As the icy grip of winter takes hold, good engine care becomes increasingly important with the right choice of anti-freeze high on the seasonal checklist.
Andrew Cooper, Parts Product Planning Manager, casts his expert eye across the range of anti-freeze options available for vehicles this winter.
When it comes to anti-freeze, Blue and Red have traditionally been the go-to options. However, just as engines are evolving in line with new standards and technologies, so too are anti-freeze products.
The addition of Green (now generally used for older vehicles) and Purple means TPS now
has an even more comprehensive offering suitable for a wide variety of vehicles. But which is best for which application?
Blue Anti-Freeze is fast approaching obsolescence now as it fails to meet the performance requirements of modern vehicles. It’s a primitive additive package that hasn’t been used at first fill since the late 1990s so is suitable only for older vehicles requiring a basic, lower cost anti-freeze with a two-year and 60,000 mile life.
Red Anti-Freeze is currently used in 70% of the UK parc, so you might be forgiven for thinking it’s all you need.
First introduced in the 1990s to replace Blue at first fill, Red contains an inhibitor package based on organic acids that coat the surface of engine metals to make them unreactive. Suitable for use in both petrol and diesel engines, its main benefit is an extended life – typically five years and 100,000 miles.
But while Red offers extensive parc coverage today, its dominance is fast fading as the latest vehicles require an even more sophisticated anti-freeze product.
Green Anti-Freeze offers an enhanced inhibitor package that combines traditional and organic acid corrosion inhibitors and additives, providing better seal compatibility and corrosion protection. It also combines the protection of traditional anti-freeze technology with the slower depletion rates of organic acid technology (OAT) formulations, giving an extended life of up to three years. It also meets the performance criteria of most HGV OEMs and anti-freeze national specifications.
Purple Anti-Freeze is the latest generation of anti-freeze technology, providing a blend of traditional, silicate and organic acid corrosion inhibitor additives. It meets international performance requirements and several OEM specifications for light and heavy-duty usage. It also combines the advantages of a hybrid inhibitor package while maintaining a five-year and 100,000 mile life.
And crucially, Purple Anti-Freeze is now used at first fill across the Volkswagen Group. So while its parc coverage is currently only around 3%, this base will continue to grow.
Andrew Cooper, Parts Product Planning Manager for Volkswagen Group UK.
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS
Drain and refill – never mix anti-freeze colours. Use the same colour products already in the vehicle.