Keeping It Cool: All About Antifreeze

Winter is approaching and you make that all important decision to check the antifreeze mixture in your vehicle. If you are car smart, you can purchase a coolant mixture tester at the auto parts store and check it yourself. The mixture in your vehicle should be close to a 50 percent mixture, according to the climate you live in and the driving conditions. The cooling and heating of your vehicle is of utmost importance in order to keep it in good mechanical condition. Read on to find out more about antifreeze and what it does for your car.

Description of Antifreeze

Antifreeze is defined as a liquid containing ethylene glycol. This liquid is added to the radiator of a vehicle in order to lower the freezing point of another liquid. Antifreeze is especially used in an internal-combustion engine. Most people think of antifreeze as simply helping keep their engine from freezing during the winter, but it also helps flush out the built-up heat during the summer time. This helps prevent overheating of your vehicle.

Coolant Mixture

Antifreeze or coolant mixture, whichever name you want to call it, was designed to be used as a 50 percent mixture. This mixture allows for the maximum protection for your car against freezing. For the best transfer of heat and to give the mixture the highest boiling point, this is the suggested percentage. Some parts stores sell premixed coolant, or you can mix your own. Mixing the coolant with water actually breaks down the particles and causes it to be more effective. In most cars it is suggested that you have no less than 40 percent and no more than 60 percent mixture in your vehicle for it to function properly.

Facts About Antifreeze

What happens if you do not put antifreeze in your car? Over time, your vehicle could possibly develop rust and corrosion in the cooling system and the long-term absence could affect your radiator, water pump, and coolant hoses. Most of the manufacturers suggest you should change the antifreeze or coolant every two years. What is the difference between coolant and antifreeze? Antifreeze is a more specific term for a product that keeps your vehicle from freezing; coolant is simply a generic term for a fluid that removes heat from your vehicle. A lot of people use these two terms interchangeably.

Checking Your Vehicle With a Coolant Tester

If you know about cars and want to do this testing yourself, the first thing to do is purchase a coolant tester from an auto parts or auto repair shop. The next step is to get a sample of the fluid from your radiator. This can be done by opening the radiator cap while the engine is cool, sucking up a sample of the fluid from your radiator, and putting it in the tester test tube. Then hold it up to a light source (or to the sky, if outside) so that you can see through the tube. Let is set for at least 30 seconds before you check it, to see how many balls float to the top. The more balls that float up, the better protection you have. The test tube will have markings on the side for you as a guide to the results. There is also additional explanation on the package.

If you are not someone who knows about cars, then take your car to an auto repair shop and get it checked before winter. Having the proper antifreeze mixture in your car will protect your engine from freezing, while also protecting your vehicle from overheating. Don’t just check your overflow tank and think that your levels are good, because if your system is not working correctly, this can be very misleading. Your vehicle is a major expense, and keeping it serviced correctly can save you a great deal of money. So, be sure to test your antifreeze mixture or have it checked regularly.