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Automotive Repair Blog: Tips, Facts, and Fixes

What Does Coolant/Antifreeze Actually Do?

Have you ever driven your car on a hot summer's day and it started overheating, and you've had to pull over to wait for your car to cool down? Or have you had to wait a while for your car to heat up before going to work in the morning?

We have all been there at one time or another when a car overheats, and it can still be annoying but it does not have to be a problem when you have the correct temperature in the engine. The reason is that almost all cars these days use coolant or antifreeze to keep a car's engine at a manageable temperature.

Antifreeze is a very toxic chemical coolant that has thermal properties that are imperative to the good functioning of a car's engine as it included a high boiling point, as well as low cooling properties and creates stability over a broad range of temperatures. Since it is mixed with water it helps to regulate your car's engine temperatures.

For example antifreeze coolant can protect your engine from freezing; yet overheating the coolant, on the other hand, prevents corrosion that can be detrimental to your car's engine functionality. The optimal amount of coolant to water is 50 percent although you can use a 40 to 60 percent ratio too, a 50 to 50 ratio is recommended.

Antifreeze prevents the water in your radiator and engine from freezing over in cold temperatures. It also keeps your engine from overheating in hot temperature situations, thus antifreeze also works as a lubricant for moving parts in the engine such as the water pump.

There's one important rule to remember, and that is never ever add coolant to a hot engine! Adding any cold liquid to an already hot or overheated engine can crack the engine block as the hot metal would contract to quickly on contact with cold liquids.

So it is best advised to wait for the engine to cool down or let a professional handle it.

If you need a coolant flush performed, give our auto repair shop a call today!