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What Is Antifreeze?

Person pouring antifreeze into car

It’s freezing in Cleveland in the winter. It’s not comfortable for you and it’s not comfortable for your car, truck or any vehicle if you don’t take care of it properly. Part of the proper care and maintenance of your vehicle for winter (and all of the other seasons) is ensuring that your car has the proper and correct amount of antifreeze/all-season coolant in the system.

But, what is antifreeze?

Antifreeze is the common term for “all-season” engine coolants.  It is actually a colored liquid that is utilized during periods of extreme temperature to conduct heat transfer in your engine’s cooling system to regulate and maintain proper operating temperature. It is mixed, typically at a 50/50 ratio, with deionized water and poured into a specific location in your engine. Antifreeze/all-season coolant helps to warm up and regulate the temperature of your engine’s most vital components in the winter. And in the summer, it helps to keep those same components from overheating.

If you’re going to buy antifreeze, you may have options and types. It’s vitally important to use the correct coolant in your vehicle; therefore, check the label on the system to make sure you purchase the correct type.  Antifreeze comes in different solutions. There are 100% solutions that have to be mixed with an equal amount of distilled water. Another option is a 50/50 solution which is already mixed with water.

As antifreeze/all-season coolant is pumped through your car’s engine (along with the thermostat, controls, fans, and electronics), it transfers the heat from the engine to the cooling and heating  system(s) to maintain the temperature of the engine so that it doesn’t get too hot or too cold when in extreme temperatures (like those that we can get in both summer and winter in Northeast Ohio).  Additionally, the anti-foaming, anti-corrosion and chemical package in the coolant helps protect your engine.

There are three basic types of antifreeze, also known as engine coolant, and they cannot be mixed. There is Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT), Organic Acid Technology (OAT), and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT). Additionally, there are several variants of each technology that is used by different manufacturers. Read your owner’s manual or check the radiator cap for the exact coolant you need to use. Or, simply visit any Rad Air facility, and we’ll be happy to assist you.  

As with other fluids in your vehicle (like oil), your car needs to have the antifreeze/coolant drained and changed to best perform its job in helping to keep your car running and preventing corrosion and severe internal engine damage. The antifreeze levels also need to be checked and filled, if needed, prior to the extreme weather of summer and winter. For information on exactly when you should have your antifreeze changed, you can check your owner’s manual.

When is that last time you checked your antifreeze levels? If you need help checking levels, filling your antifreeze or replacing your antifreeze, schedule an appointment today! And, right now we have a coupon for a cooling system flush and fill for only $114.88.

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