Antifreeze Vs. Coolant: Radiator Solutions Made Simple

Antifreeze Vs. Coolant: Radiator Solutions Made Simple

Key Takeaways:

  • Antifreeze or coolant both refer to radiator fluid.
  • It keeps the engine running at an optimal temperature, even in cold weather conditions.
  • Antifreeze and coolant are essential for your vehicle and should be changed regularly every two years.
  • If you live around extreme temperatures or drive extensively in dusty conditions, you may need to change your coolant more frequently.
  • Check the color of the radiator fluid. If it is off, you should flush it with a new one.
  • If the fluid looks cloudy or milky, this may signify possible contamination with engine oil or transmission fluid from a petroleum product.
  • Auffenburg CDJR of Herrin offers car repair and maintenance services to customers in Johnston City, IL, and the surrounding areas.

When the weather cools down, you must ensure that your car is ready for winter. A critical constituent of your engine cooling system is radiator fluid comprising antifreeze and coolant. This liquid helps to keep your engine running at an optimal temperature, even in cold weather conditions. Auffenburg CDJR of Herrin will discuss the essential facts about antifreeze and coolants. We will cover everything from their composition to their benefits to how you can maintain them properly.

Radiator Fluid

Radiator fluid is the name given to both antifreeze and coolant. As a result, if you’re unsure what to call it, use that word instead. Now that winter is arriving soon, it’s time to prepare your car for extreme temperatures, salt-covered roads, and slushy driving conditions. Many individuals know that their radiator requires antifreeze when it’s freezing outdoors.

How it Works

Radiator fluid combines chemicals that prevent freezing, overheating, and corrosion. In addition, it serves as a heat transfer agent for the engine by warming the engine block when cold and drawing heat away from components when hot.

The cooling system runs in a loop, flowing through the engine and heater core before reaching the radiator and starting over again. Vehicle manufacturers ensure that their radiator fluid can protect your vehicle in hot and cold weather by considering all types of climates when they design it.

Corrosion inhibitors are added to these liquids to protect your engine and its cooling system from scale, rust, and pollutants that can harm their efficiency over time. Your car’s engine may overheat or seize up if you don’t have radiator fluid in it, causing significant damage to your vehicle and potentially leaving you stranded.

Composition of Coolant and Antifreeze

Coolant is made of water and glycol. Glycol is an antifreeze agent that helps to keep the liquid from freezing in cold weather conditions. It also prevents the coolant from overheating and boiling in extreme heat, helping to keep engine temperatures stable regardless of climate or driving conditions. The ratio of water to glycol in the coolant can vary, but it is typically around 50/5. The resultant coolant mix must have low freezing and high boiling points for antifreeze to work properly. It ensures that your engine will not overheat or freeze in extreme temperatures.

Learn more about the composition of coolant and antifreeze.

Benefits of Antifreeze and Coolant

There are many benefits to using antifreeze and coolant mix in your car.

1. Protects the Engine from Corrosion

It helps to protect your engine from corrosion and rust. It also helps to prevent overheating by circulating the coolant through the radiator.

2. Prolongs the Life of the Engine

Additionally, antifreeze and coolant can help prolong your engine’s life by keeping it running at an optimal temperature.

3. Regulates the Temperature of the Engine

Radiator fluid is a critical component of any engine cooling system. It helps to keep the engine running at an optimal temperature, even in cold weather conditions.

To keep your radiator functioning correctly, you must change the fluid regularly. Most car dealerships recommend changing it every two years. However, you may need to replace it more often if you live in an area with extreme temperatures or if you do much driving in dusty conditions.

Types of Radiator Fluids

Getting a compatible radiator fluid for your car is critical since many versions have various corrosion-inhibiting components. Organic, inorganic, and hybrid corrosion inhibitors

Many of these solutions coat the inner surfaces of engine components in a film of protective covering, which reduces friction and cleans them while also preventing deposits from forming. Radiator fluid comes in wide varieties, but the most important thing to remember is that it should never be mixed, and it’s preferable not to switch types during a refill.

If you mix different radiator fluids, a gel byproduct may form and clog the cooling system passages in your engine. It will cause the radiator fluid to overheat or freeze. So, if you’re unsure about what radiator fluid to use in your car, double-check before mixing them.

When is it Time for a Top Up?

You can check your coolant levels by finding the radiator fluid reservoir tank. Ensure your engine is cooled off, then open your vehicle’s hood. The coolant reservoir is usually a small white tank with maximum and minimum lines on the side. Next, find a cap with “engine coolant” or “antifreeze” written on it.

There are two things you need to check when it comes to your vehicle’s radiator fluid: the level and the color. The radiator fluid should be visible and fall between the two lines on the tank. If the color of the liquid is off, that means additives have been used up, and it might be time for a flush. If there’s a cloudy or milky look to the fluid, this may signify possible contamination with engine oil or transmission fluid from a petroleum product. In this case, take your car to a certified technician or the nearest car dealership as soon as possible.

Also, read our blog on DIY vehicle maintenance to keep your car in top-notch condition.

Need Car Repairs or Maintenance Services in Johnston City, IL? No Problem!

Auffenburg CDJR of Herrin, serving Johnston City, IL, is committed to providing excellent customer service. We want to ensure you have access to the expertise, equipment, and supplies you need to keep your car in top-notch condition. We carry a wide selection of antifreeze and coolants that will meet your specific needs.

Schedule your appointment!

We have a sizeable collection of new and pre-owned cars. And don’t forget about our Auffenberg Advantage–free car washes with every service visit, extra value for your trade-in, free appraisals, free vehicle history reports, and more! We look forward to serving your car at our dealership soon.

Contact us today!