When to Switch to Extended Life Coolants
As technology advances and newer diesel engines prove to produce greater heat, the quality of one’s coolant becomes just as important as the quality of one’s motor oil in order to draw heat away from the engine. The case for Extended Life Coolants (ELCs) is strong in light and heavy-duty diesel engines due to the Organic Acid Technology (OAT) in ELCs and the benefits that this technology brings.
Unlike conventional coolants that use inorganic compounds, such as silicates, ELCs use organic acids that are less abrasive and corrosive, especially to materials like aluminum and magnesium. These OAT additives protect the parts of metal surfaces that are most vulnerable to corrosion rather than the entire surface, meaning that only a portion of the compounds deplete at once, therefore extending the life of the coolant. This decreases the need for frequent maintenance and additional silicate additives, and it also decreases labor costs for fleets and other operations.
Most importantly, however, this technology keeps engines protected. Traditional coolants with silicate additives eventually build up deposits in the cooling system that amass and reduce heat transfer. ELCs, which do not contain silicates, improve heat transfer by over 10% to protect from damaging oxidation and cavitation. Their formulas are also easier on water pump systems so that water pumps and pump seals remain lubricated and safe from wear.
Not all engines can handle ELCs, particularly old engines, but ELC formulas are appropriate for many applications. Ethylene glycol based ELCs are most common in truck and off-highway equipment. Many ELCs universally cater to diesel, gasoline, and natural gas engines. Propylene glycol based ELCs are less toxic and common in operations that involve contact with humans and animals. For warmer climates and marine applications, a water based ELC provides excellent heat transfer.
Depending on the engine’s age and the manufacturer’s requirements, an Extended Life Coolant is a great way to provide heat protection in engines that are increasingly producing more heat. Automotive and industrial operations can universally benefit from the longer operating hours that ELCs offer, saving money and time in turn.