You don't want to discover the significance of antifreeze by being forced to pull over, due to an overheated engine. It acts as an engine coolant, which also contains lubricants and anti-corrosion agents to keep components like your radiator properly lubricated and free from corrosion. Without it, your car will overheat, which could lead to some pretty costly engine repairs. Fortunately, AutoZone carries antifreeze that's specifically made for your vehicle, so you can keep your vehicle's reservoir filled to the proper level.
The words antifreeze and coolant are often used interchangeably in the context of an engine's cooling system, but technically antifreeze needs to be diluted to create an engine coolant consisting of half antifreeze and half water.
How Does Antifreeze Work?
Because most modern engines use aluminum cylinder heads, they require the protective, anticorrosive properties of antifreeze. It reduces the freezing point of the water that's used to cool your engine. When water freezes, it expands, so without the fluid, this expansion could cause your engine block to crack and ruin your motor. Most vehicles require a 50/50 ratio of water to antifreeze, but if you live in a warmer climate, you can use a greater percentage of water and less antifreeze.
Types of Antifreeze
Although it is sometimes easy to forget about, adding engine coolant to your vehicle is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can perform. Since different vehicles have different requirements, here are the types of antifreeze you should be familiar with.
- IAT (Inorganic Additive Technology): One of the first varieties, IAT is a green-colored solution that requires changing every couple of years or more. This is one of the reasons many factories have stopped using it in production.
- OAT (Organic Acid Technology): Typically red, orange, purple, or yellow in color, this may only be used with cars that are produced by General Motors. While this type can last for up to five years, it cannot be used in other vehicles.
- HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology): Mostly used in Ford and Chrysler automobiles, this comes in yellow or orange and can last for up to five years or more.
- Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Cooling Systems: These types of systems combine the use of traditional liquid along with special heating pipes. The only that should be used with a hybrid vehicle is one that meets the manufacturer's specifications.
You can find out both what kind your vehicle takes, and how long it lasts by checking the service intervals in either the owner's manual or a service manual.
How to Check Your Coolant
Having your engine overheat can not only leave you stranded but can cause extreme damage as well. If you are unsure of how to check your levels
, it is pretty easy and something you can do yourself.
The coolant reservoir should be a semitransparent tank with measuring lines on its side. Pop the hood of your car and look at the side of the tank to see how far the liquid is away from the top line. If your levels are below halfway, then you will need to add fluid as soon as possible.
How to Change Your Coolant
If you find that your reservoir tank is in need of a refill, make sure you allow your vehicle to cool down first. Opening the caps or adding fluid while the engine is hot can cause extreme damage to your engine and injure you. Read the manufacturer's instructions on how to change your coolant, and then add it until the solution reaches the line marked "full" on the tank.
Most of the time, these products are already pre-mixed and ready to pour. However, if you are using a more concentrated solution, you may have to dilute the mixture with some water before adding it to your tank. Typically, you will use a half-and-half mixture of water and coolant for the best results.
With AutoZone's wide selection, you can easily find the right antifreeze for your specific make and model. Whether you want an antifreeze coolant for BMW 3 Series or Honda Civic antifreeze, we've got everything you need. We even have a coolant flush & fill guide
. Stop by your local AutoZone and ask our staff how antifreeze improves the quality of your ride or order online.