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Hey, you're in the vehicle / car zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Cars / Trucks / Vans Category: Radiator

Maintenance Issues:

How to choose the right antifreeze / coolant.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Brand name ethylene glycol-based antifreeze / coolant

  • Reconstituted (recycled) antifreeze / coolant can be used so long as it meets ASTM's industry standards and the respective standard of the applicable manufacturer of your vehicle


When shopping for antifreeze / coolant, you will most likely encounter two main types of antifreeze / coolant: 1) Reconstituted antifreeze / coolant; and 2) The brand name ethylene glycol-based antifreeze / coolant.

The reconstituted antifreeze / coolant is, admittedly, the cheapest of the two purchase options, but may a risky purchase for your vehicle and yourself as the vehicle owner.  The


reason being is simple: Until recently, there was no technology available to properly make reconstituted / recycled antifreeze / coolant as good as the brand name ("virgin") ethylene glycol-based antifreeze / coolant, nor was there, again until recently, adequate technology to rid it of all of the inherent vehicle-byproduct contaminants, let alone a known way of adding any additives to it to restore it to an acceptable condition from the substandard condition it is in once it is used.  This is why practically all vehicle manufacturers, including most notably General Motors, issued warnings against the use of reconstituted antifreeze / coolant.  Since the recent advent of being able to properly reconstitute antifreeze / coolant, such vehicle manufacturers have cautiously rescinded their warnings and have stipulated to the acceptance of reconstituted antifreeze / coolant in their manufactured vehicles without affecting the validation of any vehicle warranty, though usually with the restriction that such reconstituted antifreeze / coolant is certified to have met not only the standards of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), but the respective standards independently developed by the vehicle manufacturers.

In short, your saving a few dollars on the purchase of reconstituted antifreeze / coolant as opposed to the brand name ethylene glycol-based antifreeze will burden you with the need to not only make sure the reconstituted antifreeze / coolant meets the ASTM standards, but also the standards of your respective vehicle manufacturer, requiring you to check with it.

So, when purchasing antifreeze / coolant for your vehicle, the surest way of maintaining your vehicle warranty as may be applicable (without the burden of having to research your vehicle manufacturer's reconstitution standards) and having peace of mind is to purchase the brand name ethylene glycol-based antifreeze / coolant (that is not reconstituted) for your sake and the sake of your vehicle.  Otherwise, in exchange of paying a little less for reconstituted antifreeze / coolant over the name brand, be sure to have time to verify its having met the ASTM standards and the standards of your vehicle manufacturer.

Also, be mindful of replacing the antifreeze / coolant in your vehicle on a regular basis, following the recommendations set forth in the owner's manual of your vehicle.  This should go without saying, but make sure you properly dispose of old antifreeze / coolant at a local facility that specializes in handling such, since it should never be poured down the drain or outside onto the ground given its harmful elements.  Neglecting regular antifreeze / coolant replacement can lead to vehicle-overheating problems and even radiator failure.  It is no wonder the leading cause of vehicle breakdowns on the road is antifreeze / coolant maintenance neglect, according to the American Automobile Association.

So, be good to your radiator by seriously weighing the options of buying popular brand name ethylene glycol-based antifreeze / coolant (that is not reconstituted) and actually reconstituted antifreeze / coolant, and, in turn, your radiator will be good to you in making sure your vehicle operates smoothly.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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