Jason McKinsey, Lehman Volvo Cars Service Manager, writes about Volvo trending topics, including this month’s segment on the importance of using the correct coolant in your Volvo.
Looking for more information on a particular Volvo service topic? Submit your topic suggestion to Jason at email@example.com.
Volvo Coolant: 101
By: Jason McKinsey
With cooler weather on the horizon, many Volvo owners may be concerned with the condition of their vehicle’s coolant, also known as antifreeze. Owners worry about the ability of their vehicle’s coolant to withstand the low winter temperatures, as well as the proper type of coolant to use.
Why does your engine need coolant? Heat is a byproduct of the internal combustion engine. Approximately one third of the energy created by the fuel/air mixture of an internal combustion engine produces usable power. The other two thirds of the energy is generated in heat form. Therefore, the engine must be cooled to maintain safe operating temperatures and to avoid engine damage or failure. Water transfers heat efficiently, but it has some issues when exposed to harsh conditions in and around an automotive engine. The largest issue is when water turns into steam before the engine reaches operating temperature and freezes. This causes damage to the engine when temperatures drop below freezing. Water also causes corrosion in the metals of an engine. Coolant is used to raise the boiling point and lower the freezing point of water, as well as protect the cooling system and prevent engine corrosion. Coolant is extremely important to your Volvo engine.
Most common engine coolants are made with Ethylene Glycol or Propylene Glycol. Knowing which one your Volvo requires is vital! Volvo uses an Ethylene Glycol coolant mixture that is 50/50 coolant and water. When mixing your coolant with water, be sure to use a low mineral water. This will prevent mineral deposits from forming in your Volvo’s engine. If you are unsure of the mineral content of your proposed water source, use distilled water. Now the big question: what kind of coolant to use?
A high quality coolant will provide thousands of hours and 150,000+ miles of problem free driving. A less-expensive, low quality coolant uses lower quality rust inhibitors and will need replaced more often to maintain a corrosion free cooling system. If corrosion occurs, particles build up causing blockage in smaller passages of the cooling system—either in the radiator and/or in the heater core. Both of which, are costly to replace. Mixing different types of engine coolant can cause “carcinogenic nitrosamines,” a gel-like substance that can also cause blockage in the cooling system. It is extremely important to use the same coolant that is currently in your Volvo to avoid these problems.
Our Volvo technicians can easily check your coolant based on its appearance and density. Your Volvo’s coolant should be routinely checked and topped off. If the coolant is discolored, contaminated, or does not perform in cold temperatures, a coolant flush and fill service should be performed. The proper mixture of Volvo coolant will provide antifreeze protection down to -36 degrees Fahrenheit. Feel free to contact our service department if you would like to have your Volvo’s engine coolant checked.
To help prepare your Volvo for the winter weather, Lehman Volvo Cars is offering a special savings on a coolant flush and fill for only $99.95* (regularly priced at $138.00), when you mention this article.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at Jason@lehmanvolvocarsyork.com or by phone at 717-755-7676.
*plus tax. Offer ends 11.30.17.