What the difference between coolant and anti-freeze? I get this question a lot at my workshop.
Here is the Girls Auto Clinic answer: Essentially, they are the same. People use them interchangeably. Here is the technical answer: Coolant = Antifreeze + Water.
Other tips about coolant:
- Coolant protects the engine and metal parts that it touches from corrosion.
- Coolant maintains the temperature of your engine. Your engine should not be too hot (overheating) or too cold (burn more gas and car runs crappy). It needs to be just right, hence, the temperature gauge on your dashboard is in the middle.
- Coolant is a 50/50 antifreeze/water mix OR 70/30 antifreeze/water mix. Guess which one is more expensive? 50/50 works fine, but 70/30 will protect more from corrosion.
- Coolant is inexpensive, $10-15 a gallon, but without coolant in your radiator and other parts of your cooling system, you can kill your engine (very expensive). You may want to keep some in the car for emergencies.
- Not only does antifreeze not freeze, it can also get up to 265 degrees F without boiling.
- Coolant is normally green, orange, or pink (see last week’s tip).
- Coolant needs to be replaced (entirely flushed out and new coolant put in) about 3-5 years depending on the age of your vehicle and the miles. Check you owner’s manual to see what it recommends.
*Tip of the Week