Did you know that too much antifreeze can actually raise the coolant freezing point, rather than lower it? The proper balance of water and antifreeze is required to maintain good cooling performance and prevent freeze damage.
All engines require antifreeze in the coolant for freeze protection, lubrication and corrosion prevention. The usual mixture is 50 percent antifreeze and 50 percent water. Once the concentration of antifreeze is greater than about 60 percent, the freeze point starts going back up instead of down. When the concentration gets too high, the silicates in the antifreeze can start to separate and form a thick gel that clogs radiator passages.
To avoid problems, use a low-silicate antifreeze in a 50/50 pre-mix solution. If the coolant is low, top it off with plain water if a 50/50 mixture is not available. Consult your engine manual or local engine service center for the proper antifreeze formulation and concentration for your specific engine and climate.
This feature offers a variety of short tips and facts about apparatus maintenance and testing. Look for it every month. Submissions of 150 words or less are welcome from our readers, subject to editing. Send them to Senior Editor Chris Cavette at firstname.lastname@example.org.