Why You Need Antifreeze

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2009)

Looking back, when I started learning how to drive I never realized how little I knew about driving or car maintenance. In fact, I remember asking one of my Driver's Education teachers the rather simple-sounding question of why do you need antifreeze? Since I was living in a small ranching and farming town at the time, I was a little embarrassed that I asked the question. After all, everyone in our town needed to be a bit of a backyard mechanic and take care of their own automotive needs.

Anyway, as you may have guessed by now, I was just a tad embarrassed when I found out that basically antifreeze is the same thing as engine coolant. However, just because antifreeze is basically the same thing as engine coolant does not mean that it is exactly the same thing. There is a slight difference between the two, and that difference is what makes it so important as to why you need antifreeze.

Basically, both engine coolant and antifreeze are designed to help your engine operate properly and ensure that the engine does not get damaged. Engine coolant is specifically designed to keep your engine from overheating, while antifreeze is designed to keep your engine from overheating as well as from freezing during the winter—hence the name. However, both need to be mixed with water to work properly or there could be problems.

As your engine reaches a certain temperature the fluid in your radiator begins to boil. When that happens, the evaporated fluid starts to condense into water vapor and that vapor starts to stick to the interior of the engine. Over time, this condensation can cause rust, which can flake off and lead to other problems. These problems can even get worse in the winter time, when the condensation can freeze, expand, and end up creating even more damage and actually causing parts of your engine to break off.

You can reduce the likelihood of this damage by adding the engine coolant or antifreeze to the water in your radiator, in the proper amounts. If you use too much antifreeze, you are going to find that your engine can actually overheat since antifreeze does not boil as easily as water does. If you use too little antifreeze then you are going to find that your coolant system is more likely to freeze.

To achieve the proper mix, all that you need to do is create a mixture of half water and half antifreeze. One word of caution though—some antifreeze comes already premixed, so you are not going to need to mix it. If you do, then you are going to throw the ratio out of balance and possibly end up damaging your engine.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Best Times for Pruning

Often one of the most confusing things about gardening is learning when to prune. While it is not necessarily fatal to your ...

Discover More

Clown Fish

Most people recognize clown fish from the movie Finding Nemo, but there is much more to them than can be found in that ...

Discover More

Fixing a Rock Chip

If you have a rock chip in your windshield you can always hire some one to do the work for you, and end up paying up to ...

Discover More
MORE CAR TIPS

What is the Check Engine Light?

There are several different types of check engine lights. What each of them means can be a little confusing for a new driver. ...

Discover More

Check Your Air Filter - Video

You would not believe how easy it is to check your air filter. Take a look at this informative video, and learn how you to ...

Discover More

Adding Power Steering Fluid

If you have power steering in your car then you know how helpful this feature can be. However, it is necessary to ...

Discover More

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Links and Sharing
Share