If your engine is the heart of your vehicle, then coolant is its bloodline. Engine coolant (or antifreeze) is typically a 50/50 mixture of ethylene or propylene glycol and water that absorbs engine heat and dissipates it through the radiator or heat exchanger (for your cabin heater in the colder days). Without a properly operating cooling system, your car can quickly overheat and do serious engine damage.
Water alone will cause damage
Though water is used in conjunction with coolant, water alone or an improper mix can still result in damage to your engine. Engine coolant carries rust inhibitors that prevent components in your cooling system from rusting, anti-freezing properties for cold climates to prevent cracking from freezing and expansion, and extra cooling proponents for hot conditions to avoid boil-over and evaporation over time. Coolant flows throughout your engine block, cylinder heads, water pump, radiator, thermostat and other cooling system components. Without the proper mixture of coolant, your engine can overheat, doing costly engine damage in the process and leaving you stranded on the side of the road
Cooling System/Coolant Maintenance
To ensure the longevity of your cooling system and trouble-free engine performance, regular preventative maintenance steps are recommended. Over time, the chemical properties that lend themselves to the cooling, anti-corrosive, and anti-cavitation aspects in coolant break down, diminishing the effectiveness. This leaves your cooling system and engine vulnerable to rusting and corrosion of components, overheating, or freezing and cracking in the colder months.
To ensure that your cooling system is protected, regular coolant services or coolant flushes are recommended. This service is best performed by certified technicians who will drain the existing coolant in the system, flush the radiator with a special machine that forces a pressurized chemical flush to clean corrosion and build-up, and refill the system with the proper type of coolant at the proper ratios, bleeding the system of air whenever necessary. Technicians will also inspect your coolant system components for leaks or other potential issues for early detection.
Photo Courtesy of Linear Automotive