Antifreeze Probably too late to worry...

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
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Well, I havent been out in the car of late but I took a short trip today..

And I started thinking about antifreeze.

My cars radiators expansion tank seems ok, nor is it frozen...(+1 C this afternoon...-5 in the night...)

Do you think I am ok?
 

Fadcode

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Feb 13, 2016
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Always a good idea to check your antifreeze in this sort of weather, most cars if they have been serviced lately will have had the antifreeze checked, if you are not sure put some in, also antifreeze is a anti-corrosion fluid which keeps the water pipes and hoses clean, a quick check on your water status in a car is if your heaters are blowing hot air your water level is ok, if on a journey your heater starts to blow cold air there is a good chance you have a leak or your water needs topping up, it looks like this cold spell will be gone by tomorrow or sunday so you should be ok..............spring is just around the corner.
 
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santaman2000

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Jan 15, 2011
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As Fadcode said, antifreeze does more than just prevent freezing. It has anti-corrosive additives. It also helps prevent boil-overs in summer driving. Normally I have my cooling system back flushed and replace the coolant every three years.
 
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Janne

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Plus it has a lubricating property ( water pump).
If your heater starts blowing cold air it can indeed mean a sudden loss of coolant. That is OK, what is worse is you might start overheating a part of the engine.

Not all engine overheating shows on the water temp gauge, the oil temp might indicate it too.

I check my cars every time we wash them. All fluids.
Not only the level, but the state/condition of them.
 

Janne

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In UK, where it never gets cold, you only need to have the manufacturer recommended % antifreeze in the coolant.

If you are unsure if you have any mixed in, just taste the coolant. A few drops in your mouth will tell you. Glycol has a sweet taste.

And it should have no 'crud' floating in it. A foamy crud that is oily in your mouth = engine oil gets in.
 

Janne

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Off Topic:
What is super, duper, hugely important is to have enough Alcohol in your windscreen washer liquid.
You want to be able to clean your windscreen quickly and efficiently.

Some commercial windscreen washing liquids in UK contains plenty of 'soap' to remove dirt, but not enough Alcohol.

Check that liquid by spraying it on the windscreen. It should melt any snow very quickly.

if the nozzle gets clogged up with ice is a good sign it is not strong enough.

This can save lives.
 
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Laurentius

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Aug 13, 2009
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I was thinking reading about all the trains that have been cancelled, all the roads that are impassible, that before the age of the internal combustion engine, transport was not half so compromised.
 
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daveO

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Jun 22, 2009
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I do wonder how electric cars cope with cold like this and how effective their cabin heaters are. i imagine if they're plugged into your home supply then you can get them to pre-warm and defrost before you get in which would be nice. Eventually one will get stuck in the snow overnight though and you can't run the engine to stay warm.
 
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Janne

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I was thinking reading about all the trains that have been cancelled, all the roads that are impassible, that before the age of the internal combustion engine, transport was not half so compromised.
Before those times, prople did not move around much.
My dad’s family were into agriculture. Wintertime was the time when they stayed indoord and repaired things. Only very essential transports were done.
I do not about UK, but in countries with lots of snow they used sleds for the transportation, and the horses had special attachments, like short spikes, on the shoes.
 

Janne

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I do wonder how electric cars cope with cold like this and how effective their cabin heaters are. i imagine if they're plugged into your home supply then you can get them to pre-warm and defrost before you get in which would be nice. Eventually one will get stuck in the snow overnight though and you can't run the engine to stay warm.
I will check with some people I know up in Norway that have Teslas.

I guess those batteries are also sensitive for cold, less available ’power’?

We have plug in electric heating elements in the engines, on a timer.
When it is time to go in the morning, you open the garage door, unplug it, start it up, clear the drive and drive away. Warm engine = warm air in cabin and more important for us - full fuel efficiency and low emissions.

If car is on the drive you unplug it, start engine, clear front windscreen, clear drive way snd drive off!

God I hated that so much! One of the reasons I moved from Sweden to UK.
I
 
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Tengu

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The liquid in my tank is browny; no nasty oil gunk.

(I will check in the cylinder head too, come to think of it. Water and oil..makes mayonaise...)

I think its ok but I will keep an eye on it. I would be gutted if it has come to harm; the car is 2004 but it went through the last two MOTs with just a few advisories; its a very good car.
 

Zingmo

Eardstapa
Jan 4, 2010
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A friend of my mother had to call the AA because her car ground to a halt. The AA chap spotted the problem as soon as he opened the bonnet:
...she had forgotten to take the blanket off the engine that morning!

Z
 

Stew

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Nov 29, 2003
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The liquid in my tank is browny; no nasty oil gunk.

(I will check in the cylinder head too, come to think of it. Water and oil..makes mayonaise...)

I think its ok but I will keep an eye on it. I would be gutted if it has come to harm; the car is 2004 but it went through the last two MOTs with just a few advisories; its a very good car.
If you've not had it changed in a number of years then I would recommend doing it. Relatively easy if you can access the drain point.

When I last did mine (Yaris) I drained it to replace the water pump. From start to finish it took less than an hour to drain, dismantle, replace and refill. If it's just the fluid it'll be even quicker.
 

Janne

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The colour will change, somewhere in the system something willrust a bit.
True, it makes almost a ’mayo’ that floats.

Tell the lady it is pointless to put a blanket on the engine.
 
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santaman2000

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Jan 15, 2011
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Tasting anti-freeze isn't an especially good idea. It's toxic enough some people use it to bait and kill stray dogs and cats. Somewhere I've got an old fashioned tester (it measures the specific gravity) and they're cheap to buy if you really want to test your coolant. From $1.99 to $4 each.


Frankly it's just too easy to go ahead and just change it though.
 

Janne

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Done it since I had the custody of the first car, 40 years ago. Taste, spit.

Remember the Glycol scandal in Austria decades ago?
Some wine makers increased the sweetness in the wine by adding Glycol.
Tasted good. Nobody got hurt. (not too badly, anyway...)
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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It cannot possibly do you any harm, anywhere in the UK, to run an antifreeze/water mix which is good to -20C.
Antifreeze has better thermal properties than water, anyway. I'm good to -40C. Cheap insurance.

My windshield washer juice is good to -25C. We have summer (bug guts) and winter (salt spray) flavors.

What sort of oil are you using? The wrong kind that gets really gooey like tar overnight in the cold?
I use synthetic jet engine lube in the 454 V8 in the Suburban. The viscosity does not change with temperature.
That is a very big piece of iron (even with a block heater) to crank at -30C.

Don't forget that at a cruising altitude of 32,000 - 35,000 feet, jet engines are usually sucking in -60C air.
Mighty chilly. Mighty chilly.
 

daveO

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Jun 22, 2009
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South Wales
If you've not had it changed in a number of years then I would recommend doing it. Relatively easy if you can access the drain point.

When I last did mine (Yaris) I drained it to replace the water pump. From start to finish it took less than an hour to drain, dismantle, replace and refill. If it's just the fluid it'll be even quicker.
Really depends on the vehicle. My Mazda Bongo takes 2 people over an hour just to bleed the air out of the system and I've had a few Hondas that had complicated bleeding processes. Most sensible cars are a doddle to do though in fairness.

If you haven't changed it in a while it might be worth draining it down, flush it all through with a hose, fill it up with just water, bleed it and give the car a quick run, if the water looks dirty then you could use a rad flush to give it a good clean out and then drain, flush and refill with the proper coolant mix. That will allow the coolant to do its anti-corrosion work much more efficiently and keep your water pump working for longer.
 

Janne

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How do you bleed it? I just do what you wrote (empty, flush, fill with water, run for a couple of minutes, empty, flush, then refill with mixture)
then run it and top up.
I always change the thermostat too.