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Which Antifreeze is Best for Your Vehicle?

It can be difficult to decide on which products to buy for your car.  With so many products on the market these days, it can be an overwhelming task, even with help from a clerk in a Utah auto repair shop.  Throw in the fact that everyone has a different opinion on what is best for your vehicle; choosing antifreeze can be downright frustrating.

What is antifreeze exactly?  Any Utah auto repair can tell you, it is a liquid substance which circulates through an internal combustion engine and draws off excessive heat.  It is also known as engine coolant.

The two most common chemicals used as antifreeze are ethylene and propylene glycol, both of which have lower freezing points than water.  This allows antifreeze to flow freely even under cold winter conditions. Antifreeze also has a higher boiling point than pure water, which makes it ideal for summer use as well.

Remember way back when – antifreeze was antifreeze. No matter which brand you chose, the color was green, the formula was glycol-based, you mixed the antifreeze in a 50/50 ratio with water to pour it in the radiator. As the engine operated, the antifreeze would perform its primary duties of carrying heat to the radiator, preventing freezing and protecting against corrosion in the cooling system.

Standard green formula antifreeze is the type that most vehicles used until extended-life coolants were introduced back in the mid-1990s. This type of coolant contains fast-acting silicate and phosphate corrosion inhibitors that protect cast iron engines, bi-metal engines, copper/brass and aluminum radiators.  While this type of antifreeze is primarily for vehicles made pre-1996, it can also be used in virtually any vehicle regardless of year, provided all of the old coolant is completely flushed and replaced with new.

Antifreeze that is dyed orange typically contains “Organic Acid Technology” corrosion inhibitors with organic acids, but no silicates or phosphates. The most familiar OAT-based product is Dex-Cool.  The corrosion inhibitors in OAT coolants are slower acting than standard green formula coolant, but last much longer. The service life for this type of coolant is five years or 150,000 miles.

Universal formula antifreezes are marketed as being suitable for all passenger cars and light trucks, regardless of year, make or model.  The universal coolants use OAT-based corrosion inhibitors with organic acids to provide full coverage protection.  The coolant may be a yellow or amber in color.

Many Utah auto repair and parts stores the three basic types of coolant just described. When choosing a coolant refer to the vehicle owner’s manual for the type recommended for your car.  This should ensure your car running smoothly and adding to its longevity.

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06 Aug, 2010

Preventative Maintenance

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