Antifreeze is a crucial automotive additive, preventing your engine coolant from freezing. It is especially important over winter time. If antifreeze is low or absent, your car's performance will be impacted.


Antifreeze helps ensure the water used to cool your engine does not freeze; but it also helps prevent it from boiling in summer months.


The water pump directs this water around your engine. A component called ethylene glycol is key to antifreeze; it inhibits the ability of water molecules to expand and crystallize in low temperatures - essentially lowering the freezing point.


Without antifreeze, water of course freezes at 0 degrees celsius. But with antifreeze (50/50 water and ethylene glycol) the freezing point falls to -37 degrees. The boiling point rises slightly to 106 degrees.


Each year, before the winter set in, open your bonnet and top up your antifreeze. Here's how...


You'll find the coolant reservoir with warning stickers on the lid. Your vehicle’s handbook will show you where it is, if it is not immediately obvious. The reservoir should be transparent enough to see how much coolant is in there. Obviously, if there is a sufficient amount (up to the ‘full’ line), you do not need to open it.


If a top up is necessary, unscrew the coolant cap and pour in the antifreeze to the maximum mark. Ensure the engine is cool before you do this - ideally several hours after the last time it was used.


You should do this every few years.