It’s time to think about antifreeze as Fall begins
Fall weather is unpredictable. Summer temperatures and cold snaps are equally likely during fall. There is still time to check refrigerant levels and its a good time to think about the antifreeze in your engine cooling system.
Antifreeze performs 3 important jobs:
- It decreases the temperature at which the coolant freezes.
- Its used to raise the temperature at which the coolant will begin to boil.
- and it contains protective anti-corrosive additives (but these break down and lose their effectiveness over time)
Its tempting to think that if a little antifreeze is good, adding more is better. This is definitely not the case.
Its very important to maintain the proper ratio of water to antifreeze. Unless specified otherwise by the vehicle manufacturer, the coolant in most vehicles should consist of
a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze before being added to the cooling system. This 50/50 solution not only prevents freezing, but also preserves proper cooling properties.
Adding more antifreeze to the mix (once again, unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer) to increase its percentage in the mixture is not better. Generally speaking, after the ratio exceeds more than about 65% antifreeze to 35% water, freeze protection can actually diminish, but even worse, heat dissipation can radically decrease, since the water is the primary substance used for this purpose. Antifreeze itself actually has fairly poor heat transfer characteristics. Having too much antifreeze in the mixture can actually cause engine overheating.
Follow manufacturer’s guidelines on the correct mixture of water to antifreeze for optimal results.
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