What is engine coolant, and why do we need it? Honestly, We cannot easily estimate the Cost of engine failure due to overheating, but a quick guess is that the implication of excessive heat can not have a friendly financial quantitative measure; for example, it depends on why the engine is overheating. The thermostat stuck closed, so coolant doesn’t flow to the radiator? Clogged radiator? More expensive. Has it congested coolant passages in the cylinder block? Open your wallet. Also, is it a simple case of overheating (fix the cause and everything is fine), or did the overheating cause other damage that you must repair? Overheating on some engines will warp the cylinder heads, so the engine will need a complete rebuild, including machining the mating surfaces of the block and heads.
As the source of power for cars, engines get extremely hot. Without proper protection, a machine can wear down and even melt, costing thousands of dollars to replace. So the reason for this article is to understand and be aware in time so your wallet doesn’t get bugged.
Car coolant, also known as antifreeze coolant, protects engines from overheating. Coolant also lubricates the moving parts it comes into contact with, which covers damage to the water pump, head gasket, cylinder, and piston timing.
An elementary understanding of what and why coolant in a heating system is sufficient to help us with the first steps at maintenance 101. Prevention is better at first than anything else.
Why do we need engine coolants, and what does it do?
Wondering what is car coolant exactly? Coolant transfers heat and adds antifreeze protection to an engine, so your car can stay running in optimal condition, saving you time, money, and stress.
Internal combustion engines create energy by burning fuel. Part of this energy is harnessed by the engine and is used to move the vehicle forward. The remaining energy is converted into heat.
A portion of this heat leaves the engine through the exhaust. The rest remains in the engine block itself.
Average combustion temperatures are close to 2,000°F and, in some instances, may reach as high as 4,500°F. Aluminum components melt at about 1,225°F.
A considerable amount of engine failures are related to engine cooling problems. To protect the engine and to keep it running at the ideal temperature, engine coolant is used.
How Does Engine Coolant Work?
Many people will wonder how does an engine coolant work, Car coolant is located in a reservoir affixed to the radiator before it’s introduced to the engine block and its components.
Engine coolant is used in conjunction with a liquid cooling system. The fluid cooling system is made up of several components.
- The water pump, or coolant pump, circulates coolant throughout the system.
- The radiator conducts heat away from the coolant.
- Radiator hoses connect the parts of the cooling system.
- The fan pulls air through the radiator when the vehicle is not moving fast enough to move the air.
- The thermostat controls the temperature of the coolant.
The coolant continuously circulates through the engine and back through the radiator when the engine runs. The coolant exits from the bottom of the radiator after it’s cooled. It’s then drawn into the water pump, which pumps it into the engine’s block and head, absorbing excess heat to control the engine temperature. The coolant is then returned to the top of the radiator and cooled again.
What are the components of a Car Coolant Made?
All automotive coolants are glycol-based. Standard coolants consist of a mixture of ethylene glycol with additive packages and water.
Another glycol-based coolant consists of propylene glycol and water. The significant difference between the two types is that propylene glycol is less toxic. Hence you will see propylene glycol in coolants used for food and drug production.
Pure water has more heat-carrying ability than pure ethylene glycol, so water would be the best coolant to use if the only consideration in selecting a coolant was its ability to carry off heat.
The use of water as a coolant presents some challenges. It forms rust on iron engine parts. The resulting corrosion interferes with heat transfer even before the build-up plugs the radiator and fills the cooling system with sediment. The rust is then carried off to other cooling areas.
Coolant helps reduce corrosion and engine rust. Coolant also provides resistance to freezing. It won’t freeze and expand in hyper-cool temperatures like water would. That protects your engine from cracking and experiencing increased pressure.
Three types of coolant are routinely used to service vehicle cooling systems.
Inorganic Acid Technology Coolant
Inorganic acid technology (IAT) is the conventional coolant used on older vehicles for many years. This coolant can come in either a green or yellow color. This type of coolant needs to be changed more frequently because it tends to lose its qualities faster.
Organic Acid Technology Coolant
There are several brands of organic acid technology (OAT) coolant. They are available in several colors, ranging from dark green and orange to pink and blue.
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology Coolant
Hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT) combines IAT and OAT coolants. HOAT is a popular coolant used in a majority of new vehicles.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications in the owner’s manual of your vehicle to verify what type of coolant your vehicle requires. Choosing the wrong product can result in poor performance or engine failure.
How Often Should You Change Engine Coolant?
That depends on your vehicle. As with all other fluids an engine requires for reliable service, coolant or antifreeze needs to be maintained and changed based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Depending on your vehicle, you may need a coolant designed for high-mileage cars, one formulated for specific manufacturers or one with specialized additives. it varies for different cars
Generally, the coolant system should be flushed and changed at least every 50,000 miles. Some newer models may require coolant servicing every 10,000 miles.
It’s essential to drain out the coolant and refill the system because the process removes rust particles and dirt that can clog up the cooling system. If you notice the coolant has foreign objects floating in it or looks rusty or colorless, it should be flushed and refilled.
The correct type and mixture of coolant should protect to:
Prevent the coolant from freezing in cold temperatures
Prevent the coolant from boiling in hot temperatures
Prevent corrosion and rust of metal parts in the cooling circuit and engine
Prevent wear of non-metallic elastomers, like rubber and plastic parts
Prevent electrolysis, which is corrosion caused when coolant breaks down and becomes electrically charged
The wrong coolant can lead to component damage and corrosion, negatively impacting a vehicle long-term. The effects are sometimes latent, meaning it can be a year before plugging, deposits, and corrosion damage causes a problem.
A malfunctioning coolant system can cause a radiator to be badly corroded or full of plugging internal deposits. When we use the incorrect coolant, people might think a radiator failed.
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