Coolant that's used in today's modern engines usually contains a combination of water and antifreeze.
As its name indicates, antifreeze aids in the prevention of water freezing in a cooling system of a vehicle.
Automobiles in colder climates are frequently open to the elements of temperatures far below the freezing point of water-32 degrees Fahrenheit- so the purpose of "antifreeze" is very vital.
If water by itself was used in a cooling system during very cold temperatures, it would turn to ice quickly.
It's essential to remember that water expands, like ice cubes do in a freezer.
Water, which is the only known matter in the environment that does this, cold temperatures tend to make all other natural substances get smaller.
Water can expand so much in an engine block with such force that internal damage can occur, such as cracking. Should this happen, there is no other choice but to replace the complete engine block.
Vehicles that are poorly maintained, with the proper anti freeze ratio, most generally experience this problem.
As a result, you can see why it's so important that your water to antifreeze ratio be checked, especially in the case of you having added water to the system, antifreeze by itself lowers the freezing point of the mixture, the more antifreeze, the lower the freezing point.
As a general rule, no more than 70 percent of the total liquid volume in the cooling system should consist of antifreeze.
If any more than 70 percent is added to the cooling system, the mixture's ability to remove heat from the engine will be reduced greatly, possibly causing engine damage.
Temperatures of 32 degree Fahrenheit will freeze water!
On the other hand, water - antifreeze mixture will not freeze until a much lower temperature.
Adequate temperature protection is normally reached with a 50 - 50 ratio for most vehicles.
Vehicles operated in colder climates may require more antifreeze, while those in warmer climates may require less antifreeze.
When in doubt always refer to your owner's manual or your local service technician for proper water - antifreeze mixtures.
For those that would like to check it yourself, there are antifreeze testers available at your favorite retail outlet.
With approximately 30 years served in the maintenance of various vehicles, I have been exposed to many problems due to the neglect of proper antifreeze maintenance. When having your vehicle serviced make sure to have the antifreeze checked at the time you are there.