Did you know that up to 20% of diesel engine failures or causes of engine downtime are related to coolant or cooling system failures? Extended Life Coolants (ELCs) have been specially designed to deliver better protection in heavy-duty on-highway diesel engines than traditional coolants at a lower overall cost. The inhibitors in ELCs help maximize heat transfer and help protect metal surfaces against corrosion in the cooling system.
Using the correct ELC, along with recommended coolant maintenance practices, can help avoid many cooling system problems and achieve optimum performance levels. There are several types of Heavy Duty ELCs that a user can select to help ensure superb engine cooling system protection:
- Extended Life Coolant with Nitrite (Ethylene Glycol based): First developed in the mid-1990s and introduced by Caterpillar for all their engines as factory fill, this is the most common Heavy Duty ELC found in the market in both trucks and off-highway equipment.
- Extended Life Coolant – Nitrite Free (Ethylene Glycol based): These have been more commonly associated with European Heavy Duty trucks, but their use is expanding in North America by OEMs that have European-based ownership. They provide good protection, but don’t provide liner protection equivalent to that of ELC with nitrites.
- Extended Life Coolants (Propylene Glycol Based): These are formulated the same as the above coolants but have a non-toxic propylene glycol base. Crucially, these can be used in operations where there are environmental concerns or where contact with humans or animals is possible.
- Extended Life Corrosion Inhibitor (Water Based): These provide the best heat transfer performance and the full benefits of ELC performance when freezing temperatures are not an issue. These are mainly found in warmer climates or in marine applications where the engines are not exposed directly to freezing weather.
Read a more detailed version of this article in Chevron Lube Matters.