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What Does Coolant/Antifreeze Actually Do?

Antifreeze, also referred to as coolant, is a mixture of ethylene glycol, lubricant, and inhibitors added to your car's radiator. A 50/50 dilution with water serves to maintain an even temperature within the engine, and this often colorful mixture enables your car to function optimally in both warm and cold conditions. Here's a breakdown of what antifreeze does in your vehicle.

Prevents freezing

As the name suggests, the antifreeze will prevent the water in your car's engine and radiator from freezing in cold weather conditions. Should the water in your radiator or engine freeze up, it may cause significant damage that will be costly to repair.

Prevents overheating

In hot weather, antifreeze prevents the water in the radiator and engine from boiling. Again, boiling water within the radiator will result in permanent damage and lead to overheating and failure of the engine itself.


Antifreeze contains lubricants that lubricate surfaces with which it comes into contact, thus promoting efficiency and reducing wear and tear. A good example is your car's water pump.

Prevents corrosion

Your car's radiator is exposed to a mixture of elements and metals under various constantly changing conditions, which can easily lead to interactions and corrosion of the radiator. A corroded radiator will be inefficient and become leaky.

Responsible car owners should note that antifreeze is toxic when ingested and should be kept away from kids. Make sure to store it far from reach and ensure that the bottle is always clearly marked. The antifreeze cap in your vehicle will likely be marked with a danger sign.

Antifreeze is an essential component of any car, regardless of where it operates or stored. In warmer temperatures, the addition of antifreeze may not be as necessary as in icy conditions. Therefore, car owners should check the antifreeze levels every three months and top up if necessary. Additionally, if the coolant changes color or if you notice rust, it should be changed. Neglecting to top up antifreeze or change it when appropriate can lead to significant damage and costs.

If you need a cooling system repair, give our auto repair shop a call today!