The right coolant can take the heat out of higher costs and downtime
Compounding the issue – today’s engines run hotter. Redesigned over the years to comply with the latest emission regulations, engines now produce higher amounts of heat and are therefore considerably more susceptible to coolant related issues.
Something as simple as using the right coolant could eliminate those added costs, not to mention the downtime for repairs. In many cases, extended life coolants offer improved protection from heat-related engine issues. These coolants do not deplete as rapidly as conventional products or require expensive Supplemental Coolant Additives (SCAs) or pre-charged coolant filters.
What are my coolant choices?
For on- and off-highway use, there are two main types of extended life coolants that can maximize heat transfer and simultaneously protect metal cooling systems. The right choice depends on the application:
- Nitrite-Free coolants are increasingly the choice for on-highway vehicles. A trend that started in European operations, the use of these coolants is expanding in North American truck engines, where they are providing protection without affecting metal surfaces. A growing number of on-highway vehicle manufacturers have made nitrite-free coolants their factory standard. For fleets wishing to switch and depending on the extended life coolant currently being used, nitrite-free products may be added to cooling systems without the need to flush and fill.
- Nitrited coolants are most commonly used in off-highway equipment for their proven engine protection properties. These coolants provide enhanced cylinder liner cavitation protection in engines that are susceptible.
Extended life coolants also are available in formulations using propylene glycol (PG) for freeze protection and are most often used in applications where there are environmental concerns. PG is less toxic than ethylene glycol based coolants, but offers the same engine cooling system protection. Water-based inhibited coolants also are available for applications where enhanced heat transfer is required and freezing temperatures are not a concern, mainly in warmer climates and in marine engines.
What to Look For in Coolants
Extended life coolants are often the answer for heavy-duty on- and off-highway diesel engines because they are designed to deliver enhanced cooling system protection at a lower overall cost. When selecting a coolant, you should look for it to be strong in the following three features:
- Heat transfer characteristics
- Antifreeze and boil protection
- Corrosion and cooling system component protection
The bottom line is that it is getting easier to find coolants that provide optimal engine performance, and longer engine life. Using the correct product, along with recommended coolant maintenance practices, can help avoid cooling system problems and failures, their cost and the added impact of downtime.
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