Some call it antifreeze; others call it coolant. Whatever label you give it, it is a fluid in your radiator that performs many important jobs for car care. This fluid goes through your engine to keep your car engine running smoothly.
Coolant is, typically, a 50/50 mixture of glycol and water combined, and the coolant can be purchased at a local car repair and parts shop.
The glycol plays the role of the 'anti-freeze' component of the combination. This ensures that the fluid won't turn to ice or freeze in severe winter cold conditions. Additionally, Glycol prevents the fluid from overheating or boiling in extreme heat conditions. Water alone can cool your car in hot weather conditions, but cannot prevent rust and corrosion and this is the need for coolant added. Coolant contains other additives that can prevent these things from occurring inside of your radiator, which would inevitably circulate throughout your car engine causing severe damages. The coolant also provides lubrication to moving parts in your engine, as it passes through them.
The engine of a car can run at extreme levels of heat, even in the coldest of winters. It is critical to your cars' performance that you maintain the antifreeze/coolant at the appropriate levels. Check and or change the antifreeze on a regular basis. If your car overheats during driving, one of the first signs is the extreme amount of steam and heat coming from under the cars hood. Allow the car to appropriately cool down before you attempt to open the radiator cap or add the coolant. This may require turning your car off and parking it (preferably in a shady location) for an hour or two, and possibly longer. Attempting to carry on driving if your car is overheating, even for a short distance is not recommended. It can cause your radiator to overheat. Leaving you with a nasty repair bill.
It is recommended that your coolant should be checked on a weekly basis or at the very least on a monthly basis during your routine car care process. Especially during the hot summer months as your car uses coolant much quicker. You can opt to bring your car to a car repair shop to have the coolant filled and checked, and flush the radiator if needed. Generally, there will be a plastic, see-through tank with level indicators on it. To fill your radiator, mix a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water (you can also buy ready mixed coolant which you obviously do not need to dilute) then pour into the radiator tank until it reaches the full line. Antifreeze (or coolant) is just one of the many ways you can protect your cars' engine and keep it running at its' best.