What’s the Difference Between Coolant and Refrigerant?

August 5, 2019 10:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

To the uninitiated, coolant and refrigerant sound like two names for the same vehicle fluid. Though they’re both vital for your vehicle’s overall health, they’re far from the same liquid. In fact, replacing one with the other would lead to a total catastrophe that would inevitably necessitate AC repair in Port Charlotte, FL. Continue reading to learn the difference between these two liquids and what they do for your car.

Coolant

As you can probably tell by the name, coolant is used to cool your engine and ensure it doesn’t overheat. But it’s also much more than that. Coolant maintains the temperature under the hood and keeps it at about 1,700 degrees. Coolant circulates continuously from your engine to your radiator to keep the internal temperature at a safe level.

Coolant also contains antifreeze, which protects your engine from freezing (again, the name is kind of self-explanatory). Without antifreeze, engines in cold-weather climates could freeze up on cold days. Antifreeze also contains agents that protect your engine from rust and other contaminants. It’s important to note that these rust inhibitors have a finite shelf life, meaning your coolant needs to be replaced every once in a while.

You’ll know if your vehicle needs more coolant if your engine is running hotter than usual or if you notice a strange burning smell coming from under the hood. The number one sign that you need more coolant, however, is if steam starts to come out from under the hood. Be sure to bring your car in to a mechanic for a coolant flush as soon as possible if that happens.

Refrigerant

While coolant keeps the temperature stable under the hood, refrigerant ensures that you don’t sweat while you’re behind the wheel. Refrigerant is an integral component of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. For the most part, today’s vehicles use a refrigerant called R-1234yf that’s more eco-friendly and more effective than refrigerants from years ago.

Refrigerant works in a cycle to cool your cabin. It transitions from a liquid to a gas and then back again, absorbing and releasing heat as it goes. Luckily, this is a fairly fast process, so you never have to wait too long for your car to cool down.

In theory, refrigerant should never need to be replaced, since your vehicle’s AC system is sealed. However, that can change if you’re involved in a collision or some sort of accident that damages your AC. If your AC system is damaged and refrigerant starts to leak, you’ll need to bring your car in for AC repair in Port Charlotte, FL. The good news is that a mechanic can quickly recharge your refrigerant to ensure your AC works as well as it should.

Whether you need more refrigerant to cool your cabin, or more coolant to ensure your vehicle doesn’t overheat, be sure to come see our pros at Ice Cold Auto Repair! Our competitive prices and excellent customer service make us your go-to shop for auto air conditioning in Port Charlotte, FL.

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