How Does Antifreeze Work, and Why Is It Important?

December 3, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

Even if you’re not an experienced driver, you’ve likely at least heard about antifreeze or have seen a container at an auto shop. After all, its bright color is hard to miss.
But what exactly is antifreeze and why does your vehicle need it?
Continue reading to find out—this post will cover top FAQs on what you need to know about engine coolant.

What is antifreeze?

Antifreeze is an engine coolant that regulates the temperature under your hood. In sweltering summer temperatures, antifreeze keeps the water in your engine and radiator from boiling. And, as the name suggests, antifreeze prevents the water from freezing in the frigid winter months.

Preventing boiling and preventing freezing are its two main jobs, but antifreeze also acts as a lubricant for various engine components and prevents engine corrosion.

Why is antifreeze important?

Letting your antifreeze level drop too low or failing to fill it up at all leads to some big problems for your vehicle. First off, the engine can either overheat or seize up from cold temperatures without the right amount of antifreeze in the reservoir. You’ll also run into premature wear and tear on your engine, which can cost a ton of money to fix.

A large container of antifreeze only costs a couple of bucks, so there’s no point in not keeping a jug of it handy in your garage.

Are antifreeze and engine coolant the same thing?

The terms antifreeze and coolant are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two products. Coolant refers to the mixture of antifreeze and water that you pour into the reservoir. Antifreeze is the glycol component of the mixture.

There’s no need to worry about confusing the two terms. Whether you ask your mechanic to top off your antifreeze or engine coolant, they’ll know what you’re talking about.

How often should antifreeze be checked?

You can check your antifreeze level by popping the hood and looking at the coolant reservoir, a clear, plastic tank near the radiator. There should be a clearly marked fill line right on the side of the reservoir that lets you know how much antifreeze your car needs.
Most professionals advise checking your antifreeze twice a year: once before summer and once before winter. Ensuring your antifreeze is topped off before the two most important seasons helps ensure your vehicle won’t experience any mid-trip breakdowns.

How do I know if I need more antifreeze?

Besides checking under the hood, your vehicle has a coolant warning light on the dashboard. When you see this light come on, bring your car into a mechanic to have your coolant topped off and your cooling system inspected.

We can top off your antifreeze

Filling up your antifreeze isn’t a difficult chore—it’s something most drivers can do on their own. However, we recommend bringing your car into our pros at Glen Park Autoworks for a top-off and a complete vehicle tune-up. Contact us today to learn more about why antifreeze is important or to get an estimate for our services.

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