What are the Different Types of Antifreeze and Can I Mix Them? Tech Article by Jim Karls

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1 What are the Different Types of Antifreeze and Can I Mix Them? Tech Article by Jim Karls Recently we discussed the benefits of antifreeze at a Cal-Rods meeting. We explained that antifreeze not only lowers the freezing point of the water in your cooling system it also raises the boiling point and helps inhibit corrosion. Most importantly we discussed the different types of antifreeze. Before you grab that jug of green liquid to pour in your system, you better make sure it's the same as what's there already. Some General Facts about Antifreeze Before we get into making sure you have the right antifreeze in your system, let s take a look at some general information about antifreeze. Automotive antifreeze has traditionally been made with ethylene glycol and Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT- GREEN) corrosion inhibitors since American vehicles have traditionally been designed to use antifreeze with silicates and phosphates as corrosion inhibitors. European vehicles have traditionally used antifreeze that does not use phosphates. Japanese vehicles have traditionally used antifreeze that does not use silicates. Newer corrosion inhibitor technology includes Organic Acid Technology (OAT-ORANGE) and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT-YELLOW). Both may be referred to as extended life antifreeze and were introduced in the 1990 s. (IAT-GREEN) antifreeze has a 2 year or 30,000 mile service life, where (OAT-ORANGE) and (HOAT- YELLOW) have a 5 year or 150,000 mile service life. (OAT-ORANGE) based antifreeze is not compatible with (IAT-GREEN) antifreeze; although, some (HOAT- YELLOW) formulas claim compatibility with certain (OAT-ORANGE) formulas or (IAT-GREEN) formulas. (OAT-ORANGE) and (HOAT-YELLOW) antifreeze is designed for use in aluminum radiators & components (cylinder heads, etc). Antifreeze is dyed to whatever color the manufacturer chooses and may help to distinguish the type of antifreeze (IAT, OAT or HOAT) or may be used to market variations of antifreeze formulas within a brand. How Do I Know Which Antifreeze is Right for My Vehicle? Given that there is now a wide variety of antifreeze available, it is easy to get confused about which one is correct for your vehicle. Here are are a few questions to ask yourself before buying antifreeze. Does my vehicle have vintage type parts like a Copper/Brass radiator? If you do, then the only antifreeze you should use is the traditional, (IAT-GREEN) based formula. The new (OAT-ORANGE) formulas do not have the corrosion inhibitors that will protect copper/brass components since they were designed for modern aluminum components. What does my vehicle s manufacturer recommend? Check the manual or call the dealership and make sure. Modern vehicles typically use the (OAT-ORANGE) based products. What s in my radiator now? Some mechanics have been known to drain out and replace the factory supplied (OAT-ORANGE) based antifreeze with traditional (IAT-GREEN) due to performance concerns about one of the first (OAT-ORANGE) formulas used called DEX-COOL. If you took your vehicle to a mechanic who recommended replacing the coolant with a traditional formula, make sure you know which formula is in your system. What color antifreeze is in my vehicle already? The color of your coolant may be a first indicator that you have something other than traditional antifreeze in your vehicle; however, NEVER RELY ON THE COLOR TO DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF ANTIFREEZE YOU NEED! There are no standardized rules for manufacturers about what colors to use for their formulas. If you buy a jug of antifreeze and the color is different than what is in your vehicle already, take it as a sign to double check yourself before you mix the two together but don t rely on matching colors as guaranteed compatibility. Continued on next page.

2 Anti Freeze Continued: Can I Mix the Formulas Together? Is it Really that Bad? You should not mix (OAT-ORANGE) based formulas with (IAT-GREEN) formulas. The result is typically turning your coolant into sludge due to a chemical reaction. Keep in mind, (OAT-ORANGE) based formulas are still a developing technology. There are some universal formulas that claim compatibility with other (IAT-GREEN) and (OAT-ORANGE) formulas, but the only safe bet is to use the same formula that is already in your vehicle. This may change as the (OAT- ORANGE) based formulas continue to develop; however, always err on the side of caution & use the same type of formula that the manufacturer recommends. What Should I Do if I Do Mix Them? Your best bet is to drain & flush your coolant system as soon as possible. The longer two different formulas are allowed to circulate through your system, the more particles and sludge that can build up. Again, play it safe and drain the system, flush it with coolant, drain it again, and repeat if you still see particles coming out. When you finally have it flushed, replace the coolant with what your manufacturer recommends. At the end of the day, the system was designed to work with the coolant they put in it. Santa Anita Car Show from the editor s perspec ve I arrived at 6 A.M. and was greeted as I entered by a smiling volunteer who must have been there before the sun came up. There were already cars waiting in line to go through the tunnel to the show grounds. Many workers were running around making sure everything was in place and helping participants with their questions. Joyce and Joe arrived with their car full of raffle prizes & their packed trailer following behind them. They were there the night before & back early the next day to set up their booth. Joyce worked hard throughout the year collecting gifts, making gift baskets, numbering the prizes, etc. We want to give a big thank you to Joyce & Joe Rode & their crew for all their hard work.

3 Ken Campbell managed to get about 3 hours sleep the night before and was there bright and early with his crew to set up and register about 400 participants as they signed in at the registration table. Everything went smoothly, thanks Ken and crew. There were a few glitches: One participant ran out of gas in the tunnel & needed to be pushed to the field. Thanks to John Duran for helping provide some gas to the gentleman. Another incident happened when one of the horses warming up got spooked & threw a jockey. Someone said it was a vender & then I heard it was a loud car. Thus the fairgrounds closed the tunnel for an hour so the horses could continue to exercise making the remaining 70+ cars stranded outside. Many turned around & went home or to another show. The fairgrounds also changed the time on us & the first race started at 2 instead of noon & the last race was at 6:35 p.m. which meant that no cars could leave until 7 p.m. or after. I talked to one participant who said he loved the show & wondered when our next car show would be. Many people I talked to said they expected to be there the whole day anyway & were going to make the most of it. The view of the mountains was magnificent, the people were interesting to talk to & the racing was exciting to watch. The Show was great; we had a lot of venders, the kids were entertained with horseback rides, a climbing wall, jumping houses with slides, & game booths. There was a band performing & participants dancing. I saw many people walking around looking at all the wonderful, unique cars on display. Vic Cunnyngham and his crew had their hands full judging the great cars that came to our show. The TJ Friends won the club participation award. Diane Ferguson worked at the merchandize table Selling event shirts etc. John Givens was the man in charge and should be congratulated on a job well done.

4

5 Cal Rods Car Club PO Box 2453 Rancho Cucamonga, CA Cal Rods Car Club PO Box 2453 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729

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