 50/50 antifreeze and distilled water. However, some coolants consist of 70/30 antifreeze and water. These are designed to prevent corrosion and are usually more expensive than their 50/50 prices. You can mix antifreeze and distilled water in one of the above two ratios.
Where does antifreeze go?
After mixing with water, just pour the antifreeze into the same place as the engine coolant: the expansion tank or the liquid storage tank. It will then filter around the engine and mix with the coolant to ensure that the liquid does not freeze.
How often should I change the antifreeze/coolant?
The frequency of antifreeze/coolant replacement depends on many factors, depending on the make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as various factors such as weather conditions while driving. But generally, it is best to change the coolant every 30,000 to 50,000 miles or every 5 years.
How to check the coolant level if it leaks?
In most vehicles, checking the level of coolant in the vehicle is very simple. The color of the coolant may be green or orange, but there are other formulas, such as blue, gold, pink, etc. It is good to know what your vehicle is driving so that if a leak occurs, you can identify it.
If you open the car hood and take a look inside, you will notice a plastic overflow bottle connected to the cooling system. It is made of white plastic and is translucent, so you can see the liquid in it. There should also be a brightly colored hat on the top, usually bright orange.
You can see two marks on the side of this bottle. These marks indicate the minimum and maximum fill levels. Your coolant level should be between these two marks. You will be able to see the shadow of the liquid from the side of the bottle, which makes it extremely easy to check it out. You don’t even need to open the bottle itself to check whether you can see the level is at the required level. If everything looks ideal, you can determine that the coolant level is at the proper level in less than two minutes.
However, if you need a more in-depth inspection of the fluid, and you want to make sure that a cold machine is used for this inspection, you can open the lid and look inside. This is only necessary when the liquid level is significantly low or the fluid quality is to be checked. Over time, your coolant may produce some contamination and build-up debris inside. If the color is not correct, it is a rusty brown or clear appearance, or if there is something floating in it, you will need to change it with some new liquid.
If your vehicle is older, there may not be a visible coolant tank. If this is the case, then you will need to remove the cover from the radiator to view the coolant. Again, do this only on cold cars. You never want to check the coolant when the engine is hot, and you never want to add more coolant when the engine is hot. If a cold coolant is added to a warm engine, the engine block may crack due to extreme temperature changes. And, as you said, if you open the radiator on a warm engine, it may burn out due to the escape of steam and liquid.
Various reasons may cause the coolant level to be too low. The most obvious cause is a leak somewhere in the system. The hoses and gaskets may wear and crack or break, causing the coolant to escape. There are many components, including radiators, water pumps, thermostats, overflow tanks, and places where the coolant flows through, which may leak. In addition to all the leaks in these places, there are other reasons for the drop in the coolant level.
How to check the level of antifreeze and identify leaks
If the coolant light is on, the first step should be to check whether the liquid level is too low. First, let your vehicle cool down-if you don’t, high-pressure hot liquid will spray out the vehicle. First place the coolant storage tank under the hood near the front or side of the engine. It is usually transparent, with the line near the bottom marked as “cold” and the line near the top marked as “hot”. Remove the cover and check if the liquid level is below the “cold” line. If so, the mixture is too low.
Insufficient coolant is usually the result of leakage. As the hoses, gaskets, and seals of vehicles age, they tend to leak easily. The leak needs to be discovered and repaired as soon as possible.
Look under the vehicle and check for liquid on the ground under the front end. Shine a flashlight in the area or feel wet-if you find wet in the driveway, open the hood and check the condition of the hose leading to the coolant recovery tank.
Feel for leakage or rust around the bottom of the radiator. Rust may indicate an old spill that has dried. Usually, water evaporates quickly on a hot radiator, so the problem may be newer than you think.
Check the pressure cap. If you find that the vehicle is prone to overheating, ask a mechanic to pressure test the bottle cap to see if it is working properly.
It is best to check all hoses under the hood regularly, regardless of whether the coolant is insufficient. Remember, only do this when the car is cold. If the hose is found to be soft to the touch, clumped, cracked, or otherwise damaged, it needs to be replaced. If the hose found collapses but springs back when the pressure cap is removed, there may be a problem with the cap or the coolant recovery system rather than the hose.
If the visual inspection does not find a leak, but the coolant light is still on, send the vehicle to a mechanic for inspection-this means there is a problem with the sensor light or some part of the coolant system. Either way, don’t let the problem persist.