Everything You Need to Know About Antifreeze

September 19, 2017 Published by

What smells sweet, tastes sweet and comes in different colors, but is detrimental to your health? If you guessed leftover Halloween candy, you’re probably right, but that’s not what we want to talk about today. We’re actually talking about antifreeze. This colorful, sweet-smelling but lethal fluid is essential to the smooth operation of your car, but a lot of car owners don’t really understand what it is. So today, our expert mechanics in Minneapolis, MN are bringing you everything you need to know about antifreeze.

What is it?

Antifreeze is that colored liquid (usually green, but sometimes red) found in your radiator. Most antifreeze is made by combining distilled water with a primary agent or base product. In antifreeze, this base product is usually one of two chemical compounds: ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. To produce ethylene glycol, ethylene oxide reacts with water to create the chemical formula (CH2OH)2. For propylene glycol, the chemical formula is C3H8O2.

What does it do?

Antifreeze has three main purposes:

  • It keeps the water in your radiator from freezing in cold temperatures.
  • It keeps the water in your radiator from boiling to prevent your engine from overheating.
  • It acts as a lubricant to the moving parts of the car it comes in contact with.

Antifreeze is pretty amazing stuff. When mixed correctly, it can actually keep the water in your radiator from freezing up to 30 below zero and can keep the water from boiling up to 275 (the normal boiling point of water is 212).

How does it work?

The cells of some organisms produce certain proteins that help prevent the formation of ice crystals. Scientists themselves are still trying to understand exactly how these chemical compounds work, but they have determined that it is the organic nature of the molecules in antifreeze that depresses the freezing point of water and that, the more repeating molecule units present, the lower the freezing point becomes.

How do I maintain it?

Just like engine oil, antifreeze levels must be maintained, and the antifreeze will need to be changed if it becomes dirty and picks up gunk that may have settled in your cooling system. Check your owner’s manual for how often your antifreeze should be inspected. If you have your engine oil changed by mechanics in Minneapolis, MN, you can ask them to check your antifreeze levels as well and top it off if necessary. You should also flush your coolant system about every 20,000 miles. To check your antifreeze, look at the fluid inside the coolant reservoir. If the antifreeze has particles in it or looks dirty or rusty, it’s time to change it. Just remember that antifreeze is toxic and should be disposed of properly.

Now you know everything you need to know about the antifreeze in your car. If you find that it’s time for an antifreeze flush or you’re having issues with your coolant system, let us know. Our friendly mechanics at Quality Coaches, Inc. are always happy to help!

Categorised in:

This post was written by Sharon Morgan

Comments are closed here.