Coolants are the types of fluids that are often ignored and overlooked. In the past, vehicles were much less sophisticated than they are now. Lasting 100,000 miles was a milestone that warranted celebration amongst vehicle owners, and most vehicles even used the same type of oil. Fast-forward to modern-day vehicles, and it is safe to say that more specific maintenance and repair protocols are required.
When it comes to import vehicles such as BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, choosing the correct coolant is extremely important and cannot be overlooked. Because the majority of coolant has additives such as dye and anti-foaming agents, it is highly recommended be sure that any additive reacts properly with your vehicle’s engine and cooling system. Proper antifreeze is designed to not only keep your vehicle operating within a certain temperature range but also protect your vehicle’s internals from corrosion and damage as well as comply with rubber and plastic components (such as gaskets and seals.) If corrosion does occur, say, to the vehicle’s heater core, the vehicles entire engine could fail and need to be replaced entirely.
In short, you can avoid costly setbacks and repairs by taking your import vehicle to the Raleigh import engine cooling system technicians at Triangle Imports. We’ll be able to determine which type of coolant your import vehicle responds best to, which types you should stay away from, and any other information relating to your cooling system.
Three Main Types Of Coolant
- Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT) – Older vehicles, primarily vehicles built from 1930-1990, use IAT coolant. IAT coolant contains corrosion inhibitors (phosphate and silicate) that are designed to protect metal components of engines. The recommended lifespan of this coolant is about 2 years or 24,000 miles, which many may consider a short lifespan when compared to other more modern types.
- Organic Acid Technology (OAT) – Both General Motors and European imports have been known to use this type of coolant. OAT coolant does not contain silicates or phosphate but does include other types of corrosion inhibitors. The recommended lifespan of this coolant is about 5 years or 50,000 miles. OAT coolant is usually yellowish-orange in color but has also been known to come in green, pink, blue, red, and orange.
- Hybrid Organic Technology (HOAT) – This type of coolant is used primarily to protect aluminum surfaces from corrosion. That said, if your import vehicle has an aluminum radiator, there’s a good chance it will respond best to this coolant. HOAT coolant is a mix of IAT and OAT coolant and has a projected lifespan of around 5 years or 100,000 miles or more.
Coolant For Aluminum Radiators
The majority of coolants sold today are designed to protect aluminum radiators. One major aspect that import vehicle owners tend to miss is the fact that many coolants designed for aluminum radiators need to be mixed with distilled water, not regular, run-of-the-mill water. This is because undistilled water contains minerals that have been known to eat through aluminum, corrosion inhibitors or not. If water is “hard”, it is likely full of iron. If water is “softened”, there’s a high chance it contains sodium and/or salt. Both softened and hardened water can be damaging to aluminum radiators. Buying the coolant pre-mixed is one way to avoid this setback, as long as you’re purchasing the correct kind for your beloved import vehicle!
Can You Drive On Low Coolant?
In short, it is highly recommended not to drive on low coolant. Doing so can create air bubbles in the coolant system itself, which can damage the entire engine to overheat because there will be a significant temperature spike. The engine’s head gasket is typically the first component to become damaged and blow, which will require repairs that quickly become costly. Corrosion can also occur with low coolant, as the chemical compounds of the coolant shield the engine from potential rust.
Overheating Coolant Pumps
If you’re driving a 2013-2016 Audi with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, be aware that Audi has recalled approximately 1.2 million cars due to faulty and overheating coolant pumps in early 2019. The models affected by overheating and faulty coolant pumps include:
- 2013-2016 Audi A4
- 2013-2017 Audi A7
- 2012-2015 Audi A6
- 2013-2017 Audi Q5
If you own one of these models, be sure to schedule an inspection with our Raleigh Audi service technicians. By doing so, you can avoid additional costly repairs that occur when coolant pumps overheat. Overheated engines are extremely costly to repair or replace!
Schedule Your Cooling System Service in Raleigh
Maintaining your import vehicle’s cooling system can be complicated and we are here to help. If you have questions about your vehicle’s recommended coolant, be sure to let us know by giving us a calling our Raleigh shop at 919-948-3444 or by filling out the contact form below.