Engine Coolant / Antifreeze
Protecting your engine from overheating
The fuel burned inside the engine produces a lot of heat. Keeping the engine temperature under control is the work of the cooling system. The cooling system circulates liquid coolant (antifreeze) from the engine into the radiator installed in the front of the car where it is cooled down by the air flow passing through the radiator fins.
A problem with a cooling system can cause the engine to overheat, and this can result in serious damage to the engine. One of the common problems with a cooling system is lack of coolant caused by leaks, which are very common. For this reason, it’s important to check the coolant level regularly and ensure that it’s full; your owner’s manual should have directions.
Caution: Never open the radiator or the coolant overflow reservoir when the engine is hot; engine coolant is under pressure!
If you found a coolant leak in the engine compartment or on your parking spot, have it fixed before a lack of coolant could cause overheating. Coolant is usually green, orange or red in color. If you notice the engine temperature rising above normal, have your car checked out before the engine overheats.
Mixing Coolant Brands
Different coolant brands use different chemicals. They are not all the same product. This creates a risk for the unwary. The primary culprit is the additives used in coolant. Many of these additives are for cleaning and inhibiting rust. However, because the additives are not the same compounds or materials, mixing different brands can cause some of the components to gel. When this occurs, it causes blockages in your cooling system hoses, pipes and water pump. That in effect stops your cooling system from working and then the engine overheats.
Lack of Regular Car Maintenance
Engine coolant should be regularly changed and flushed along with other engine fluids. Failure to keep up maintenance can put your cooling system at risk and can also cause a buildup of sediment in the cooling system. Eventually, coolant does get consumed and the level will drop. This of course can also lead to engine overheating when more coolant is not added regularly.
Function of Antifreeze
Antifreeze works within a car’s cooling system. It prevents liquids within that system from freezing to a solid state. The most commonly used form of antifreeze is ethylene glycol. It is preferred because it is inexpensive, can be mixed with water in any ratio, doesn’t react chemically with any other substance within a car’s cooling system and has a suitably high boiling point.
Signs of Low Antifreeze in a Car Engine
Antifreeze is an important component of an automobile. When a car runs low on antifreeze, problems occur. Sometimes the signs of low antifreeze may go unnoticed for awhile. When antifreeze levels get low enough, though, a car begins exhibiting enough signs that prompt its owner to have it checked by a mechanic. Knowing the signs of low antifreeze can help drivers avoid costlier repairs in the future.