How important is Anti-freeze?

Young auto mechanic checks the water level in the radiator in the car. He was wearing white...
(Phira Phonruewiangphing | Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Sponsored - We all know that anti-freeze keeps the coolant in your radiator from freezing in the winter. How does it help in the summer? One of the main things that it does is raise the boiling point of water. This allows the coolant to be more efficient at keeping the engine cooler. Also, air pockets in the cooling system will cause the coolant to stop circulating which will overheat the engine. Lastly, it acts as a rust inhibitor and a lubricant for the water pump. If your vehicle has no anti-freeze or little anti-freeze, the engine block will rust and cause severe and very costly damage. You need a mix of 50% water and 50% anti-freeze, and it will help keep the cooling system working great for years.

We get a lot of calls about vehicles with coolant leaks, and customers ask if they can drive the vehicle in and keep putting water in their radiator. The short answer is I don’t recommend it. To have your vehicle towed in from a local location from us is usually $65.00. Overheating your engine can cause severe internal engine damage, costing thousands of dollars to repair. So, a $65.00 tow versus an engine replacement or head gasket repair is a smart choice.

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The other reason I don’t recommend it is that there are several components in a vehicle now a days that are made of plastic. Plastic can go from a slow leak to a large crack, and you can’t keep fluid in the vehicle. This can happen in a second and then you don’t have coolant in your vehicle. Also, if you think you can watch your gauge and stop the vehicle before it overheats, sorry you are wrong. Coolant temperature gauges read coolant temperature accurately but do not read air temperature correctly. So, if you lose your coolant rapidly due to a broken plastic piece, the gauge never reads hot. If will read slightly cooler as your engine gets damaged.

So, in the long run, get it towed in…it’s cheaper than engine repair. Also, keep anti-freeze in your vehicle and replace it about every 10 years or 100.00 miles. Come see us at White’s Automotive Center if you have any questions!