Monday, July 12, 2010

Antifreeze, Coolant, Green or Orange for the Ol' Radiator

I've been asked many times, "Isn't the orange or the long-lasting antifreeze better?" Trust me, you never want to avoid changing your coolant for as long as those antifreeze products prescribe. First off, the radiator, water pump, and various lines aren't sealed very well, and they sludge just like your motor oil and they become less effective the more you drive. Though, I must say your radiator coolant doesn't go bad for the exact same reasons as your motor oil; the metaphor suffices.

Antifreeze, coolant, or water as people call it gets darker with rust and lighter with water. You see, the water and not antifreeze will boil off or evaporate. These two events can make your coolant appear to look nicer, longer than it really should. They make tester strips for antifreeze, but you might as well just change coolant by a schedule (the test strips are better if you can't afford the flush yet, then you know what to budget for). Just like your motor oil, the more you change the antifreeze the better, but once a year or every 12,000 miles should be more than enough to keep this system in tip-top shape with fewer break downs, The cooler the engine the longer it'll last. Saves money!

I'll admit to not writing this knowledge about antifreeze for a time because I don't think my advertiser's can ship coolant, but since this topic affects your truck's or car's miles per gallon this website would be incomplete without an article about this vital system.

Recently my truck's miles per gallon was down and it kept threatening to or actually over-heating. I kept thinking of complex solutions, but I realized that I should just check my coolant level and it was down one or two quarts (I usually buy antifreeze in 5 quart jugs, it's about the same cost as when you by it in the 4 quart jugs). My miles per gallon was down about a mile per gallon and with that being a 5 percent decrease in cost for gas or petrol as our British friends call it, it was time for me to check things out. In a couple weeks, I'll see if the antifreeze being low was the cause, but regardless, my engine won't last as long if it keeps running hot. A breaking down engine will definitely hurt my truck's miles per gallon!

My car's coolant was changed, or rather flushed a couple years ago, so it's over due, but it really made my engine smoother just like any change of oil, transmission fluid, or even a change from conventional to synthetic will. All of these changes boost the truck's or car's miles per gallon, not to mention how a tune up increases performance too.

Now remember, when checking that your antifreeze fluid is up, don't just look in your radiator coolant reservoir, but look in the radiator itself as well. Don't do this if your car is hot! You could get toxic coolant all over the ground and get it into our environment -- not good.

You can also check out my other article on how I solved another car from overheating that had just fine coolant levels: The K&N Performance Filter.

1 comment:

Auto Bravado said...

Note: a couple of weeks later, I had found that my truck's miles per gallon had not only gone back up, but it had gone a little higher than what it was before. I always distrust short term results, but as time has carried on, I can't yet disagree with my initial findings.