Antifreeze & Coolant – Questions & Answers
In the wintertime especially, we get lots of questions about which antifreeze to use. Gone are the days of coolant being a predictable green color. Today if you go into a well-stocked auto parts store, you’ll be confronted by a spectrum of choices. What’s the best? Why all the choices? Read on to find out what’s the best option.
Purpose – antifreeze/coolant does two things just as the name implies.
- It prevents the water in your car’s radiator from freezing in winter’s cold weather.
- It keeps the water from overheating and boiling in summer’s hot weather.
Either condition – freezing or overheating can do severe damage to your engine. So, it’s a good idea to know the basics to keep your engine running right.
Without coolant for your radiator, your vehicle engine would overheat very fast, leading to mechanical breakdown and possibly complete engine failure. While many consider oil to be a car engine’s lifeblood, think of coolant as the water that helps to get rid of the heat. Coolant does this by mixing with water in your car’s radiator.
How Coolant Works
Coolant is a combination of antifreeze and water that’s stored in your vehicle’s radiator. A good mix ratio of water to coolant is 50/50. If you have a higher percentage of antifreeze to water, it decreases the freezing point and increases the boiling point. Overall, sticking to a 50/50 mix is probably your best choice for most conditions your engine faces.
As an engine burns gas, nearly one-third of the energy produced becomes waste, either in the form of exhaust or excess heat energy. The excess heat energy that stays in the engine can’t remain or overheating, and ultimately a breakdown can happen.
Besides keeping the temperature just right, it also contains additives that prevent rust and corrosion of the entire cooling system.
The Three Basic Colors of Coolant/Antifreeze
There are three basic types of coolant, each with their own color:
- OAT – Organic Acid Technology
- IAT – Inorganic Acid Technology
- HOAT – Hybrid Organic Acid Technology
Organic Acid Technology coolants, for the most part, don’t use phosphate silicate and corrosion inhibitors. Each car manufacturer used different chemical additives to keep rust and corrosion away. And they all come in different colors which makes it a bit confusing. GM’s is orange. Audi, Volkswagen and Toyota’s chose pink. Honda made their coolant dark green. OAT coolants have one of the longest service-life, only needing to be flushed about ever 150,000 miles.
Inorganic Acid Technology comes in the green we’re all used to and serviced cars from the 20’s to the mid to late 90’s. An interesting fact is that antifreeze doesn’t have a color – it’s clear. The different colors come from the dye the manufacturer adds. Unlike OAT, this antifreeze needs to be flushed out every 30,000 miles.
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology coolants come in yellow and orange and are used in most modern European vehicles as well as Chryslers, and Fords. This coolant/antifreeze has a longer life and only needs to be flushed every 150,000 miles.
If you’re still wondering what antifreeze to use – check your owner’s manual. It will list the type. The golden rule is: use what the manufacturer recommends.
Ricochet Fuel – The Bulk Fuel Experts
We hope this article about antifreeze and coolant has been helpful and made your buying choices easier. If your company has any bulk fueling needs, contact Ricochet Fuel. We have the experience, equipment, and resources to meet your needs. We service Texas and the surrounding states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. We’d like to make you one of our satisfied customers too.