What You Need to Know Regarding Engine Coolants Part 1

Many of us know that the holiday seasons mean our vehicles must also be prepared to handle the sometimes harsh conditions that come with winter weather.

Depending on where you live, you may be exposing your engine to extreme temperatures on both end of the spectrum throughout the year. Your engine's cooling system is designed to help mitigate some of this stress, and in order to function properly, this system is filled with an optimal heat transfer fluid commonly known as coolant/antifreeze.

The variety of coolant/antifreeze products can be intimidating, but put simply, this liquid is a mixture of water and glycol. Ethylene glycol, more specifically, must be added because water alone just doesn’t suffice for the extreme temperatures mentioned earlier. This simple mixture results in what is called freezing point depression and boiling point elevation. A 50/50 mixture of water and ethylene glycol will drop the freeze point down to -34F and raise the boiling point to 265F which is a significant transformation when compared with just water respectively (freezing point 32F, boiling point 212F).

This allows for much broader seasonal protection and operation of your vehicle without worry of cooling system issues.

• “Coolant” and “Antifreeze” are synonyms referring to an ethylene glycol and water mixture
• Make sure to check your vehicle’s OEM recommendations when selecting the proper formula of coolant/antifreeze
• Maintain your cooling system year round by making sure to use the appropriate product and the appropriate mixture ratio at the proper liquid level