Antifreeze is draining off

Everything you need to know about antifreeze

Antifreeze and coolant are often confused with one another. There are two different substances that are essential for a car. The coolant ensures that the engine does not overheat. Antifreeze is added to the coolant to prevent freezing at sub-zero temperatures. So it is important so that the heart of the car - the engine - also runs perfectly in winter. Because without the “miracle cure” the coolant could freeze and destroy the cooling system. At the same time, antifreeze protects many other components of the cooling system: For example, it serves as rust protection for the radiator, the water pump and the cooling ducts.

Check and top up antifreeze

Because the antifreeze plays such an important role on cold days, its concentration in the cooling water should be ensured in the winter months. This is usually checked as part of an annual inspection. But how do you find out for yourself whether the cooling water concentration is correct? If you want to be on the safe side, bring in a little helper: you can determine the freezing point of the cooling water with a test spindle that you hold in the cooling water. The test spindle should read between -20 and -30 degrees. If the determined temperature is higher (i.e. -19 degrees or more), this means that the cooling water could freeze in the event of frost. Therefore, in this case, you should add antifreeze.

It is important that you only top up antifreeze recommended for your vehicle and that you do not mix different antifreeze. The reason for this: Every antifreeze contains different additives that are tailored to the cooling system. If the wrong agent is used, the cooling channels could become clogged. You can find out which antifreeze is right for your vehicle in your vehicle's manual. There you will also find a note on the correct mixing ratio of water and antifreeze, which in most cases is 1: 1.

Check coolant and top up coolant

Very important: Before the cooling system is opened, the engine should be completely cooled down. The heated liquid could otherwise be under pressure and escape in an uncontrolled manner. The coolant is usually located in a white or transparent container in the engine compartment, which is provided with a minimum or maximum mark. The cooling water level should always be between the two marks. If the level falls below the recommended minimum, you should top up with cooling water.

You should think about changing the cooling water - regardless of the fill level - about every 50,000 km or every three years. If the coolant is too old, bubbles may form in it and if they burst, the metal walls in the cooler may be damaged.

Change the coolant liquid and dispose of it correctly

To change the cooling water yourself, you need a watering can, a collecting container and new coolant. To drain the old cooling water:

  1. Let the engine cool down
  2. Place a collecting vessel under the drain opening
  3. Remove the drain plug
  4. Open the vent screw
  5. Allow coolant to drain off
  6. Tighten the screws again

Important: coolant is hazardous waste and must not get into the groundwater. It is best to collect the old coolant in a lockable container and take it to a garage for disposal.

If you want to top up the coolant yourself, you can proceed as follows:

  1. Open the lid of the container
  2. Top up the coolant in the appropriate mixing ratio up to the "Max" mark
  3. Screw the cover back on

Important NOTE: If you are not sure what to do, go to a garage and have your vehicle's cooling system checked.

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