Is It Safe to Use Water Instead of Coolant?

November 26, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

Before we get into the “whys” and the explanations, let’s just answer this question right off the bat—no, you should never use water instead of coolant in your Lubbock, TX vehicle’s coolant tank.

However, you might be surprised at just how commonplace this practice is. There are many people who believe using distilled water instead of coolant is suitable for vehicles driven in hot climates. This usually comes down to their mistakenly believing that antifreeze is only necessary for vehicles that will be driven in cold-weather conditions.

You should know it is a massive safety risk to put water into the coolant tank instead of coolant, as this could result in catastrophic breakdowns or accidents.

Coolant and its importance

Coolant is also referred to as antifreeze, but that name is misleading because its purpose isn’t just to prevent freezing. This is an additive that gets mixed 50/50 with water to increase the range at which water will boil or freeze. The water/coolant mixture freezes at negative 35 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and boils at 223 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat that gets generated during the standard combustion process can build up quickly, resulting in extreme temperatures that can cause the cylinder head to warp or the gasket head to blow. It can also result in other forms of severe engine damage. If you were to just use water rather than the coolant mixture, high temperatures inside the motor would easily boil that water and cause it to evaporate, meaning you’d quickly have no coolant at all and the engine would easily overheat.

Meanwhile, in extreme cold, just using water would result in the water freezing inside the engine, which could cause cracks in the radiator or heater core, warping in the cylinder head and damage to the engine block.

This is why coolant is so important—it stays in a liquid state even during extreme operating conditions and temperatures, and helps your vehicle’s engine run smoothly for a long time. You should regularly check the coolant levels in your vehicle to make sure they are sufficient and add more as needed, but just make sure you’re keeping a 50/50 water and coolant ratio at all times.

The water you use in this mixture should be pure, distilled water rather than tap water, the latter of which might have minerals that could build up inside the radiator and prevent proper flow of the coolant. Address any leaks as soon as you notice them—you’ll notice the color of the coolant (usually a bright color) when you move your vehicle on the floor of your garage.

In addition, make sure any coolant you use is suitable for your specific vehicle, as using the improper type of coolant can cause corrosion inside the engine and damage to specific parts, such as hoses, belts, cylinder gaskets, radiator and water pump.

For more information about the dangers of using water in the cooling system in Lubbock, TX, contact the mechanics at M & M Tire & Service Center today.

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