There are a number of aftermarket coolants that also claim to be a 'lifetime' product and would not require a complete draining, flushing of the old coolant, and using a conditioner to strip all the surfaces to get rid of any residual leftover coolant before installing the new coolant. That sounds a bit extreme unless there is a specific need for the enhanced coolant, such as an extreme environment or load on the motor.
Peak makes a "Global Lifetime" coolant that should do the trick just as well, and can be added to any type of existing coolant without a problem.
I had the Peak Global Lifetime put in a ‘10 CTS-V when it was due for a change for the intercooler and main coolant. It is unclear from their wording whether it needs a change or not later to keep that warranty, but it does cover a certain monetary amount for repairs. (If you have a hard time finding it, I found the pre-mixed version at Walgreens! Of all places.....)
Just be aware that Evans coolant does not transfer heat as well as traditional coolant mixtures. Its specific heat is only about 60% of a traditional coolant. I know of at least a couple of people that used this coolant, then drove a track day, and warped an aluminum head from the heat. I know one driver and he reported that coolant and oil temps were higher on the street after switching to Evans coolant, but decided to try it on the track anyway. It was an expensive, several thousand dollar experiment.
Looking over the Evans tech tips is somewhat confusing as they talk about over driving or under driving the water pump, restricting the radiator flow, or opening up the flow, and the coolant temp compared to metal temp of the system. Sounds like too much work to me. I guess I would stick to the factory tested 50/50 mix and leave it at that. They also mention the need to replace the regular coolant when the mixture ratio is off due to evaporation or boiling over, and the need to replace the Evans coolant if it becomes contaminated. to me that sounds like you need to carry a jug of coolant in case it is needed. It may not be available at the local fuel station. Probably not a good idea for a commuter car, or for a cross country trip.
Same problem when synthetic oil was first introduced and it couldn't be mixed with regular oil. Then along came Mobil1 which could be mixed with regular oil (but not recommended) at least you had an alternative if you got stuck with no synthetic oil available.
I actually didn't know about this product, until someone here mentioned it, a little while back.
Since I took Organic Chemistry like 3 times, literally, before it took in my brain, I actually ended up being the top of my class, so I like looking into things chemical wise. (But still, even though I've pulled the MSDS of Marvel Mystery Oil before, I didn't think of pulling (google searching) the MSDS of Evans until yesterday. I am guessing brain farts only get worse as I will get older!)
It is ethylene glycol, 80 to 85%. There are 2% other products accounted for. The remaining 13 to 18 % is unaccounted for. I did not think about those 2% stuff. Too small % for now, unless you'd like me to? (I just saw them and 1% each, whatever...)
Like most things in life, there are pros and cons of almost everything.
The heat transfer properties are probably poorer. That is why the coolant manufacturers don't recommend putting straight concentrated ethylene glycol into your engine.
No, or very little pressure build up: I like that. Pressure takes it's toll on things. That said, I don't work in chemical engineering, or anything fancy. (Mostly I'm at home, pick up my son from school, send him to school....) So I think the water coolant mixture does not "act" like water, or ethylene glycol, alone and separate. It acts like a mixture, or azeotrope, again, I think! So there has been question, what do you add as coolant gets low? Some say just add water, some say add coolant, I personally mix water and coolant and then add that....
H20 is 1 O, 2 H. It is a HIGHLY oxygenated molecule. Oxygen is big, Hydrogen is small. When anything comes into contact with water, it is most likely going to bump into the Oxygen first, Oxygen has 4 reactive electrons, and 2 shared, one with each H (Group 6 element). No question it is reactive. Oxidize and Reduce are the two reactions I can (barely remember now). Oxidize is adding Oxygen, or removing electrons. (I wonder if I still remember it right...) Reduce is removing Oxygen, or adding electrons. Must I mention Fe (iron) plus Oxygen make rust. They named a whole class of reactions after Oxygen, "oxidize", so must be important!!!
One can mix 70% coolant and 30% water, and that has been the common limitation with ethylene glycol based coolants, but again, heat transfer may not be so good. I started adding my car work life with 60% 40%, then went to 55% 45%, and now as carefully as possible I use 50% 50% coolant to water (by volume) ratio, if that helps any. In the smart I saw condensation in the reservoir, asked about it here thinking the coolant had too much water, but was told normal. I only had to add some once. (I'm afraid I forgot what I mixed, but I think I went 55% 45% because I was still nervous about the condensation.)
Evans backs their stuff with a 2 year warranty. I'll stick with Old World Industries Peak Global "Lifetime" for now, ($1000), whenever I need to completely change the coolant that is. (I'm not brave enough to mix formulations, even though they say it is okay to do so. But if faced with changing it completely, that's what I went with. Don't forget Walgreens. I couldn't find it anywhere else a few/couple of years ago! I guess the reason auto parts stores don't stock it is because they want to keep selling us coolant! I've reread the warranty terms on the Global Lifetime and it seems (somewhat) clearer that once completely changed over then you are good to just top off the rest of your life.)
I did not have my smart long enough to change the coolant I believe, so please YMMV....
Test your coolant first, if it is bad change it, if it isn't, leave well enough alone. What does your temp gauge read.
I just took a 330 mile ride through Death Valley yesterday. It was only in the 70's -80's. Most of the time I saw 188-190 on my gauge. When I stopped at the overlooks it would go up to 194-196 degrees F. Most I saw once was 204F. Mind you I start out at 2800 feet at home, drop to -280 feet below sea level with many passes in between. Ninety percent of the time my temp ran at 188F. My car is a 2009 53,000 miles original coolant, that tested out good.
Test paraphernalia is cheap or almost free. If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, With a coupon you can for example buy a box of nitrile gloves (so you can keep your hands clean while testing) and get a free multi meter. Add on a Peak antifreeze/coolant tester from Auto Zone for $2.99 or test strips as "JetFuel" recommends vvvv Link below vvvvv and for around ten to twelve bucks you'll know if your coolant is good to go or should be changed. Plus you can reuse the equipment whenever you want.
Less than a year ago I changed out the radiator and complete front end. One of the reasons I am a big advocate for deer hunting I guess, so I don't have much time on the coolant in my smart. I did run my old Expedition for over 300K miles without any coolant problems and it used DexCool, which was a lifetime coolant. never had any overheating, or head gasket leaks, etc. and I was pretty rough on it. Lots of towing loads a bit too big, and the only thing i ever did besides the Mobil 1 oil changes was changing the trans fluid every 30K miles. It would start to act up if it wasn't changed. I was told at 70K miles my trans was in need of replacement and after changing the fluid, it worked fine. at 300K miles, I still had not replaced the transmission and it was working fine. So much for the dealership mechanics..
I'd say if it works, leave it. If you have a special need for something else, then change it. As for the molecular makeup, Too small to worry about it
Walmart carries a really cheap tester. It is basically a pipet with a little black tube to suction it up. There are little balls that will float to indicate protection level. (I don’t use it for that, so I guess that’s why I forgot). I use it to suck out fluid, from excess/dirty brake fluid to excess coolant, when I check after having service. I notice sometimes the balls will stick to the glass walls so I’m also not sure how reliable it is. (Maybe I damaged it with power steering or brake fluid contact)? Neither do I understand the voltage theory of old coolant at the moment. (Where does the voltage come from)? (Ah, I give up finding the shrugs emoticon)...
The voltage comes about when you have dis-similar metal in a liquid. Once the coolant becomes more acidic, it will promote more of the electrolysis that occurs. The little balls in the pipette measures the specific gravity of the fluid and based on that, gives you a protection level for the coolant. however, i doesn't measure the breakdown of the coolant, other tests will give that information.