Antifreeze/coolant keeps your engine cool in warm weather and keeps it from freezing up in the winter. It also has another purpose: preventing corrosion in your engine. There are several different types of coolant available, which may lead to some confusion about which is right for your car. In winter, you will want a product that keeps your engine from freezing up and that will not damage components of your cooling system. A car repair training course can teach you more about antifreeze and the way it helps protect your vehicle.
Choosing an Antifreeze Product for Winter
Here are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing an antifreeze product:
- Water to Coolant Ratio
You need to mix antifreeze with water. Most vehicles need a specific ratio of water to antifreeze in order to work properly. In the winter, the correct ratio is usually 60% antifreeze to 40% water. This mix will protect your engine from everything except the most extreme winter weather. If you live in a very cold climate, you may want to use a 70% antifreeze to 30% water.
- Avoid Using Only Water
Water alone can work in the short term, or in an emergency, but you should add antifreeze to the mix as soon as possible. Water by itself will not protect your engine from overheating in the summer or from freezing up in the winter. Also, water doesn’t have the corrosion-inhibiting ingredients that most types of antifreeze have.
- The Main Ingredient
Many antifreeze products have ethylene glycol as the main ingredient. Ethylene glycol is extremely toxic and has a sweet taste that can be appealing to animals and small children. Another option is to use antifreeze made with propylene glycol. Both ingredients function similarly, but propylene glycol is far less toxic.
- The Different Types of Antifreeze
There are different types of antifreeze available, each created to provide different benefits. They are:
- Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT)
- Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
- Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)
IAT is usually bright green and uses many phosphates and silicates to reduce wear on engine parts. It should be flushed out and replaced every 30,000 miles. OAT antifreeze lasts much longer (150,000 miles), but does not contain any silicates or phosphates so it won’t provide as much protection for your engine. OAT comes in a range of colors including orange and bright green. HOAT antifreeze is usually a mix of OAT and some corrosion inhibitors. HOAT antifreeze can last for 150,000 miles and comes in several colors including yellow and orange. Individual auto manufacturers will have recommendations for which type you should use in a specific vehicle.