Keeping cool about Antifreeze

The coolant in your car is just as important to the longevity of your engine as the oil. Yet it is almost always overlooked on a basic service.  Like engine oil it degrades over time, but it also evaporates.  For older cars without an expansion tank it can also piddles on the floor when your engine gets hot! When people check the coolant level it tends to get topped up with fresh water, which dilutes its concentration.

What to use

There are a few different types of coolant. Generally in a pre-1980 classic car you want to use a ‘green’ or ‘blue’ coolant. On a more modern car a ‘red’ antifreeze, but take advice for specific applications. Whichever, mixed to a 50/50 ratio coolant protects your engine from freezing down to about -30 degrees and will not boil until approximately 110 degrees centigrade.

When should it be changed?

On a Project Shop classic car service schedule we check the concentration every year and change the coolant every two years. Coolant is also a rust inhibitor. It slows down corrosion inside the engine and radiator maintaining the cooling performance of your vehicle.


Is there anything better than standard coolant/antifreeze?

In the same way that you can upgrade brake fluid, water-less coolant is available. It has a few major advantages:

  • It does not boil until 180 degrees meaning that the cooling system is never under pressure
  • It significantly reduces the chance of head gasket issues because of the low pressure the cooling system is running at
  • There is no corrosion because there is no water
  • It is a life product which means you don’t have to change it

Water-less coolant is often added to ‘cure’ a marginal cooling issue. All this does is mask the problem allowing the engine to run hotter than it should. We use water-less coolant on many cars, but not to mask a pre-existing problem.


What will it cost me?

Most coolant changes can be carried out in under an hour. Labour is almost always less than £60.00. The rest of the cost comes down to the quantity of antifreeze used. We charge £5.25 per litre of 50/50 Mix including VAT. This includes the disposal charge of your old anti-freeze which accounts for about £1.50 per litre!

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