Anti-Freeze Education: Must-Read Answers About the Temperature-Controlling Chemical
As a Canadian driver, you’re probably more than familiar with the dark winter mornings, where your car handles are glazed over, your wipers are frozen in place and your windows refuse to roll down. When the deep chill of the season sets in over your world, it tends to bring with it some major automobile inconveniences.
The exterior issues the cold causes your car may be fairly obvious, but it’s how the low temps affect the internal system of your vehicle that you need to be aware of. Ensuring you’re staying topped up with appropriate fluids will be the difference between a smooth ride and a stalled one.
Read on for a bit of anti-freeze education that will keep you cruising safely all winter long:
In A Jiffy, Anti-Freeze Is….
A liquid, usually one based on ethylene glycol, which can be added to water to lower the freezing point of the radiator in your car.
Mixing It Up
Putting straight anti-freeze in your car is a no-no. Running 100% anti-freeze can actually be just as bad as running pure water! It’s actually a proper mixture of water and the glycol-based anti-freeze that will give you the most protection from not only the cold, but the heat of the summer as well. This can be 50/50, 60/40 or even 70/30. There are a lot of product lines that come pre-mixed to save you the hassle of messy measurement, which is what we would suggest purchasing for top-up purposes!
Not sure which solution to use for your car specifically? Pop in and ask at your local Jiffy Lube!
The Seasonal Switch
You read it right! Don’t let the name fool you, anti-freeze is needed in the warmer seasons as well! The proper term for it at this time is actually a ‘coolant’. When you hear the terms coolant and anti-freeze being thrown around, they are actually the same fluid just acting in a different way when faced with different temperature levels.
See, the key component that we mentioned earlier, the ethylene glycol is one cool (no pun intended) chemical. When mixed correctly, it keeps your radiator fluid from freezing in the winter and then also has the power to keep that same fluid from boiling in the summer.
Still have inquiries about proper seasonal vehicle fluids? We’re waiting to answer all your Q’s at a Jiffy Lube near you!
Most anti-freeze manufacturers use a simple system of colouring.
Traditional anti-freeze is a bright green. Dexcool anti-freeze (a long-life coolant used if your vehicle is compatible and if it’s manufacturer recommended) is generally orange or red in colour.
That makes it pretty tough to confuse the two which is necessary, because mixing them together can cause serious problems. There are also ‘universal’ coolants that are typically yellow as well, but universal is a loaded term. It does not mean one-fluid-fits-all in this case, so when in doubt, read the product package or consult your owners manual for specific applications.
Colour isn’t as reliable as specific instructions are. Some manufacturers do have specific colours of anti-freeze which are simply their choice of dye additives (such as blue or just clear, which can easily be mistaken for water until tested).
Still a bit confused by the colour system? Stop by your local Jiffy Lube and let us clarify!
Flushing the System
Many vehicles come with long-life coolant these days and it’s usually recommended that they be serviced between 100,000 – 240,000 kms. Many manufacturers give a time limit as well, which usually doesn’t surpass 5 years.
Chemically, the coolant/anti-freeze may test well for many years but this doesn’t account for deposits that form inside your car’s system. When deposits form they can end up plugging important internal engine parts and reduce the engines cooling efficiency, which ends up making it take longer to warm up in the winter.
Looking for a professional system flush? Have it done appointment-free at your nearest Jiffy Lube!
How is the testing done exactly? Using a hydrometer (or for even more accurate results, a PH litmus test), you are able to test anti-freeze for its freezing and boiling point. As mentioned above, what can’t be tested is the deposits that form in the system, so service decisions shouldn’t be made solely on this test alone.
If your manufacturer instructs you in your manual with a specific time and mileage recommendation, they have a good reason for that!
Need to have your car’s fluids tested? Jiffy Lube will get the job done and give you understandable results with expert efficiency!
While this doesn’t have to do with your car, we feel the need to offer a helpful piece of anti-freeze advice regarding your pets and general wildlife. Anti-freeze happens to have a sweet taste to it, and when animals come into contact with the liquid, they’re apt to lap it up. When ingested though, anti-freeze is highly poisonous and even the smallest amount could cause a pet fatality.
So, make sure to mop up any spills after topping up your vehicle, and keep any bottles of fluid up and away from those close-to-the-ground critters!
Where Jiffy Lube Comes In
We hope these anti-freeze facts provided some clarity on the chemical substance, but if your head is still feeling a little fuzzy when it comes to coolant, Jiffy Lube is here for you.
With no appointment necessary, we have everything needed to service any vehicle that drives in. We know what your manufacturer recommends and we can help you make an informed decision about your services needs.
Click here to find a Jiffy Lube near you today, then drive in and drive on!