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Thread: How often should you change your antifreeze?

  1. #1
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    How often should you change your antifreeze?

    With winter time coming up this just crossed my mind.

    How often should I change my coolant?

    Does it matter if I mix 50/50?

    Do name brands matter?

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  2. #2
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    >>How often should I change my coolant?<<
    When the vehicle mfgr says so, at least if it's in warranty.

    >>Does it matter if I mix 50/50?<<
    A 50/50 solution is usually recommended for all but very cold climates. However, be aware that premixed 50/50 is being sold at attractive prices, usually in packaging that's very similar to the concentrate. Don't dilute the prediluted stuff.

    >>Do name brands matter?<<
    If something goes very wrong, who ya gonna call?

  3. #3
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    How often should I change my coolant?
    I never do, until something breaks, such as a hose, water pump or have to drain it for another reason. Since the cooling system is the least reliable part of any water-cooled vehicle, it usually won't get too old before you need to replace the coolant anyway, for one reason or another.
    Does it matter if I mix 50/50?
    There is always a chart on the bottle to see how to mix for your weather. Here in the SF area, it makes little difference. A cup of the stuff would probably be enough because of the mild temperatures in this area.
    Do name brands matter?
    No, but some claim some colors last longer and should not be mixed. Some bottles of anti-freeze say "mixes with any color antifreeze". My own opinion is it is NOT at all critical and color can be ignored.

    BTW, I never buy the pre-mixed stuff. It's a rip-off where you pay almost twice the price to get 50% water added. Buy your own distilled water instead of wasting your money on very expensive water.

    -Don-

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    I change the coolant every 3 years. It can probably go longer, but by that point the additive package is starting to break down.

    I like the pre-mix, both for the convenience, and also because it's already got the de-ionized and de-mineralized water in it (so I don't have to track it down separately).

    You do need to pay attention to the chemistry of the coolant. You don't want to blend different mixes together, as they will sometimes attack each other, to the detriment of your engine & radiator. Follow the directions in your owner's manual as to what to use.

    Putting plain water in a Honda is known as "Honda-cide", as the tap water will eventually attack the aluminum block & heads.

    Chip H.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    I change the coolant every 3 years. It can probably go longer, but by that point the additive package is starting to break down.

    I like the pre-mix, both for the convenience, and also because it's already got the de-ionized and de-mineralized water in it (so I don't have to track it down separately).

    You do need to pay attention to the chemistry of the coolant. You don't want to blend different mixes together, as they will sometimes attack each other, to the detriment of your engine & radiator. Follow the directions in your owner's manual as to what to use.

    Putting plain water in a Honda is known as "Honda-cide", as the tap water will eventually attack the aluminum block & heads.

    Chip H.
    I agree with Chip. My Toyota A/F is changed, by the book, at two year intervals - after that time the anti-freeze aspect is still effective but the anti-corrosion additives in the mixture are starting to degrade with potential corrosion results.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    With winter time coming up this just crossed my mind.

    How often should I change my coolant?

    Does it matter if I mix 50/50?

    Do name brands matter?
    I think the general rule is every two years or so.

    I do the bikes every two - and the Trans-Am, too.

    It's easy and it's inexpensive, so why not?

    I'm leery of the "long-life" coolant. I bet people assume that means they never have to change it, so watch out when you buy used car....

  7. #7
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    50/50 is best unless you live in Alaska. The anit-freeze protion never really goes away if you never add water. However, the anti-corrosion part does break down after 24-36 months. The extended life antifreezes have a longer lasting corrosion inhibitor. I change mine every two to three years just to be safe. Whenever I get another vehicle, the first thing I do is change the coolant and thermostat. It's just cheap insurance.

    With newer engine having iron blocks with aluminum heads, you really want the coolant to be up to snuff. Disimilar metal electrolysis with eat the aluminum away causing major problems down the road.
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