Coolants 101

What do Coolants do for your car?

Gasoline engines, diesel engines, hybrid vehicles, and even electric cars naturally create heat. To ensure the engine stays at an optimal operating temperature, your car relies on a fluid called antifreeze, or engine coolant. Driving with low or inefficient coolant could let your engine get too hot, which may end up damaging your vehicle. Given the generally hot climate of Singapore, this is a key point to note when maintaining your vehicle.

So what are Coolants?

The coolant is an essential fluid for protecting against overheating and damage to engine components. A coolant circulates around the engine and back through the radiator to prevent overheating, freezing(not so applicable for us), corrosion and engine rust. In other words, coolants can be called “heat transfer fluid”, it draws off the heat by circulating through an engine and then maintaining the correct working temperature of the car engine.

Aren’t Coolants just water?

Coolants are made up of water, glycol (ethylene or propylene) and others additive packages. The major difference between the two types of glycol is that Ethyl Glycol is less – toxic. Glycol does not absorb as much heat as water, but it can reduce the freezing point and increase the boiling Point.

Different types of Coolants

In general, there are three basic types of Coolants in the market:

  • Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT) – Either Ethylene Glycol or Propylene Glycol
  • Organic Acid Technology (OAT) – Primarily Ethylene Glycol based
  • Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) – Combination of IAT and OAT

They are usually differentiated by colours. IAT is green in colour, OAT is orange, red, green, pink or blue in colour while OAT is usually orange or yellow in colour. Do note however, that the Color of coolant is not a reliable indicator for selection, and it is not the result of the performance for coolant. According to coolant types, replacement times and type of cars also vary.

Why do we need to change coolants during servicing?

Like engine oil, the quality of coolant also degrades overtime. While there is usually no need to change coolants as frequently as engine oil, it is imperative that routine checks are done to ensure the coolant remains sufficient and efficient.

This article is brought to you by Unicla International Pte Ltd – Distributor of PEAK Coolants in Singapore.