In many ways, coolant is the lifeblood of an engine. Coolants and antifreeze transfer heat away from the engine, protect metal, inhibit corrosion and protect engines from freezing in extreme temperatures.
But the wide variety of coolants, and different specs for their use, can lead to confusion for many owner-operators and fleet managers. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of heavy-duty engine problems can be traced to poor coolant system maintenance.
Manufacturers have tried to eliminate confusion by adding colored dyes to coolants. The dyes differentiate the different types of coolant, and distinguish them from water and other underhood fluids.
Some of the most common heavy-duty truck coolant colors are:
- Green – These conventional low-silicate coolants require the addition of supplemental coolant additives, or SCAs. They also demand continual topping off with water or green antifreeze, which can create an inexact balance of chemicals. For this reason, green coolant is becoming obsolete in heavy-duty applications.
- Pink – Pink, or in some cases purple, dye is used for fully formulated ethylene glycol coolants. With these coolants, the initial SCA dose is included in the mix; however, SCAs must be monitored with test strips and added at regular service intervals.
- Red – Red is used for organic acid technology OAT and NOAT coolants. OAT coolants use organic acid technology to inhibit corrosion, scaling, pitting and cavitation of engine components. NOAT coolants add nitrites to organic acid technology to prevent engine damage.
Although NOAT and OAT coolants work in similar ways, nitrite-free OAT coolants are preferred for modern engines. That’s because modern engines have more aluminum components, such as brazed aluminum heat exchangers, and nitrite-free coolants offer better protection for aluminum. Neither OAT nor NOAT coolants require SCAs.
ROAD CHOICE IS THE RIGHT CHOICE
Because coolant types also differ in their lifespans, Road Choice offers four popular categories to meet every application and service interval:
- Road Choice Conventional Green Antifreeze & Coolant requires continual topping off and SCAs at intervals of every 25,000 miles, or as specified by the engine manufacturer. It protects all makes and models of light-duty diesel and older automotive vehicles from corrosion and rust.
- Road Choice SCA Precharged Fully Formulated Antifreeze & Coolant is a pink coolant that is specifically formulated to reduce maintenance and improve the lifespan of heavy-duty diesel engines. Its unique blend and high-quality corrosion inhibitors contain SCAs or nitrite at the correct levels. It is formulated for heavy-duty diesel, gasoline and natural gas engine cooling systems.
- Road Choice NOAT Extended Life Antifreeze & Coolant is a red coolant that is engineered to go 750,000 miles between change intervals without losing its engine-protectant qualities. It does not need to be recharged or refreshed, and is formulated for heavy-duty diesel, gasoline and natural gas engine cooling systems.
- Road Choice Nitrite Free Extended Life Antifreeze & Coolant is a red coolant for heavy-duty engines that provides a service life of up to 1 million miles. Like Road Choice NOAT Extended Life Antifreeze & Coolant, it also doesn’t require recharging. It is formulated for heavy-duty diesel, gasoline and natural gas engine cooling systems.
TIME TO UPGRADE TO ELC?
Both Road Choice Extended Life NOAT and Nitrite Free Extended Life OAT are compatible with green and pink coolants, and can be used to top them off. However, switching to an extended life coolant, or ELC, is often a better and more cost-effective choice. Although ELCs cost more than conventional green coolants, they do a better job of protecting engine components, provide better heat transfer and corrosion protection, eliminate the need for SCAs, and require less downtime with their longer maintenance intervals.
Road Choice coolants are available in both concentrated formulas and pre-mixed 50/50 blends. And like all other Road Choice products, they’re backed by a minimum one-year warranty.