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The 6 Myths of Antifreeze that can threaten your Radiator - 12th Jun 2015

The 6 Myths of Antifreeze that can threaten your Radiator

Who knew that the misuse of antifreeze could have such devastating effects on your car’s radiator?

There are many common misconceptions about antifreeze. Let’s look at their impact and recommend what you should do instead.

Radiator Myth 1:
As long as I keep the antifreeze topped up, my radiator system doesn’t need servicing.

It’s not unusual for people to believe that as long as they keep the levels of antifreeze up, their radiator cooling system won’t need servicing. This is a dangerous assumption as over time antifreeze breaks down, causing rust and rust particles to become electrically charged. Once this happens, the antifreeze becomes highly corrosive. This can cause major damage to the radiator cooling system and can affect the entire engine.


Radiator Myth 2:
A radiator flush isn’t necessary – topping up with antifreeze does the job just as well.

Antifreeze breaks down over time. Topping up your antifreeze leaves the old or broken down antifreeze in the system. If it’s not flushed, it will wear down your car’s engine and cause corrosion.


Radiator Myth 3:
A small antifreeze drip is OK, it’s the bigger ones you need to worry about.

A small puddle on your garage floor might not seem a big deal, but it has big implications. Glycol (or antifreeze) is extremely toxic. It tastes sweet, making it appealing to dogs and small children – a problem when you park on the street. When it rains, any antifreeze spill will be washed into your community’s surface water supply. Antifreeze is so toxic, that NZWWS (New Zealand Water and Waste Supply) asks that it is dumped at a hazardous waste facility. Ask your local council for location details of your nearest hazardous waste facility.


Radiator Myth 4:
Slow down if your car is overheating.

When you see that temperature gauge shoot up or you smell your engine overheating, your first reaction is to slow down – NOT a good idea. The best solution is often to INCREASE your speed. This will increase the radiator’s antifreeze flow and the airflow over the engine, enabling it to cool down. Another trick is to turn your heater on. While this can be uncomfortable to sit through, it’s redirecting the engine’s heat and may save your engine.


Radiator Myth 5:
It doesn’t matter which antifreeze you use, they’re all pretty much the same.

Not so. In fact, using the wrong antifreeze product in your radiator could even void your car’s warranty. Certain car manufacturers specify which brand of antifreeze they support. Check your owner’s guide before you decide on which antifreeze to put into your car.

VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT, under ANY circumstances, mix different antifreeze products together. They can chemically react with one another and can be dangerous.


Radiator Myth 6:
It’s more effective to use 100% antifreeze in your radiator, and not add water.

Wrong! In fact, pure antifreeze will freeze if the temperature drops low enough. Mixing it with water will lower the chance of your radiator contents freezing up in the winter. These useful tips debunk just some of the theories people hold around radiators and antifreeze.

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