Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Coolant for 2001 PT Cruiser: anitfreeze type or water only for South Florida?

I am in disagreement with my husband on the proper coolant for my PT Cruiser. I am of the opinion that we should be using antifreeze. My husband says that plain water is just as good since we live in Cape Coral, Florida and do not have to worry about freezing temperatures. He claims that the antifreeze makers are just trying to make a buck on us Southern Floridians. Who's right?

Comments

  • edited February 2011
    Your husband is misinformed.

    A mix of antifreeze and water, required for several important reasons, provides:
    1: Freeze protection
    2: A raised boiling point for the coolant (extra protection for overheating)
    3: Rust inhibitors and acid neutralizers (both of which naturally build up over time).
    4: Water pump bearing lubricant
    5: And there are some other benefits that escape me at the moment.

    You do want the antifreeze in your coolant.
  • edited February 2011
    JoeMario is right on the mark. Ask your husband if it's cheaper to buy a few gallons of coolant now or to replace corroded-out parts of the cooling system later.
  • edited February 2011
    Your husband is wrong for many reasons. I hope he reads these posts and wakes up. Engines needs an antifreeze/water mixture to be properly protected and run cooler.
  • edited February 2011
    JoeMario nailed pretty much everything I was going to say.

    This isn't 1960--modern cars need more than just water.
  • edited February 2011
    You should made a friendly bet with your dude.
    antifreeze is also a coolant, to keep the engine cool. Look on the bottle and it will read antifreeze/coolant

    ok husband dude, you owe your wife a trip to Red Lobster
  • edited February 2011
    Keeping your engine from freezing is just one small part of what antifreeze/coolant does. Rust and corrosion inhibition is important, as is electrolysis protection, and pH level control.
  • edited February 2011
    In tropical areas, the auto parts stores sell corrosion inhibitor/water pump lube that can be used with distilled water for adequate protection for your cooling system. It takes only a few ounces. I have never seen that stuff for sale in the US, but if your husband should go to Costa Rica or Nicaragua and bring some back, then I think we would approve of his doing without antifreeze. Antifreeze does raise the boiling point of your water a few degrees, but that is not really a concern in a pressurized system if nothing else is wrong.
  • edited February 2011
    A gallon of pre-mix is cheaper than going to Nicaragua by a long run. Also, straight water in any engine with Aluminum heads is asking for very expensive engine damage.
  • edited February 2011
    5: And there are some other benefits that escape me at the moment.

    Like a greater ability to transfer heat.

    Nice response JoeMario
This discussion has been closed.