Which Antifreeze Should You Use In Your Car?

By Julia Freeman

Antifreeze is a critical part of your car’s winter defences. Coolant, with its antifreeze additive, penetrates right to the heart of the engine so it’s important to get the right antifreeze for your car, especially as modern formulations can be vehicle specific.

Car Engine Antifreeze

Unfortunately, antifreeze is something we tend to forget about, but it plays a vital role in your car’s good health.

What does antifreeze do?

Antifreeze performs three vital tasks for your engine:

  • It lowers the freezing point of your car’s cooling system in winter

  • It raises the boiling point of the cooling system in summer

  • It protects the engine from rust and corrosion throughout the year

This chemical additive safeguards engine performance year-round which is why it’s so important to use the right antifreeze for your car.

What’s the difference between antifreeze and coolant?

Antifreeze is a chemical component that’s mixed with water to produce coolant. This ensures that the water in your car’s radiator doesn’t boil away in summer or freeze in winter.
 
The most common ratio of antifreeze to water is 50:50 which can lower the freezing point to -37C and raise the boiling point to 270C. However, it’s important not only that you use the right antifreeze for your car but that you use the right coolant mix as pure antifreeze freezes at around -20C.

The importance of the right coolant

In older vehicles, the cooling systems were fairly standard but as automotive technology has developed, so has the need for the right coolant for components made from a wider range of materials including silicon, steel and nylon. Coolant may vary by car manufacturer, model and year.

What should I choose for my vehicle?

There are four major types of coolant:

  • IAT (Inorganic Additive Technology): standard low silicate coolants require additives every 25,000 miles

  • OAT (Organic Acid Technology): nitrate free coolants that don’t require additives and that provide 600,000 miles of service

  • NOAT (Nitrated Organic Acid Technology): extended life coolants are also available but require additives every 600,000 miles

  • HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology): combining the benefits of both technologies these are low silicate, nitrated coolants that require additives every 25,000 miles

As a general rule of thumb, cars manufactured before 1998 usually rely on OAT technology coolants that offer better rust protection. Cars made after 1998 require non-silicate coolant that isn’t OAT based.
 
If you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, you’ll require a manufacturer-specified coolant that is specific to your vehicle type.

The importance of good maintenance

In our experience, regularly checking coolant levels is just part of a good maintenance schedule that can extend the lifespan of your vehicle. It’s not difficult to check and could save you from a huge bill if your car overheats.

  • Check the level of the coolant is between the minimum and maximum marks

  • Check hoses for signs of moisture or white staining that could indicate a leak

  • Top up and replace the coolant filler cap

Book a service at Protyre

Protyre offers far more than tyres from brand names such as Pirelli. Why not book in for one of our Bronze, Silver or Gold car servicing packages from our qualified service technicians and we'll check your coolant status for you (together with much, much more).

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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