Coolant? Antifreeze? Water?
What Is It and Why Does it Matter?
You know you need fluid in your vehicle, but perhaps you’re confused by the different terminology you’ve heard tossed around. You’ve heard that you need coolant. You’ve heard that you need antifreeze. Somebody asked if you’d checked the water in your car. Coolant and antifreeze are the same chemical compound, and both are mixed with water to keep your vehicle from overheating as it operates and from freezing when sitting idle in cold weather. When you bring your transportation to West Automotive Group in Kearny Mesa, California, our ASE and ATRA certified technicians will help you with all your preventive maintenance and engine repair needs, including keeping a check on that all-important liquid.
More About Coolant
Now that you know with certainty that antifreeze and coolant are the same things, perhaps you’re wondering if there are different kinds. Yes, there are various sorts because some are better suited to one type of auto over another. First, let’s review the categories. By far, the most common is IAT (Inorganic Additive Technology). It’s quite effective at preventing corrosion as well as serving its primary function of protecting against extreme temperatures. Some brand names are marketed toward specific makes of cars, and there are also some with additives to help older or high mileage cars.
Beyond that, certain types are noted as being best for particular auto lines. For example, the old standby (IAT) is recommended for older autos. OAT (Organic Acid Technology) is best for General Motors models, Saab, and some Volkswagens, while HOAT (Hybrid OAT) is great for Ford, Chryslers, and European vehicles. BMW, Volvo, Tesla, Mini Cooper, and some others need HOAT (Hybrid OAT, Phosphate-free). P-HOAT (Phosphated HOAT) works well for Asian-made autos such as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, and KIA. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, some Volkswagen models, and Porsche take Si-OAT (Silicated HOAT).
Common Troubles Caused by Lack of Coolant/Antifreeze
Coolant/Antifreeze is not optional. If you don’t have coolant, your vehicle has no way to dissipate the tremendous amount of heat the engine generates. Operating an auto this way will cause the car to overheat quickly. Continued use will cause catastrophic engine failure in a concise amount of time. Even a low coolant level can cause trouble. For instance, a warmer-running engine can damage components over time, particularly in older cars with less modern warning systems. Also, low coolant levels will cause dashboard warning lights to illuminate in newer vehicles. Finally, most newer cars will shut themselves off once they reach a certain temperature to save the engine. Before any of these things happen to you, visit West Automotive Group In Kearny Mesa, CA, for preventive services and engine repair.