Backyard mechanics will often tell you that nothing beats pure water as a coolant. While it is true that water's high heat capacity allows it to carry more heat away from the engine than any other liquid out there, cooling is about more than just heat capacity. In fact, there are a number of problems with running plain tap water in your automobile's cooling system.
Mineral deposits: Tap water is not pure. It contains many dissolved minerals that will, over time, leave deposits within your cooling system. Just like the scale deposits forming on faucets and shower heads, these can clog the tiny water passages inside the radiator. Sludge and scale can even foul your water pump, leading to disastrous overheating.
Rust and corrosion: This should seem pretty obvious, but it's often overlooked by many owners and mechanics. Car radiators are made of aluminum. This is what makes them effective at transferring heat. But water corrodes aluminum. Over time, electrolytic corrosion can cause pinhole leaks in your radiator that can lead to total failure.
Boiling: Due to the heat released by burning fuel, your engine constantly runs between 90-115 degrees Celsius. The boiling point of water is a mere 100 degrees Celsius, lower than that of coolant. While the high pressure of the cooling system raises water's boiling point (by literally squeezing it so it can't boil), surfaces roughened by deposits and corrosion can create bubbling hot spots long before the rest of the water starts to boil. Once bubbles form inside the cooling system, things start to go downhill, as steam does not transfer heat as efficiently as water, creating more hot spots and more boiling.
Cavitation: In extreme-duty use, high vibration and high engine speeds can cause tiny pockets of water to start boiling as the pressure around the water pump and cylinders fluctuates (as high pressure raises the boiling point, low pressure, naturally, lowers it). These cavitation bubbles are dangerous, because they create tiny shockwaves as they implode, damaging the metal underneath them.
Protect Your Radiator
Thus, while many people still see coolant as a needless expense, using plain water is actually riskier and more expensive in the long run. Good off-the-shelf remedies, like Prestone's new Radiator Protect, are formulated with specially de-mineralized water that will not leave scale or other deposits. It also contains corrosion inhibitors that prevent rust and corrosion, leaving a protective layer that prevents damage to the thin-walled aluminum tubing inside your radiator. While other coolants however, use toxic ethylene glycol, and can sometimes form sludge when mixed with non-compatible coolants, Radiator Protect is ethylene glycol free, and is formulated to not react chemically with other types of coolants. In addition, a special UV-dye additive helps owners pinpoint coolant leaks easily with a simple hand-held blacklight.And it provides all this at a more affordable price point than traditional coolant products, making the switch from water pain-free, both for your engine and your wallet.
Check out this short video to know more about how water can cause damage to your radiator:
Prestone Radiator Protect is available from Ace Hardware, Handyman, Blade, True Value, Seaoil Fuel Stations, and auto supply stores nationwide. For more information about Prestone Radiator Protect and other products, visit Prestone Philippines on Facebook or click here.