The most common formulation of antifreeze is green in color and uses ethylene glycol as a base with anti-corrosion additives mixed in. The ethylene glycol part of the formula provides crucial anti-freezing characteristics and the additives deliver the anti-rust and anti-corrosion capabilities. Beginning in 1995 most GM vehicles started coming from the factory filled with extended-life antifreeze, trademarked as DEX-COOL®. Different in appearance, DEX-COOL®, and its equivalents, is an orange/amber color. It still uses ethylene glycol as a base, but contains a different additive package than standard green-colored antifreeze. This coolant was originally designed to protect cooling systems for up to 150,000 miles or five years. Other antifreeze formulations include silicate-free for Japanese cars and phosphate-free for European cars.
When properly mixed, antifreeze and water provide excellent anti-freeze, anti-boil and anticorrosive properties.
Check your owner’s manual for antifreeze usage specifications. Antifreeze, when mixed at a 50/50 ratio with water, provides excellent anti-freeze, anti-boil, and anti-corrosive properties. In extremely cold environments, the ratio for standard ethylene glycol can go as high as 70% antifreeze, 30% water. With DEX-COOL®, the maximum ratio of antifreeze to water is 60/40. It’s best not to mix antifreeze types unless absolutely necessary. All coolants must be diluted with water at the proper ratios and should not be used full-strength. Full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water. Generally, standard ethylene glycol type antifreeze should be changed every two years or 24,000 miles. Even though the coolant freeze protection may test OK with a hydrometer (freeze protection only drops with extreme dilution, not with age), the additives break down over time. When changing coolant, it also presents an opportune time to replace bad cooling system hoses. Leaking, brittle, spongy, cracked, or rotted hoses should be replaced before new antifreeze is installed. Hose clamp connections should also be checked to ensure that they’re secure and free from leaks. If you decide to service your cooling system yourself, use extreme caution: Opening a hot radiator or coolant reservoir/overflow tank can cause severe burns. Be sure that both the engine and cooling system are cool before you begin any heating/cooling system maintenance or repairs. Because of lower hood profiles and cramped engine quarters, it’s also possible that your vehicle may be equipped with an air bleed for the cooling system. Unless the cooling system is bled properly, air may stay trapped in the system and cause erratic temperatures, or in extreme cases, engine or cooling system damage. If you’re unsure about any aspect of cooling system service, don’t take a chance. Have your car looked at by D and R Car Care and Lube Center.
D and R Car Care and Lube Center uses a multi-purpose antifreeze called Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic Coolant. This antifreeze features a patented, advanced organic acid technology. Its patented inhibitors will provide maximum protection against damaging rust and corrosion in all vehicles regardless of make, model, year or original antifreeze color.
Two different types of cooling fans may be used for the cooling system. Traditionally, vehicles have used belt-driven, mechanical fans using the engine to turn them. Mechanical fans are still used on some cars and light trucks. Some of these fans use a normal clutch for high RPMs or a temperature-sensitive fan clutch that allows the fan to disengage and engage according to different operating conditions. Electric cooling fans began to emerge around 1980 and only come on when needed. The evolution from mechanical fans to electric fans arose from sideways-mounted (transverse) engines and transmissions, and the need to reduce weight while increasing fuel economy. Some vehicles may use multiple electric fans for better control of the cooling system, while others use multiple fans for additional cooling when the air conditioning system is being used inside your vehicle. Today’s vehicles use electric cooling fans controlled by the same computer that controls the engine.
The cooling fan circulates air through the radiator and air conditioning condenser so it can release engine heat and air conditioning heat into the surrounding air. With the introduction of fan clutches and electric cooling fans, fans have become more efficient by operating only when they need to. When traveling down the road, usually at roads speeds above 30 mph, mechanical fans basically freewheel and electric fans stay off. Air passing through the radiator because of vehicle movement is all that’s needed to ensure heat exchange.
A fan that does not provide sufficient circulation usually causes overheating and poor air conditioning operation. A fan that stays engaged at all times can cause poor fuel economy, unwanted noise and may run the battery dead (electric fans with A/C off). First, inspect the area around the radiator to make sure it’s free of leaves and other debris. On vehicles with mechanical fans, turn the engine off and check to make sure the fan is intact and that the drive belt is tight. On vehicles with electric fans, check your owner’s manual to determine what fuses and relays may be involved in controlling the fan. Replace any bad fuses and make sure that the cooling fan relay is properly seated in its socket. If you suspect a problem with your vehicle’s cooling fan, have it inspected right away by D and R Car Care and Lube Center.