Real Men Keep Their Cool
As a manly “man’s man,” you know all there is to know about keeping your “man card” up to date, right? Like keeping your car in tip-top shape, for instance. There are a bunch of things you need to do—regular maintenance kinds of things—to keep your car from turning its back on you. Changing your oil regularly. Keeping the tires inflated. Replacing the air filter. Making sure your spark plugs are doing their thing. You even keep your baby clean and replenish your rear-view mirror-hanging air fresheners (Black Ice, anyone?). And even hit it with a coat of wax or two a couple times a year.
When it comes to taking care of your car, however, there’s an unsung hero under your hood that always seems to get overlooked—the radiator. It may seem insignificant when compared to the engine or the transmission, but the radiator is what keeps everything at an even temperature. It’s like that neutral “can’t-we-just-get-along?” friend who will break up fights between two other friends. It’s basically a temperature controller.
How To Keep Her Happy
So, how do you help your radiator help your car? How do you protect your ride from Mother Nature’s wrath when she gets hot flashes in the summer? Or when she goes on a nasty cold streak in the winter? Well, you need to flush and fill your radiator coolant every 5 years or 150,000 miles (for extended life coolants). You may also know it by its street name, antifreeze (although that sounds more like a rad name for an underground metal band).
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself what antifreeze/coolant is exactly. What does it do? Don’t worry, pal, because you don’t need a certificate in Auto Mechanics or an engineering degree from MIT to figure this out. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version (don’t act like you don’t know what Cliff’s Notes are): antifreeze is the liquid that can be found living in your radiator. It’s designed to keep the water in your radiator from boiling over in extreme summer heat, and also prevents your radiator from freezing in super cold temps. It works thanks to something we refer to as “a car chemistry cocktail”: a mix of water and ethylene glycol, plus inhibitors. With a 50/50 mix of water, your cooling system can withstand temperature extremes between -34F to 265F. It’s best to check the protection chart on the product label as these percentages could adjust slightly based on region and climate.
The ethylene glycol is the secret, super awesome ingredient that makes all the magic happen. It is the key chemical component used in antifreeze. And when it’s properly mixed (with a perfect ratio), you get some wicked stuff that keeps your radiator fluid from boiling over. It also keeps your radiator fluid from freezing—even in sub-zero temperatures. It’s that simple.
OK, now that you’ve got the down-low on antifreeze/coolant, you can show off your knowledge to your boys. And when your friends ask you how you know this stuff—or how you learned it, do what manly men do: pretend you knew it all along. A “my-dad-taught-me-all-this-stuff-when-I-was-a-kid” reply usually works just fine. Then ask them who they’re starting in their Fantasy Football league to change the subject and get them off kilter.