The engine coolant needs to give your car’s cooling system 2 protection - (1) over boiling ( in tropical climate - antifreeze in temperate climate ) & (2) anti corrosion protection.
If you are using just water or distilled water in your car’s cooling system, there is a good chance corrosion is happening. The chart gives you an early indication to look out for problems that may occur in your car’s cooling system.
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There are mainly 3 types of antifreeze coolant formulations, Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT), Organic Acid Technology (OAT) & Hybrid Organic Technology (HOAT).
IAT have additives, which would be depleted while forming the protective layer. Their coolant coding are conventionally green or yellow colour. IAT coolant needs to be changed at regular intervals of 2 years. In Asia, IAT coolant poses a service problem of silicate drop out & corrosiveness would lead to damages in water pump seals & poor heat transfer.
OAT coolant are formulated with Extended-Life carboxylate based material. Full carboxylate coolants contain no silicates & they only act upon areas or spots where corrosion protection is needed, instead of forming protective layers. Thus giving rise to their long life heavy duty protection. OAT coolant are compatible with existing IAT & HOAT coolant & can be mixed without problems with chemical reactions. They are pink or orange colour coded.
HOAT coolant are formulated with the combination of conventional IAT coolant & organic technology. They are usually used in cars with coper/brass radiator or heater core. The IAT part of the coolant provides quick anti corrosion actions while the OAT formula provides for extended service interval. They are blue, pink & orange colour coded.
Why do we need antifreeze or coolant in our radiator cooling system in a hot climate? Anti freeze like the word suggest, keeps the radiator from freezing in winter, so you can still drive your car when its sub zero temperature in winter. The anti freeze effectively lower the freezing point of water in the radiator system. Correspondingly, when the freezing point is lowered the boiling point of the water is raised so the results of using anti freeze or engine coolant lowers the freezing point & raise the boiling point.
Increasing the boiling point
The increase in boiling point is what we’re after in a hot climate in the tropical countries like ours. A car’s engine operating temperature needs to be maintained at about 97 ℃. If the car is driven hard, high speed & in a long distance drive, the “water” in the radiator would boil at 100 ℃ causing many common sights of cars pulling over with their bonnet steaming white vapor!
Ideal coolant temperature
If you add coolant to that “water”, it can raise the boiling point to prevent this steaming disaster. The ideal mixture of coolant is a - 35 ℃ reading in the radiator system. This can be easily tested with a refractor meter. At -35 ℃, the boiling point of the coolant becomes 129 ℃. This setting would keep your car engine cool.
Between -40 to - 10 ℃, the coolant PH level is about 6.6 to 7.0. When the coolant concentration goes below - 10 ℃, it turns acidic & if its above -40 ℃, it turns alkaline. In either cases, it is corrosive at acidic or alkali states.
Summary of why you must have coolant in your radiator cooling system
Coolant keeps your engine cool
It absorbs heat & have a larger capacity to store heat as compared to water
It prevents corrosion to the engine block & radiator
Its makes your car AC colder
Coolant must be changed every 2 years or you can use a long life coolant
Check you coolant regularly to prevent overheating in the engine & premature damages to your radiator & water pump.
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