Us­ing the right coolant

Motor Equipment News - - KEEPING IT COOL -

En­gine coolant is a fluid mix­ture that aids heat trans­fer plus en­sures the op­ti­mum op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture of most fos­sil fuel pow­ered en­gines. Its pri­mary func­tion is to keep the en­gine at a con­stant safe op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture, but also, with the ad­di­tion of other chem­i­cals called in­hibitors, to con­trol the for­ma­tion of scale and rust.

In­hibitors also pre­vent cav­i­ta­tion, which is ox­i­da­tion from wa­ter pass­ing through the cool­ing sys­tem. An­tifreeze/anti-boil coolants lower the freezing point of the coolant while rais­ing the boil­ing point.

Cor­ro­sion in­hibitors have lit­tle or no anti-freeze/anti-boil prop­er­ties, and are used pri­mar­ily to pro­tect sur­face ma­te­ri­als in the cool­ing sys­tem from cor­ro­sion.

Type A and Type B are the two main cat­e­gories of coolant. Type A has an anti-freeze/anti-boil package in­cluded, present as eth­yl­ene gly­col or sim­i­lar; an ad­di­tive package raises the boil­ing point of the wa­ter and low­ers the freezing point.

Type B does not have an anti-freeze/ anti-boil ad­di­tive package added, and is true cor­ro­sion in­hibitor-only, with no or lit­tle AF/AB prop­er­ties. There are dif­fer­ent for­mu­la­tions of both Type A and Type B. Some are not com­pat­i­ble.

A good coolant will pro­vide the fol­low­ing: • Good heat trans­fer. • Pro­tec­tion against de­posits. • High tem­per­a­ture pro­tec­tion. • Safe to use with hard wa­ter. • Won’t dam­age and be neu­tral with

in­ter­nal com­po­nents • Re­duced foam­ing ten­dency.

A bad coolant will pro­vide none of the above.

Just be­cause a coolant is coloured doesn’t mean it’s an anti-freeze/an­ti­boil prod­uct or a cor­ro­sion in­hibitor. The colour in coolant is a dye and should never be used to dis­tin­guish the type of coolant.

Many OEM man­u­fac­tur­ers add dye in their coolant mainly to aid in iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of brand (spe­cific to that make) or type of coolant. Af­ter­mar­ket man­u­fac­tur­ers usu­ally use dye to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the type.

Type A or Type B should be clearly la­belled on the pack­ag­ing. The OEM man­u­fac­turer will in­di­cate what is suit­able for the ve­hi­cle, and this is usu­ally found in the owner’s ser­vice ap­pen­dix.

Some type A coolants are not com­pat­i­ble with each other. Or­ganic Acid Tech­nol­ogy (OAT) coolants are not com­pat­i­ble with con­ven­tional type anti-freeze types. Also avail­able are hy­brid types, which com­bine the prop­er­ties of OAT with con­ven­tional types, and these should not be used in sys­tems that con­tain con­ven­tional type A anti-freeze/anti-boil coolants.

So if there is any un­cer­tainty, the best way to make sure is to com­pletely flush and clean the coolant sys­tem us­ing a good qual­ity cool­ing sys­tem flush, be­fore a new fill of anti-freeze/ anti-boil or cor­ro­sion in­hibitor. In­for­ma­tion sup­plied by CoolDrive.

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