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Check radiator antifreeze regularly

Many people know how important it is to change the oil and that tires must have a certain depth. Unfortunately, the control of the coolant is often forgotten. It is just as important protection for the engine as the oil. Always make sure that there is enough coolant and that it contains sufficient antifreeze in winter. Below you will find important information about the functions of coolants, how to check and refill them and what types of antifreeze there are.

To the radiator antifreeze assortment
You can see a coolant reservoir in the engine compartment of a car, which contains coolant incl. radiator antifreeze and is currently being opened

What are the functions of the radiator antifreeze?

Temperatures in a running engine are very hot, so it needs coolant to keep from overheating. Every coolant consists of several basic substances. Broadly speaking, these are: water, monoethylene glycol (MEG), ethylene glycol (EG) or monopropylene glycol (MPG) and special additives. A main distinction is whether the coolant is silicate-containing or silicate-free. We will discuss this difference later. Radiator antifreeze generally provides protection against three hazards:

  • Rust / Corrosion
  • Overheating
  • Frost

Other protective functions can include protection against cavitation (vapor bubble formation in liquids) and prevention of deposits.

Important in the coolants is the correct mixing ratio to have the required antifreeze in winter. Thus, pipes can not freeze and consequential damage can be avoided. You can choose between radiator antifreeze concentrate, which is then mixed with (distilled) water to suitable parts, and ready-to-use coolant mixtures.

How much antifreeze is in the coolant?

The antifreeze content in the coolant should be checked every winter to prevent nasty surprises. To check, you can purchase a simple antifreeze tester for little money. We carry antifreeze tester from the manufacturer Gefo in our range.

  1. Only perform the test when the engine is cold. Otherwise, the cooling system is under pressure and there is a risk of scalding and injury. In addition, mixing the cold fluid and the warm system can lead to temperature fluctuations and thus to stress cracks.
  2. Check the antifreeze concentration. To do this, simply hold the gauge in the coolant tank. A value of at least -25 degrees is recommended. If this value is exceeded, you should refill radiator antifreeze.
  3. Check the level. On the coolant tank is a min and a max mark. The coolant should be between these two markings. If the level is below the minimum amount, coolant must be refilled.

In addition, the level should be checked regularly and the cooling system should be checked for leaks. We recommend checking the level monthly and the antifreeze concentration 1 to 2 times a year. The check is quickly performed by taking a look at the level from the coolant tank by briefly opening the hood. However, this measure can protect the engine from overheating.

On display is a GEFO brand antifreeze tester

How does the refilling of coolant and antifreeze concentrate work?

If you have noticed that the level or antifreeze concentration is too low, you need to add coolant. There are a few tips to follow when doing so.

  1. Fill only when the engine is cold
  2. Do not top up beyond the maximum fill line
  3. Note the mixing ratio, as a rule, at least 30% and a maximum of 60% antifreeze concentrate should be used. The temperature should be below -25°C.
  4. Use the correct coolant and antifreeze concentrate to refill

The easiest way is to stick with the brand you used for refilling. If this is not possible or you are not sure which concentrate you have used, you must pay attention to the releases of your manufacturer. You will find these in the operating instructions or manual or on the coolant tank.

Above all, silicate-containing antifreeze concentrates must not be mixed with silicate-free antifreeze concentrates. This is the only way to avoid a chemical reaction that causes the cooling water to clump or lose important properties (such as corrosion protection). It can also prevent damage to the cooling water pump.
Important: By the way, it is a myth that the color of the concentrate makes a statement about which concentrates can and may be mixed together. Each manufacturer chooses its own color system. Therefore, only the manufacturer's releases on the canisters of the antifreeze are decisive.

If you notice on the road that your vehicle has too little coolant and there is a risk of the engine overheating, you can also top up with just water for the time being. Make sure that it is water that is as lime-free as possible, preferably distilled water. You should then supplement the antifreeze content as soon as possible.

On display is a radiator antifreeze concentrate C13 in purple from the brand Alpine

What types of radiator antifreeze are there?

Antifreeze concentrates are divided into three categories:

  • IAT (Inorganic Acid Technology): Coolants with inorganic acid such as silicate
  • OAT (Organic Acid Technology): Cooling liquids with organic acids
  • HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology): further developed variant of OAT coolants with silicate as a component. This combines the advantages of IAT and OAT coolants without chemically reacting with each other.

Which radiator antifreeze is right for your vehicle, please refer to the manual of your vehicle. In contrast, you are free to choose the brand. As long as the manufacturer's approvals are met, you can choose from the following premium brands with us.

Coolants in our store always contain the radiator antifreeze at the same time. Contrary to the handling of windshield cleaners, where only seasonally the antifreeze is added, the same is always used with coolant all year round. Thus, antifreeze is also always admixed. We carry coolants with radiator antifreeze as a concentrate and also as Ready-Mix. By entering your vehicle data, you will be shown the appropriate items for your vehicle. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service by email.

To the radiator antifreeze assortment