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Winter Preparation Heating and Cooling Antifreeze Auto Repair Denver

Good morning. I’m Saul Reisman here at Saul’s AUTOTEK. As it gets closer to winter time we’re going to be talking a little bit more about proper heating and cooling in your vehicle. One aspect that you might not really think of during the winter is keeping your vehicle cool.

We think overheating only occurs in the summertime. That’s a pretty widely-held misconception. An engine can overheat any time of year based on any condition going wrong with the cooling system.

From the basics, the most simple principles to maintain is keeping the proper coolant in your vehicle at all times. Now some modern vehicles ask for the most basic glycolaldehyde alcohol coolant, green stuff as we’ll call it, the basic green coolant that we’ve all seen leaking on the ground at some point in our life has been around for a very long time.

It’s a very basic cooling system additive. It’s used as a mixture volume property so you get the proper boiling and freezing points accordingly, about a 50/50 range is typical in most vehicles. The next step up is what we call Dex-Cool.

In this case, we have the store-bought brand, but it’s a major manufacturer for General Motors vehicles. Dexcool itself is orange in color and is often used in modern GM aluminum-engine vehicles. The next two that we’re going to look at are some for import vehicles.

Pentofrost E and Pentofrost SF, both pretty uniquely identified with color markers on their caps that represent the color or flavor, as we so speak, of these coolants themselves. Now, these can vary significantly in their application, their cost, their usability.

While your basic glycolaldehyde coolant can be $10 to $15 at most auto part stores, the Pentofrost E and Pentofrost SF are sold by the liter. About 3.8 to one size comparatively and often cost $20 to $30 per liter as opposed to $10 to $15 per gallon.

A lot of owners will top off their vehicles with whatever’s readily available. We understand that. In an emergency that is definitely what you need to do to get on the road. However, sometimes that’s not the best plan.

We’re going to talk about two vehicles where that can be a problem, specifically with Pentofrost E, which is a Volkswagen product, and Pentofrost SF, which is a BMW German motor work product. Pentofrost E was designed because the engines in Volkswagen motor vehicles have a cast iron engine block and an aluminum water pump.

When coolant is circulating through the pump, going in and out of the engine through rubber, non-grounded hoses, it allows electricity to be conducted through electrolysis of that system. Just like you rubbing your feet across the carpet as you’re moving across the living room floor, as the coolant is circulating through that pump it’s actually generating static electricity.

Because the block is cast iron and the pump is aluminum, the aluminum water pump won’t corrode. Instead, that electricity will actually act as mini-arcs of circuits right where that aluminum water pump sits into the engine block.

That constant arching between the aluminum block and the cast iron — sorry, the aluminum water pump and the cast iron block itself, will actually corrode that surface. The flat surface the water pump sits on will no longer be flat.

It will start to rust on the edges of the engine block, become porous and leak. When that happens the engine block is not reusable. The engine is destroyed. There is no way to reseal it. There’s no way to get it to stop leaking.

It is literally kaput and done. This happens simply from putting in the wrong coolant. In the event that you have a Volkswagen motor vehicle and need to top off the coolant in a pinch please only use the proper Pentofrost E, also known as G12 or G13 in your owner’s manual for this vehicle.

Otherwise, if you do need to top it off please get the coolant flushed out of the vehicle immediately. It is that important. The last one we’ve got here is for a BMW product, Pentofrost SF. Now Pentofrost SF has been around for several years now and is used in conjunction because BMW products use electric water pumps rather than belt-driven water pumps.

As a result, this coolant is spun at a high velocity and is more subject to aeration or foaming or bubbling of the fluid. When that happens the fluid can no longer effectively be transferred via a vein drive pump. Simply back in the ’70s when you would be out of gas and you’d get vapor lock because the fuel tank would be full of vapor and not gasoline as a liquid, a similar kind of property occurs.

The liquid will begin to foam. The pump can no longer spin it as efficiently. The engine starts to heat up. This is extremely important in BMW vehicles as use of the wrong coolant will allow this to foam and aerate and become effervescent very, very quickly.

Doing such cannot only heat up the engine’s coolant temperature but actually heat-spot the inside of the engine, bend valves, cause head gasket leaks and all kinds of major problems. We know there are many times where your dealership will tell you that you need this specific part, this specific fluid.

Unfortunately, in the cases of coolant and engine fluids this is truly something that you need to have the exact 100 percent proper compatibility of products in. Here at Saul’s AUTOTEK, we employ specific gravity testers.

Rather than visually identifying the color of the coolant we actually measure the density of it to determine the alcohol content, its freezing point, and boiling point so that we can ensure your vehicle will not have problems through the winter and is adequately protecting the engine in the vehicle.

If you have any concerns about the cooling system in your car, would like to get it checked out, topped off or ensure its working order before problems occur please feel free to stop by and see us. We’re open 365 days a year at 303 919 7769.

Thank you for thinking of us.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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