Antifreeze is a colored liquid that is mixed with water to achieve a lower freezing point so that your engine functions properly in cold environments. Coolants are made up of 50% propylene glycol and 50% water. It is required to prevent overheating in the car’s cooling system by circulating the fluid in the engine. A properly functioning cooling system is required for the car’s engine to work smoothly which implies that the coolant should be effective.
Does antifreeze go bad?
The simple answer to your question is, Yes. Antifreeze deteriorates if not stored properly. However, you should be careful when storing them for longer periods. If the coolant gets mixed with water or other particles while storing, then it can be spoiled and would not suitable for use in a car.
However, the concentrated coolant doesn’t contain water and can be stored longer such that the acid build-up is avoided. Once it reaches a stage and starts to build up acid, it is no longer useful.
How long does coolant last?
The concentrated antifreeze has an indefinite shelf life, provided it is stored properly. On the other hand, premix fluid has a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years. These premix coolants have water added to them and hence needs to be used in one go. Such premix coolants that are left after you have filled them in your car should not be stored and if stored then you should use them as early as possible.
Concentrate coolants can also degrade over time due to the acid buildup in the bottle as it lessens the effectiveness of corrosion prevention. These coolants need to be stored in their original container. It is suggested that you label the bottle with a marker so the deterioration can be seen with the marker deterioration.
Wondering if antifreeze goes bad in your car? It starts to degrade as soon as it’s added to your car’s engine. Hence, it is advised to change it regularly. The changing time for antifreeze depends on the vehicle and also the condition it is run in. You might need to change the coolant quicker if the car is in a warmer environment. Also, the vehicle that is used for towing tends to heat up faster degrading the quality of the coolant.
Steps to test the quality of antifreeze in your car.
Follow the steps given below for visual tests on the coolant in your car to know if it has gone bad.
1) Open the sealed cooling system in your car to check the quality of the coolant. Make sure that the car has not been used for around 12 hours. This will allow the rather hot cooling system to come back to normal temperature. If the system is accessed when hot, you are likely to be sprayed by hot fluid.
2) You should now be looking for the reservoir in which the coolant is stored. Check if the fluid has rusted and if any particles are floating on its surface. If your coolant has a rusty color and some particles then it’s likely degraded.
3) Some cars don’t have reservoirs, so you should check out the radiators. Once it’s warm enough to touch rotate it anticlockwise to open. If the coolant in the radiator is very less in quantity or it has a muddy and rusty look, you should consider changing the fluid as soon as possible.
You can also check the quality of the antifreeze by using a test strip. These strips come with directions to follow and also indications of the colors to check for after the test. All you have to do is dip the strip into the fluid and observe the color change in the strip and what it indicates.
The answer to your question “Does antifreeze go bad?” is a simple “Yes”. You should always care about the way you store leftover coolants and make sure that it’s not contaminated with dust or particles. If stored and preserved properly the concentrated antifreeze would surely last longer but should be used up before it starts to build up acids. Moreover, the premixed coolant is to be used in one go or as soon as possible as they already have water content and would not last long.