Antifreeze and standards
Currently, in our country all antifreezes can be divided into three classes: G11, G12 and G13. They are different by their composition and properties, which affect the price of the products. Depending on specific class, the fluids should be dyed with different colors, which are:
- G11 – blue or green;
- G12 – red;
- G13 –orange-red or yellow.
Regardless of the existence of the European standards, the Russian market of cooling fluids is a total mess. This can even cause car damage, apart from plain money waste. It seems that the ones to blame are the coolant manufacturers, who, for some reason, are reluctant to comply with the European classification, and dodgy dealers, who are ready to do anything for money. For example, the Honda brand coolant is green even despite the fact that it belongs to the G12 class. To make things worse, Russian coolant producers muddle it up even further. To utter regret, many of them also care only about their money rather than about cooling of a customer’s auto.
European coolant requirements
Let’s see which antifreeze would be suitable for your car. To do this, we should consider the composition of individual members of each class.
1. Fluids, based on ethylene glycol with non-organic corrosion inhibitors belong to the G11 class. According to the current requirements, any product of this class should provide coating of the whole surface of the cooling system with a layer not less than 0.5mm thick. An advantage of such sort of antifreeze is the simplicity of the production process and, consequently, low price. The main shortcoming is a dramatic reduction of heat transfer from the walls of the engine to the coolant and further, through the radiator to the air.
2. Carboxylic compositions based on propylene glycol belong to the G12 class. The requirements for this class pertain to the local effect of the fluid. It must cover local corrosion areas with a 0.06mm thick layer with a minimal loss of heat transfer. These fluids are recommended for use with cars built in 1996-2001.
3. G13 class fluids are also based on propylene glycol, but they are nontoxic and more ecologically friendly than the G11 and the G12. These are the most expensive coolants because they must comply with the strictest requirements. They are used in the cooling systems of sport cars and bikes with hopped up engines, which operate in extreme modes. These antifreezes do not contain any aggressive additives and can be mixed with coolants of other classes. They are not manufactured in Russia, so it is recommended that you only buy them from approved suppliers. Also, the antifreeze you buy must be manufactured under a well-known brand in compliance with the world ecological and quality standards.
Service life of antifreezes
Your vehicle manufacturer can inform you about the term when you have to replace the coolant. The service life of an antifreeze is set by the car manufacturer in accordance with the type of antifreeze, car design features and the results of tests. For instance, Ford requires that after a mileage of 100 k miles the losses of the fluid were minimal. At the same time, 85 percent of the inhibitors must remain in the fluid composition.
If a car manufacturer does not provide the recommended coolant replacement interval, you may use the recommendations of the coolant manufacturer. For example, the maximum service life of G12 products is about five to six years, while G11 fluids can work for only two to three years. In any case, the coolant should be replaced when typical signs are observed, such as dramatic deterioration of the performance of your car.