Antifreeze / coolant are a vital part of keeping the engine running optimally. Without this, the temperature would either climb or drop to the point of damage to the engine, causing the vehicle much damage. The coolant works to keep the engine from overheating, and antifreeze helps to keep the engine from freezing if temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius. These days more aluminum makes up greater portions of the vehicles, because it is affordable and lightweight. Aluminum also corrodes faster in the elements, making the need for protection from harsh temperature changes all the greater.
There is a lot of energy that goes through a running engine. About a third of the thermal energy has nowhere to go, so this is why coolant is so important to keep the engine from burning up. One third of the thermal energy leaves the vehicle through the exhaust. The other third of the thermal energy goes into the actual running of the engine. If coolant were not present, the engine block would melt from the excessive heat energy. This is a possibility even if the outside temperatures are cold or freezing, once the engine turns over and runs it produces great amounts of heat.
Because engine blocks are made from several different types of metal, they are at risk for temperature-induced corrosion. Prevent corrosion by keeping the antifreeze / coolant to normal levels helps to keep the system at optimal temperatures. Without the fluids, the engine will have a build up and this can cause issues within the system as well. Having too low of coolant levels cause over half of all engine and cooling system issues. That is a big number of problems for something that is so easy to prevent.
The role of the antifreeze / coolant is great in today’s vehicles. Aside from the obvious protection from overheating and freezing it also woks to prevent corrosion, keeps the engine clean, stabilizes the temperatures and is safe on plastics and elastomers. Corrosion prevention is a recent benefit from the newer fluids, in the past they did not do this. Today’s vehicles are more complex and require higher performing products to keep them running well. It is best to use the fluid product specified by the manufacturer to keep the vehicle in the best shape possible. Never allow a vehicle to run without this, as this will damage the vehicle beyond minor repairs.