Understanding coolant types is important to your engine and cooling system

Understanding coolant types is important to your engine and cooling system

As engine technology and component materials have changed, coolant technology has also changed, particularly with the use of more aluminum in engines. However, there is a misconception that all coolants are interchangeable.

Engine-Coolant-WEB

As engine technology and component materials have changed, coolant technology has also changed, particularly with the use of more aluminum in engines. However, there is a misconception that all coolants are interchangeable. Actually, there are two distinctly different types of coolant: older conventional fully formulated and the newer extended life coolant with organic acid technology (OAT). They each protect engines from corrosion very differently and when the two are mixed, both are diluted, and their effectiveness can be significantly reduced.

The primary difference between fully formulated coolants and extended life coolants (ELC) is the length of time and miles for which each will remain effective. ELCs offer significant maintenance cost savings over the life of the coolant. While fully formulated coolants can provide protection for up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles, extended life coolants are designed to go 600,000 on-highway miles and beyond with proper monitoring.

Fully formulated coolants contain silicate and other inorganic additives along with supplemental coolant additives (SCAs) to provide engine and cooling system protection. They offer a stabilized, low-silicate formula that helps reduce deposits and the risks of hard water scale. Fully formulated coolants typically contain nitrite and often molybdate to prevent corrosion damage, which results in pitting on cylinder liners.

Fully formulated coolants can provide protection for up to 200,000-250,000 miles or two to three years in heavy-duty applications under normal operating conditions, provided that the user monitors and maintains SCA additive levels.

ELCs offer complete cooling system component protection by helping to reduce water-pump failures, hard-water-scale deposits and silicate gel (the green goo you often see). They typically utilize organic additive technology corrosion with nitrite and molybdate that protect cylinder liners from pitting corrosion damage. ELCs help reduce maintenance costs and improve water pump life, as well as eliminate the need for costly supplemental coolant additives.

Nitrite-Free ELCs are formulated to meet more severe operational conditions of modern, hotter-running engines. Nitrite-free coolants provide improved protection of aluminum components including modern brazed aluminum heat exchangers and meet many of the newest OEM specifications. The versatile formulation may also be used in fleets that include cars and light-duty trucks. The coolant is proven for extended life operation in medium- and heavy-duty diesel, gasoline, LNG and natural gas vehicles and engines.

If a coolant has been mixed or is out of specification, you don’t usually have to drain and refill the entire system, which can be dozens of gallons for larger vehicles. Concentrated coolants allow technicians to bring the coolant levels to recommended freeze points. A freeze point correction chart for coolants will show how to adjust your coolant so that it is at the proper level. Shell Lubricants, for instance, has ELC correction fluids which are used to restore additive content to recommended levels. These two procedures enable you to bring your equipment’s coolant back into spec without draining the cooling system. It is a good practice is to check the coolant every time your change the oil or conduct preventive maintenance.

Dan Arcy is the global OEM technical manager for Shell Lubricants.

You May Also Like

Ralson Tire North America debuts RTR71 commercial truck tire

The RTR71 is built tough for spread axle trailer use, and features a robust casing design to resist cuts and chips.

Ralson-introduces-RTR71-trailer-tire-north-america

Ralson Tire North America introduced the RTR71 commercial truck tire in the US. According to Ralson Tire, the RTR71 is built for spread axle trailer use, and features a casing design made to resist cuts and chips.

Other features highlighted by the company include:

16/32 in. of tread to handle high scrub and severe torque conditions;

Minimizer updates website, offers white papers

The company says it offers help finding the correct part number and locating local or online distributors to got your product from.

minimizer-new-items
Freightliner’s Backup Alert System available for Plus Series trucks

The Backup Alert System is available to order for Freightliner Plus series trucks. Deliveries are expected to begin in summer 2024.

Freightliner-backup-alert-system-1
FMCSA pulls two ELDs from registered list

FMCSA says Blue Star ELD and ELD Mandate Plus devices did not meet minimum requirements, and were placed on the Revoked Devices list.

FMCSA-CDL-final-fule
Apollo Tires US opens new Atlanta office

The company said this new office stands as the operational heart of the North American activities.

Apollo-Abhishek-Bisht

Other Posts

Peterbilt introduces Digital Vision System-Mirrors

Available on Models 579 and 567, Peterbilt says the DVS-M uses HDR cameras integrated into the mirrors to display video on interior monitors.

Peterbilt-new-Digital-Vision-Mirror-System
Hendrickson acquires Reyco Granning suspension business

Hendrickson expands its suspension solutions portfolio for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles while maintaining brand independence.

ReycoLogo-hendrickson
SAMPA celebrates 30 years

The heavy-duty spare parts company marked the milestone at Automechanika Istanbul. with a specially themed 30th anniversary booth.

SAMPA-celebrates-30-years
HDA’s Colorado Brake & Supply announces acquisition

The HDA Truck Pride member has acquired Pueblo Brake & Clutch, Inc., another local heavy-duty truck parts provider, with 59 years of service.

HDA-Truck-Pride-Pueblo-Brake-and-Clutch