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Preventing Over-heating and Corrosion In Your Car

For hotrod, sports cars and older cars, especially cars that are infrequently driven, overheating and corrosion are all too common problems.

Many people are surprised to learn that the traditional 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze is not the most efficient way to cool your engines. Water alone is the most efficient medium, but there are two problems associated with water as the only coolant. First, water will freeze in the winter and usually cracks the engine block. Second, antifreeze includes corrosion inhibitors and water pump lubricant, both necessary for you cooling system.

Here's how to get around those problems.

  • Replace your drain petcock with a sacrificial zinc anode or have an appropriate-sized bung added to your radiator. These anodes are commonly used in marine engines and - surprise - the hot water heater in you house uses one. It's proven technology and you can buy them at boating supply stores or Amazon.
  • Add a surfactant like Water Wetter, available at auto parts stores. This product reduces the surface tension of the coolant keeping bubbles from forming, increasing coolant to metal contact and improving the transfer of heat to the coolant.
  • To replace the corrosion inhibitors and water pump lubricant, just add a bottle of  the very same thing, also found at auto parts stores.

In the spring, drain all the coolant from the system, add the above ingredients to refill your radiator and top off with distilled water (never tap water - too many minerals and electrolytes that will cause scale and corrosion). Most importantly, write down how much water you use to fill the radiator because

In the fall when cold weather is upon us in the fall, drain one-half of the water and replace with anti-freeze whether you will be driving your car in the cold or not. Why go to all this trouble? To keep your engine block from cracking as water expands when frozen . . . or don't -- it's your call.

Every Spring and Fall: Lather. Rise. Repeat.


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