Central to each car's lifespan is its engine, and when that engine starts to overheat while driving, it quickly becomes a problem. Choosing the right anti-freeze for your car is essential. Green anti-freeze was once the only product available, but many variations now exist. Understanding the differences in the various forms of anti-freeze can help users prolong the lifespan of their vehicles and reduce the number of coolant changes needed throughout the life of a car.
Consider the Car's Manufacture Date
A starting point for choosing the right car anti-freeze is the vehicle's manufacture date. Generally, cars made after 1998 operate better with Organic Acid Technology (OAT) anti-freeze. This type of anti-freeze is a more powerful coolant, which means the engine is less likely to overheat. However, it is not as simple as merely adding OAT to all cars because cars made before 1998 operate better with non-OAT products that do not contain silica. Putting an anti-freeze coolant with silica in a car made before 1998 can cause corrosion, which is counterintuitive.
Consider the Anti-Freeze Colour
Green anti-freeze was once the only anti-freeze available, but the product now comes in numerous colours that actually make a difference and are important considerations in the decision making process. Green anti-freeze uses Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT), which makes it suitable for pre-1998 vehicles. Nonetheless, it is important to check the manufacturer's site or the car's manual to ensure green is the right choice. Orange and red anti-freeze coolant use OAT and last longer. They are less likely to corrode and tend to work better with aluminium. It is important to never mix long-life anti-freeze with green anti-freeze. This leads to excessive corrosion, which is worse than driving without any anti-freeze at all.
Consider Global Anti-Freeze
In an attempt to keep up with the ever-changing nature of motor vehicle technology, anti-freeze manufacturers also produce Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) products. These products combine IAT and OAT safely by adding nitrates. Although the name suggests a broad scope, most manufacturers state that this type of universal anti-freeze could damage cars made before 2002. As a result, it is necessary to exercise caution when choosing this coolant.
Consider the Car's Manufacturer
Some car manufacturers state their vehicles are sensitive to different types of coolant, which makes choosing a brand-specific product necessary. BMW anti-freeze is essential for those driving most types of BMW cars, as the engines are otherwise susceptible to oxidation. The jury is out on whether it is important to take the same approach for all car manufacturers, but many brand-specific types are now available. Using Ford anti-freeze could extend a car owner's warranty on certain vehicles, andHonda also has its own version.