What Is Coolant? Is It Different From Antifreeze?

September 1st, 2022 by

What Is Coolant? Is It Different From Antifreeze?

Key Takeaways:

  • Coolant is a fluid that helps remove heat from your car’s engine.
  • Anti-freeze is added to the water or coolant to help lower its freezing point.
  • Use the right type and amount of coolant/anti-freeze in your car to keep it running correctly.
  • If you have questions about coolant or anti-freeze, ask your trusted car dealership for more information.
  • Lakeland Hyundai is your got-to-service center to get reliable auto repair and maintenance solutions in Brandon, FL.

Regarding car maintenance, coolant and anti-freeze are two topics that often get confused. Many people consider them the same, but this is not the case. Lakeland Hyundai will discuss the differences between these two fluids and explain why using them in your car is essential. We will also explain how to choose the proper coolant and anti-freeze for your vehicle. So if you are wondering what these fluids do and how to keep your car running smoothly, keep reading!

Coolant Vs. Anti-freeze

Coolant and anti-freeze may seem interchangeable, but they are two things. They are both made up of water and glycol. Glycol is an organic compound that helps lower water’s freezing point. So, it prevents your car’s engine from freezing in cold weather. Coolant raises the boiling point of water, preventing your car’s engine from overheating in hot weather. Anti-freeze does not freeze as quickly as coolant so it is added in as an additive, and it is often used in car engines in cold areas.

Many great coolant/anti-freeze brands are on the market today, and you can find them at most auto parts stores. Experts at car dealerships recommend using a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water in your car to keep it running smoothly and prevent rust and corrosion.

Coolant is the fluid that helps keep your car engine cool by transferring heat away from the engine block. On the other hand, anti-freeze is added to the coolant or water to lower its freezing point. It is critical because if the coolant freezes, it can expand and crack your car’s engine block. In short, all anti-freeze are coolants, but not all coolants are anti-freeze.

Types of Coolant

There are different types of coolants on the market. The most common type is ethylene glycol-based coolant, which provides excellent corrosion protection for all metals commonly used in cooling system components. Other options include propylene glycol-based and silicate-free coolants. Some carmakers have their proprietary coolant formulas for enhanced engine transmissions such as AMTs & DCTs.

When choosing a coolant for your car, consult your car’s owner’s manual for the right coolant type. Some carmakers require specific coolants, perhaps due to a specialized engine type or because you live in a certain climate where a certain coolant works best with your car, while others allow you to use any coolant you want. Whichever type of coolant you choose, be sure to add the correct amount of anti-freeze to prevent your car’s engine from freezing in cold weather.

Flushing Coolant

When a coolant has been in use for so long, it is only natural for it to get dirty or contaminated by debris that makes its way into the radiator lines. This can manifest as a dull colored coolant with possible bits of corroded metal or rust. This is exactly why one should not skip regular coolant maintenance.

There are a few signs that you may need a coolant flush or replacement, such as:

  • Your car is overheating
  • There’s an unexplained drop in coolant levels
  • The coolant looks dirty or rusty
  • Your car is leaking coolant

Take your car to the dealership for a consultation if you notice these signs. You may need a radiator flush or replacement for your vehicle to run smoothly without overheating. Generally, it’s best to have this service done every 30,000 miles. However, this may vary depending on your car’s make and model. Consult your car’s owner’s manual for more specific guidance. Also, please read our other blog on how to keep your car radiator cool. It will further guide you about coolant flushing.

Potential Problems with Your Car’s Cooling System to Avoid

  • Diluted coolant can cause corrosion and scale build-up in your car’s engine, so always mix the anti-freeze with water in the correct ratio.
  • Check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommended ratio.
  • You should also monitor the coolant level in your car’s radiator and top it off as needed.
  • Leaks in your car’s cooling system can also lead to problems, so have any leaks repaired as soon as possible.

Unknown Facts about Anti-freeze

People often wonder about using pure anti-freeze instead of the 50% water mixture for better prevention of rusting. However, you will be blown away by finding out the following scientific facts:

1. A Mixture of Water and Antifreeze is better than Pure Anti-freeze

Anti-freeze drastically lowers the freezing point to about -35 degrees Fahrenheit when mixed with water. It means that if you mix water or coolant with the anti-freeze, there is less risk of costly repairs.

Crystallization or pipe bursting occurs at high temperatures during warmer days when pressure builds up inside vehicle systems. To prevent this from happening, car dealerships and carmakers offer coolants that have a mixture of water and different types of chemicals, usually silicates, borates, phosphates, and sometimes amines or carboxylates. The most critical properties of these additives are their ability to inhibit corrosion (rusting) and reduce water’s freezing or boiling point.

2. Using Pure Anti-freeze Can Damage the Engine

It is important to note that pure anti-freeze does not have the necessary heat capacity for engine cooling. So, it would help if you don’t put it into the cooling system without mixing it with water or coolant. The lack of sufficient heat capacity can cause it to boil over time when exposed continuously to high temperatures like those found during summertime. The best way to get around this problem is by using wintering cocktails of anti-freeze in coolant or water, explicitly catering to your needs.

Need Car Maintenance Services in Brandon, FL? We Got You Covered!

Lakeland Hyundai is the best car dealership in Brandon, FL, to buy a car. We have many vehicles to choose from, and our friendly staff will be happy to help you find the perfect one for your needs. And be sure to ask about our coolant flush/replacement service if you are having trouble with your car’s cooling system. It’s a great way to keep your vehicle running smoothly and looking its best.

Schedule a service with us today!

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