Guide to buying antifreeze
If you were interested in any of the products listed above and you want to take one of them, before making any decision, it is important that you know that there are general characteristics that you should review at all times when you think about buying antifreeze to protect your car, that’s why We have made a guide to buying the best antifreeze, taking into consideration the basic aspects that this fluid must contain to obtain better protection results.
Formulation and composition
When we make a comparison of antifreezes we realize that there is a wide range of products on the market, which are differentiated between organic and inorganic fluids, according to the components found in their formulation, but both fluids use ethylene glycol as a base, a type of alcohol that has been used since the late 30s of the last century, because it is an element that provides a low freezing point and a very high boiling level, being very important in the effective operation of the vehicle.
In this sense, you should know that organic coolants have high durability, widely doubling in terms of mileage to inorganic fluids and have distilled water in their composition.
They contain in the mixture a series of additives such as preservatives, antioxidants, antifoams, corrosion inhibitors, which help to protect more efficiently the parts of the engine and the car’s cooling system, as they are free of chemicals such as nitrates , phosphates or silicates, and elements such as calcium or magnesium do not accumulate, generating less solid deposits that are harmful to the vehicle; while inorganic ones tend to evaporate and are more polluting.
The main function of the coolant is to maintain a suitable temperature in the engine, which helps its optimal operation, as it prevents it from overheating. Accordingly, the cooling liquid must have an effective heat capacity and a very low freezing level, being recommended for Spain a freezing point below -20ºC. With this temperature, the increase in the volume of the fluid and damaging the circuits during its circulation is avoided.
Likewise, the refrigerant must offer a high level at the boiling point that avoids the evaporation of the fluid as a consequence of the heating of the engine when it is running, the maximum being around 140ºC. Remember that the perfect temperature for the engine is 90ºC.
Among the different types of refrigerants on the market, you will notice that they all come in different colors, namely pink, purple, blue, green or yellow, these colors are not indicative of properties or characteristics, but they are effective in detecting possible leaks that could occur in the refrigeration system.
Another aspect that you should check in the antifreeze is its pH level, because this is indicative of the anticorrosive capacity of the fluid on metals, as well as the proportion of alkaline inhibitors and the amount of residues.
On the other hand, it should be noted that antifreeze can have different prices and come in different presentations, from 1 liter, 2 liters, 5 liters or even 60 liter containers, and depending on the amount found in said container, this will affect how much a coolant costs.
In this sense, you are probably looking for a coolant that is good and inexpensive, but if it is to protect the engine of our car and give it more useful life, it is necessary to invest a little more money and buy a quality antifreeze, with a good concentration of ethylene glycol, so that it can provide our vehicle with a long-lasting protective effect, which reaches about 2 years or a mileage of 40,000 km for its replacement.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: Where do you put the antifreeze?
The antifreeze, or coolant, is poured into the water tank of the car’s cooling system. But it is important to check the user manual of your vehicle, so that you know the indicated mileage to change the coolant.
Q2: Is it normal for a car to consume antifreeze?
If you notice that the antifreeze level drops after 4 to 5 months of use, you can consider it normal, but if it happens sooner, you should consider other possible causes. One of them could be the ratio of water and refrigerant, because if you add more water than refrigerant, the product tends to evaporate more quickly. Also, it may happen that there is a failure in the mechanism that limits the pressure in the cap of the expansion bottle, which allows the fluid to evaporate in that way. Another cause may be a possible hose or connector leak, which in some cases is more difficult to detect.
Q3: Is coolant the same as antifreeze?
In principle, we must clarify that the coolant is a fluid that is used in the vehicle’s cooling system with the purpose of absorbing excess heat and also fulfills an anticorrosive function of all the metallic elements of the system, and the antifreeze comes This is a property that this fluid possesses, in order to prevent the engine mechanisms from freezing at extremely low temperatures.
Q4: What is antifreeze made of?
The main component is a type of alcohol, called ethylene glycol, which is a fluid with essential properties for the refrigeration system. Its main characteristic is having a high boiling point, which prevents the evaporation of the fluid, as well as a very low freezing point, so that the possibility of freezing of the product is minimized. Other components are additives that inhibit corrosion, foam, and cavitation.
Q5: What happens if I put water instead of antifreeze in the car?
In principle, we could say that is not bad, because e l water can also function to dissipate heat , but has three adverse factors including its boiling point and freezing, which make unstable water to work properly, and also highly corrosive to all metal components of the cooling system, therefore its use is not recommended.
Q6: When should I add antifreeze to the car?
It is generally recommended to change the vehicle’s coolant every 40,000 kilometers or in a period of 2 years, but this varies from one manufacturer to another, so it is advisable that you review your vehicle’s user manual. Likewise, the refrigerant you choose and according to its concentration, in its instructions for use indicates the required replacement time. In any case, check the coolant level weekly, since there are other causes beyond the normal consumption of it, such as faults in the cooling system.
Q7: Why does the oil mix with the antifreeze?
When this situation occurs there are two possible causes: the first could be the product of the oil cooling system, which in one part of its system shares space with the cooling system; the other cause, which is even more serious, could be the consequence of a failure in the cylinder head or its gaskets, which is the part that seals the engine cylinders above.
Q8: What if the car runs out of antifreeze?
It would be very serious, since the engine could be damaged due to overheating , burning its internal parts which translates into a very high expense for the repair of the car. Also, there could be the possibility of low temperatures that affect parts of the mechanism, which freeze blocking the functionality of the engine and you could not start the vehicle. Therefore, it is important that you periodically evaluate that the coolant reservoir contains the fluid between the minimum and maximum marks.
How to use antifreeze
Antifreeze is a liquid that performs various functions in your vehicle’s cooling system . First, it is responsible for absorbing the excess heat that the engine operation could generate, to maintain an ideal temperature of 90ºC, it inhibits corrosion in its metal parts, and prevents the formation of vapor bubbles and foam. And in low temperature climates it has antifreeze properties. Next, we will explain in a few steps the procedure to use this product properly.
Time to change the antifreeze
It is important that you check in the user manual the time that must elapse before you can change the coolant in your vehicle, since the times may vary from one manufacturer to another. But, generally the estimated time is 2 years at 40,000 kilometers, the first of the events to be fulfilled. Also, you can take as a reference the time recommended by the manufacturer of the chosen product, where the time that guarantees the properties mentioned in its characteristics is estimated.
Preparations for replacement
Place the vehicle on a level surface that does not have any kind of incline. Wait as long as necessary for the vehicle to be completely cold, so that you avoid any type of accidental burns. Place a bucket under the petcock, which is located on the bottom of the radiator. Make a first measurement of the refrigerant fluid in the expansion bottle.
Bleed the cooling system
Uncap the expansion bottle and then proceed to release the petcock located at the bottom of the radiator. When you do this procedure, wear protective gloves to avoid any contact with the fluid, as it is highly toxic. After the old fluid drains completely from the cooling system, you are ready to close the petcock.
Depending on the refrigerant product you choose and its degree of concentration, the manufacturer will state in its instructions for use, how you should administer the fluid. In some cases, it will say that the coolant is applied directly without diluting, or on the contrary, you must mix the product with preferably distilled water, in some type of proportion, which could be 1: 1 or 1: 2, among others.
Pour the fluid into the reservoir
After you’ve made the mixture, carefully pour the coolant into the reservoir, until the liquid reaches the maximum mark on the container. Then proceed to start the vehicle to help the coolant circulate and check the minimum and maximum marks on the expansion bottle; If it decreased, you must continue the pour until it reaches the maximum mark again.