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Key Takeaways:

-There is a difference between antifreeze and engine coolant.

-Antifreeze is a component of engine coolant.

-The difference lies in the concentration of glycol in the solution.

-Your local weather dictates which solution is best for your car.

Many people think of radiator fluid only when it gets below freezing and the first frosts appear. But is now the time to consider whether your car's antifreeze is in good working order? DCH Honda Oxnard's specialists will address concerns surrounding this and other questions and myths.

Internal combustion engines (ICE) cause the mixture to burn inside the cylinder, producing a large amount of heat that is then expelled mostly via the cylinder walls and then to the entire engine. We also know that solids expand when heated, implying that the engine's metal components would swell owing to the excessive heat, increasing friction between the cylinder and piston.

The engine ceases functioning when the friction force exceeds the engine's power to prevent extensive damage. The engine must be cooled periodically while running to keep this from happening.

Internal Combustion Engine Cooling

Most cars have a cooling system that uses antifreeze, which~ efficiently removes any surplus heat from the engine's mechanism and parts. Additionally, it helps the car start at a faster temperature. It makes the engine operation quieter than those cooled by air.

The water pump, fan, radiator, and thermostat are part of the cooling system. The coolant circulates from the engine to the radiator and back again.

Engine Coolant Functions

While the main purpose of coolant is to lower the freezing point of engine fluid and prevent damage, it also has these other notable characteristics:

Some benefits of using the car engine treatment product are:

- An increase in the boiling point of water

- The prevention of scale formation

- Anti-corrosion effects

- The prevention of deposition and foaming

- Lubrication of the engine parts

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The Difference Between Engine Coolant and Antifreeze

Although they are somewhat similar, coolant and antifreeze are not the same. Only after it has been diluted with water does antifreeze become a coolant. Pre-mixed coolant, a ready-to-use antifreeze, and a water solution may also be purchased from a store.

Antifreeze Composition

The basic structure of antifreeze consists of:

Base Fluid: The base fluid is typically mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), though it can occasionally be propylene glycol or glycerin.

Additives: corrosion inhibitor, antifoam, stabilizer, cavitation, deposition, and buffer.

MEG has a more stable freezing point than glycerin, leading to less corrosion of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Because of this, corrosion inhibitor additives are required in every antifreeze mixture that includes MEG. Altogether, these ingredients take up around 5% of the total variety; with a maximum concentration of 5% water, approximately 90%of the concentrate comprises ethylene glycol (MEG).

Be cautious since mono-ethylene glycol is poisonous. Glycerin and propylene glycol are eco-friendly alternatives, so they're becoming increasingly popular than they were previously.

Types of Antifreeze

There are two primary types of antifreeze: those with corrosion inhibitors and those without.

Traditional antifreeze (Inorganic Acid Technology with inorganic inhibitors

The lifespan of these coolants can last up to 2 years or 60,000 km. Meanwhile, those containing silicates usually have a lifespan of 3 years or 100,000 kilometers. They meet BS 6580:1992 and similar standards (mainly from the 1980s), which are intended for slightly older cars—most notably models with copper radiators and cast-iron engine blocks.

Organic antifreeze (Organic Acid Technology - OAT)

OAT is a class of antifreeze that uses organic acids, mostly salts and carboxylates. This group also includes Hybrid Organic Acid Technology - HOAT), a mix of OAT and inorganic compounds.

What The Color of Antifreeze Indicates

Usually, antifreeze is colorless, but the manufacturers add colors, including bright green to blue hues for standard antifreeze and intense pink to orange tones for organic antifreeze.

Although the color of radiator fluid is somewhat standardized, there is no specific method for detecting it. But since many types of antifreeze are "universals" and cover a variety of standards, it's preferable not to rely merely on color.

Can You Mix Different Types of Antifreeze?

In theory, yes, but combining them in practice is not a good idea. Compatibility charts exist, but they're difficult to use because they're not global and frequently only apply to one brand.

Because it's impossible to trust its color, chemical analyses are expensive, and an average driver can't tell whether a specific antifreeze is compatible.

Even a small amount of distilled water can suffice in an emergency. If greater quantities are required (for example, if a hose leaks), fixing the problem with the help of a trusted mechanic is your best remedy.

Can I Use Water Instead of Coolant?

The problem is that water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius and cannot be utilized as a coolant since it would freeze the block and cylinder head. When you need extra care for your vehicle in the summer, it evaporates without causing any problems.

Furthermore, water causes corrosion of metal components in the system and limescale buildup, which inhibits fluid flow and causes damage.

How Do I Know How Much Antifreeze and Water Is Necessary?

To create radiator fluid, 50 percent or 60 percent distilled or demineralized water is added to the antifreeze. The ratio remains typically 50:50 or 60:40 in favor of antifreeze. Modern ethylene glycol-based radiator fluids have a crystallization point between −35 and -40 °C, making them ideal for this application.

The amount of antifreeze and water you'll mix is determined by the weather. Just be cautious not to reduce the antifreeze concentration too much since doing so will significantly raise the freezing point and prevent corrosion.

Follow the instructions on the product package because each manufacturer has its method for making it.

Is It Possible To Make Engine Coolant With Tap Water?

Although many experts advise against combining antifreeze with tap water, most manufacturers claim that it is feasible if the water meets specific requirements — it should be high quality and not too hard.

There are a variety of water softener alternatives, with naturally soft water (or some bottled waters), demineralized or distilled water being the most common. However, they all compete as the most outstanding and valuable options.

Ending Note:

In conclusion, there are essentially no differences and many differences at the same time between antifreeze and engine coolant. It is important to remember that regardless of the terms used or the composition of the fluid, both products serve the same purpose — to keep your engine from overheating.

DCH Honda Oxnard, serving Oxnard, CA, is your go-to source for all things Honda. Our top-of-the-line experts can help you maintain your car and keep it running like new for years to come. Schedule a service appointment today!

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