Why Car Coolant is Important

Why Car Coolant is Important

Car coolant, or antifreeze coolant, is a combination of water and antifreeze that is essential for keeping your engine running. Topping up your coolant fluid levels will help to keep your car engine temperature stable and prevent it from getting too hot or freezing.

Coolant is essential for all cars and off-road vehicles, so it is important to have an understanding of which engine coolant is suitable for your vehicle.

What does coolant do?

A key part of how your engine keeps from getting too hot is your car’s radiator system. This works by transferring liquid coolant around the vital parts of the engine, picking up the heat and bringing it back to be radiated away into the air.

This process only works if there is the correct liquid coolant in the system. Maintaining the correct coolant level in your car will also help to prevent the coolant from boiling over. If the coolant does boil, heat will not be successfully transferred and some parts within the engine can be at risk of deforming. The antifreeze in coolant is also important as it prevents the coolant from evaporating or freezing over. 

Coolant is also crucial for protecting any metal, plastic, or rubber parts in your car’s engine and cooling system. Unfortunately, there are some cars that are made with very tight engine compartments that prevent adequate air flow. This can result in the engines overheating quickly if there is not sufficient cooling running through them.

Can water be used instead of coolant?

Water on its own does not work well as a coolant. The antifreeze component in proper coolant solutions is crucial, as it keeps the coolant in liquid form and prevents freezing or evaporation. It also stops the liquid from boiling. Water is usable in an emergency situation though, and is better than driving on low coolant. You should only ever do this if you intend to drive a short distance. 

Types of coolant

There are three main types of coolant that are favoured by car companies. These are Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT), Organic Acid Technology (OAT), and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT). 

IAT is the most common liquid antifreeze. It has been used for decades in older cars, and is renowned for its ability to provide unsurpassed corrosion protection.

Most modern car cooling systems use Organic Acid Technology. OAT coolants only use organic corrosion inhibitors such as carboxylates and triazole. The carboxylate acid inhibitors in OAT coolants serve as non-depleting corrosion inhibitors that help give the coolant an extended life. In some instances, this extended life can last for the lifetime of the engine or vehicle.

HOAT coolant is a mixture of Inorganic Additive Technology and Organic Acid Technology. This type has additional silicates that help protect against rusting of the aluminium components, and fight off corrosion. This coolant is also regularly used in newer cars.

Can you mix coolants?

It is recommended that you do not mix coolants, especially coolants of different types and chemical solutions. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as to what coolant your car needs, as using the wrong coolant can lead to expensive repairs.

Trust us with your next coolant service

If you have any questions about putting coolant in your car, the experts at Highfields Mechanical are here to help. You can book an automotive servicing with our team of professionals by calling us on (07) 4646 1780 or filling out our online contact form.