With the frost and ice being felt more than ever across the UK, now is an important time to ensure your car is being maintained.
With this in mind, one check that needs carrying out is that your car engine’s cooling system is topped up with antifreeze. Here, car radiator stockists Advanced Radiators explains why this is a vital procedure and how to go about adding antifreeze if your car is running low:
What is antifreeze?
Antifreeze is a liquid that mixes with water in order to create a fluid known as coolant. This works as an agent to prevent any water that is functioning to cool your engine from freezing when the temperatures begin to dip. Also take note that antifreeze has another benefit, in stopping water from boiling in high temperatures, making it handy all year round.
Be aware that there are two different types of antifreeze widely available too, though your car may not be compatible with both.
This is because any vehicle built from 1998 onwards typically require organic acid technology (OAT) antifreeze, as it better protects aluminium components from corrosion. Vehicles built before 1998 usually require non-OAT-based antifreeze — also known as glycol antifreeze — due to it providing enhanced protection to the copper and brass components of the car.
How do I check there’s enough antifreeze/coolant in my car?
Checking that your car has an adequate amount of coolant is simple; just pop open your bonnet and look for a white, translucent coolant overflow tank.
Once you have located this, check that the liquid inside the tank is sitting between the high and low level marks clearly indicated on the unit.
On older vehicles, there may be no coolant reservoir present under the bonnet. In this instance, unscrew the cap on your car radiator once the engine has cooled — if the coolant is sitting below the low level or you cannot see the liquid at all, then the tank will need to be filled.
My antifreeze/coolant is below the low level, what should I do?
If you’ve found that the coolant has dipped below the low level of the coolant overflow tank, first ensure that the engine has cooled down before proceeding with topping it up. Adding more liquid to a hot engine runs the risk of you being burnt or the engine block cracking.
Once the engine has cooled, add a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, to either your car’s coolant overflow tank or the car radiator until the solution has reached the high level mark. Take note that some coolants come pre-mixed.
Won’t adding water alone to my car’s cooling system be adequate?
Pure water should not be used in your car’s cooling system, as the water pump, radiator, heating system and the engine of your vehicle can corrode should there be subjected to prolonged contact with normal tap water.