What is Antifreeze & Why is it Important?

Your vehicle uses lots of different fluids that serve different functions, such as lubrication, temperature regulation, and more. Among the different fluids car owners need to maintain, antifreeze is one that attracts quite a few questions! Hendrick Buick GMC Cary is a trusted resource for service and maintenance tips, so keep reading as we clear up the unknown with answers to questions like “what is antifreeze?” and “is antifreeze coolant?”

What is Antifreeze’s Color?

Antifreeze typically contains one main component, either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. The color of antifreeze can vary with its properties, with green, pink, or orange fluid available at auto shops in Charlotte. Green antifreeze is the most widely used, but if you’re changing antifreeze at home you should check the owner’s manual to be certain.

Is Antifreeze Coolant?

If you’ve ever found yourself asking this question, you’re not alone. It’s common to use “antifreeze” and “coolant” as interchangeable terms, but coolant is actually a mixture containing antifreeze with the addition of water, at a 50:50 ratio. Other, more potent coolant mixtures have a 70:30 ratio of antifreeze to water. Judging by their names, you’d probably think antifreeze and coolant serve a completely opposite purpose, but they share the same end goal in regulating engine temperature as you cruise around Raleigh.

What is Antifreeze Used for in the Engine?

Antifreeze helps regulate your engine’s temperature, but it’s stored in the radiator. The engine bay has a reservoir that serves as a connection to the radiator. Antifreeze is circulated throughout the engine by the water pump, allowing the heat from combustion to be absorbed by coolant and returned to the radiator, where it’s air-cooled to eliminate excess heat. All of these steps make up one cycle that repeats as you drive.

Why Do Cars Need Antifreeze?

Now that you know what antifreeze is used for, you can surmise that the main reason it’s so important is to prevent your engine from overheating, but that’s not the only reason your car requires it. Antifreeze prevents coolant from freezing if the outside temperature dips below zero, which is vital because if you started the engine without flowing coolant, the result could be serious damage to these components:

  • Water Pump
  • Engine Cylinders
  • Connector Rods
  • Head Gasket

If the hood of your car feels hot and/or has steam exiting from underneath, it’s important to schedule a service visit as soon as possible.

Count on Hendrick Buick GMC Cary for All Things Auto!

If you have additional questions about antifreeze, contact us to be connected with our service department. Our friendly advisors are always here to provide tips and advice you can trust! We’re here to help you understand and keep up with Buick maintenance and GMC maintenance, so your vehicle continues to run at peak performance.

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