What Is Antifreeze? Thompson Sales Explains

November 22nd, 2018 by

Woman pouring blue antifreeze into a car

As winter approaches it is more important than ever to ensure your vehicle has the correct amount of antifreeze. The vast majority of drivers pay very little attention to their vehicle’s fluids because they are unsure what is important and why. This information ‘blindspot’ can end up causing vehicle owners big money in repairs if ignored. As such, the team at Thompson Sales will give a crash course on antifreeze. We will explain what it is, what it does, and how to maintain your vehicle’s antifreeze levels.

What Is Antifreeze?

Also known as ‘engine coolant’, antifreeze is a critical liquid to the health of your engine. This fluid runs in a circular pattern through your engine to maintain the temperature of a number of key components. Antifreeze is typically composed of a mixture of ethylene glycol and water. The ethylene glycol raises the water’s boiling point and lowers the freezing point — allowing your engine to run in extreme temperatures. 

How Does It Work?

Antifreeze is poured into a reservoir connected to your vehicle’s radiator. The liquid travels in a circular pattern out from the radiator and is driven by your vehicle’s water pump. The fluid travels through your engine where it removes combustion-generated heat. Then antifreeze travels through the heater core, where it supplies the heat that warms the vehicle’s cabin. Lastly, the fluid returns to the radiator, where excess heat is jettisoned. This process continues as long as the engine is running. 

How to Maintain Your Vehicle’s Antifreeze

One of the first signs that your antifreeze fluids are incorrect is your vehicle’s temperature gauge. If you notice that your engine is running too hot or too cold you may need to replace or add antifreeze. Many people will notice a slightly sweet smell if their radiator has begun to leak. 

New antifreeze is typically sold as a 100 percent solution and should be diluted with water to create a 50-50 blend. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to find your vehicle’s reservoir and coolant requirements (some vehicles have specific coolant requirements). 

Ensure your engine is off before you begin, most professionals recommend allowing your engine to cool down before removing your reservoir cap. Fill the reservoir with the diluted solution until it reaches the cold fill line, before replacing and tightening the cap until it clicks shut. If you are continually needing to refill your antifreeze, you may need to have your vehicle inspected by a professional, like the team at Thompson Sales.

Visit Thompson Sales for Your Next Vehicle

At Thompson Sales, our friendly professionals will ensure your used vehicle is running at tip-top shape. Or visit our lot to see the best deals on new and used GMC, Cadillac, and Buicks. Contact us today at (417) 763-6811 or schedule a test drive online.

Posted in Car Maintenance