Antifreeze – Vehicle Maintenance Tip
The coolant used in today’s modern engines generally contains a combination of water and antifreeze.
As the name implies, antifreeze helps prevent water from freezing in a vehicle’s cooling system.
Cars in colder climates are often exposed to the elements of temperatures well below the freezing point of water (32 degrees Fahrenheit), so the purpose of “antifreeze” is very vital.
If water were used on its own in a cooling system during very cold temperatures, it would quickly turn to ice.
It is essential to remember that water expands, like ice cubes do in a freezer.
Water, which is the only known matter in the environment that does this, cold temperatures tend to cause all other natural substances to become smaller.
Water can expand both on an engine block with such force that internal damage such as cracks can occur. If this happens, there is no choice but to replace the complete engine block.
Vehicles that are poorly maintained, with the proper amount of antifreeze, generally experience this problem.
As a result, you can see why it is so important to have your water to antifreeze ratio checked, especially in the event that you have added water to the system, antifreeze alone lowers the freezing point of the mixture, the more antifreeze, lower the freezing point.
As a general rule of thumb, no more than 70 percent of the total volume of fluid in the cooling system should consist of antifreeze.
If more than 70 percent is added to the cooling system, the ability of the mixture to remove heat from the engine will be greatly reduced, possibly causing engine damage.
Temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit will freeze the water!
On the other hand, the antifreeze and water mixture will not freeze to a much lower temperature.
Adequate temperature protection with a 50 to 50 ratio is normally achieved for most vehicles.
Vehicles operating in colder climates may require more antifreeze, while those in warmer climates may require less antifreeze.
When in doubt, always consult your owner’s manual or local service technician for the proper antifreeze and water mixtures.
For those who would like to see for yourself, antifreeze testers are available at your favorite outlet.