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What Does Antifreeze Do for Your Car?

As most people know, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This can pose a problem for internal combustion engines, which rely on water to keep them cool. If the water in the engine freezes, it can cause the water pump to fail, the head gasket to blow, or the coolant reservoir to crack.

Fortunately, there is a solution. So, what does antifreeze do for your car?

Antifreeze is a chemical additive that lowers the freezing point of water, making it less likely to freeze in cold temperatures. It also raises the boiling point of water, making it more effective at cooling the engine.

Antifreeze is a colored liquid added to water or other fluids to lower the freezing point. This is done to prevent the fluid from freezing, which can cause damage to pipes or other objects. You can also use antifreeze to raise the boiling point, which is also useful in high-temperature applications such as car engines.

Antifreeze is usually made of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. These substances are non-toxic and have low volatility, meaning they don’t easily evaporate at high temperatures. This makes them ideal for use in cars, which often operate at high temperatures.

Internal Combustion Engines and Antifreeze

refilling antifreeze on car

Internal combustion engines in modern vehicles rely on a mixture of fuel and air to ignite and create the power that turns the engine crankshaft. If this mixture gets too cold, it will not ignite properly and the engine will not start. Here is where antifreeze comes in. Antifreeze protects multiple components of the internal combustion engine – like radiator hoses, the head gasket, and the cylinder head.

Radiator hoses are an important part of keeping your car’s radiator functioning properly. Without them, coolant would not be able to circulate through the radiator and keep your engine cool. Over time, radiator hoses can become brittle and crack, which can lead to coolant leaks. If your radiator hoses become frozen, there is a chance the radiator pressure will build-up, which can cause permanent damage to your car’s radiator. Antifreeze helps keep your radiator hoses intact. It is important to check your radiator hoses regularly for signs of wear and tear and to replace them if necessary.

Types of Engine Coolant

There are three main types of coolant used in cars: IAT (Inorganic Additive Technology), HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology), and OAT (Organic Acid Technology).

IAT coolant is the most common type and is typically used in older vehicles. The IAT coolant needs to be replaced about every two years because if it becomes too old, it could cause corrosion damage.

OAT coolant is the newest type of coolant and is designed to last longer than the other two types. It’s also more expensive, but it only needs to be changed every five years.

HOAT coolant is newer and more expensive, but it offers better protection against corrosion. HOAT is a derivative of the OAT coolant and requires changing every five years.

Types of Antifreeze Coolant

There are two main types of antifreeze: organic and inorganic. Organic antifreeze is made from glycols, while inorganic antifreeze is made from silicates. Both types of antifreeze are effective at preventing freezing, but you must use them correctly in order to avoid damaging your vehicle.

Organic antifreeze is the most common type of antifreeze, and it is made from glycols. Glycols are a class of compounds that includes ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. These compounds are used in various products, including antifreeze, because they have a low freezing point and a high boiling point.

Inorganic antifreeze is made from silicates, a class of minerals that include quartz and mica. Silicates are less commonly used than glycols, but they have some advantages over glycols. Silicates do not corrode metal surfaces, so they can be used in contact with metals without causing damage. Additionally, silicates have a higher boiling point than glycols, so they can be used in high-temperature applications.

How To Use Antifreeze

To add antifreeze to your car, open the hood and locate the radiator. There is usually a cap on the radiator that says “Engine Coolant” or something similar. Remove the cap and add the antifreeze until the level reaches the “full” line on the side of the radiator. If your car does not have a line, fill it until the liquid is about an inch above the metal coils inside the radiator. Once you’ve added enough antifreeze, replace the radiator cap and start your engine. Let it run for a few minutes so that the antifreeze can circulate through the system.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using antifreeze. First, it is important to use the correct type of antifreeze for your engine. Second, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how much antifreeze to add to your engine’s coolant system.

If you notice that your car is leaking antifreeze, take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. A leak in the system can cause serious irreparable damage to your engine. 

If you live in an area with cold winters, it is important to make sure your car’s cooling system has enough antifreeze to protect it from the cold weather. If you are not sure how much antifreeze to add, consult your car’s owner’s manual or take it to a mechanic.

What Is the Optimal Mixture?

Most carmakers recommend a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water for optimal engine cooling and corrosion protection. The water in the coolant mixture helps carry away the engine’s heat, while the antifreeze prevents the mixture from freezing in cold weather. In hot weather, it also raises the boiling point of the coolant mixture so that it can better withstand high temperatures. Over time, antifreeze can break down and needs to be replaced. Depending on your climate, you should replace your car’s antifreeze around every two years.

Cold Areas

man pouring antifreeze on car in winter

If you live in an area with very cold winters, you may need to use a higher concentration of antifreeze in your coolant mixture. This is because water can freeze at a lower temperature than antifreeze, and you don’t want your coolant mixture to freeze in the engine. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water will usually suffice in most cases, but you may need to go up to a 60/40 or even a 70/30 ratio in very cold climates.

Warm Areas

If you live in an area with very hot summers, you might want to use a lower concentration of antifreeze in your coolant mixture. This is because antifreeze can actually raise the boiling point of the coolant mixture, which can be an issue in hot weather. In most cases, a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water will be fine, but you may want to go down to a 40/60 or even a 30/70 ratio in very hot climates.

Important note: Antifreeze is a toxic substance that can be deadly if ingested by humans or animals. Call your local poison control center or emergency room immediately if you think someone has been poisoned by antifreeze. Receiving treatment for antifreeze poisoning within hours after ingestion is extremely important.

What Does Antifreeze Do For Your Car: Final Thoughts

As you can see, antifreeze is very important when it comes to keeping your car’s engine running properly in cold weather. Be sure to use the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle, and follow the instructions carefully when adding it to your engine. With a little bit of preparation, you can keep your car running smoothly all year long.