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What You Should Know About Radiator Fluid

Dhritiman Basu
You may have experienced difficulty in turning the car ignition on or engine failure. The reason behind these issues is insufficient maintenance of the car radiator. Let us take a look at its major component, the radiator fluid, and how it helps in keeping the engine cool and functioning.
A car engine could lead to unpredictable car problems if not taken proper care of. The car radiator mitigates most of the temperature-related issues in an engine, so that the rest of the processes function smoothly. Subsequently, the radiator fluid plays a crucial role in maintaining optimum performance within the internal combustion engine.

Composition of Radiator Fluid

The radiator fluid or antifreeze, has quite a few applications (HVAC chillers and solar water heaters). The fluid consists of 50% antifreeze and 50% water.
Ethylene or propylene glycol is the key component in all types of antifreeze. It is usually mixed with water so that the car engine doesn't run the risk of collapsing, because of abnormal operating temperatures.
Also, the additives in the antifreeze have a tendency to clog the system passages and restrict the flow of chemicals and gasoline. Therefore, a dilated mixture of water and antifreeze facilitates optimal performance and minimal damage to the engine.
The term 'antifreeze' is a misnomer because not only does it keep the freezing point low in the engine, but it also elevates the boiling point during extremely hot conditions. The antifreeze is retailed as two variations in the market―unmixed (the additive) and premixed (water + the additive).
It should be noted that antifreeze, in its raw form, is highly toxic. It has a sweet smell and attracts children and pets, and should be kept away from them.

Changing the Radiator Fluid

The car engine requires optimum maintenance, and hence, the radiator fluid should be changed regularly. You can take your car to the nearest garage and have the mechanic change the radiator flush for you, or you can change it all by yourself.
If you are planning to do the latter, then follow these simple steps:
  • Park your car a safe distance area away from kids and pets.
  • Open the hood of the car and confirm whether the engine is cool. Touching the engine (which has been just turned off) is highly inadvisable as you run the risk of inflicting yourself with severe burns. Make sure that the engine has been idle for the last 15-30 minutes or it has cooled down.
  • Drain the old antifreeze from your radiator, accompanied by loose rust and sediments. This can be done by opening the drain valve and allowing the fluid to flow out till its empty.
  • Pour the new antifreeze into the radiator and if it is unmixed, then don't forget to make the optimum mixture with water.
  • Close the radiator cap and the hood, and dispose the used antifreeze in a safe place beyond the reach of humans or animals.
The car and its engine, is subjected to various anomalies, where the radiator is its shield. If the shield is damaged, then its use is nullified. Therefore, you should take utmost care in changing your car radiator fluid regularly.