We know, there are now 300 billion different antifreezes out there – that makes things simple, huh? Here’s what’s up with the nitrite free version.

This story is rooted in fuel economy. 

In very brief terms, class 8 engine manufacturers are continually looking for ways to reduce the weight and increase the fuel efficiency of their motors. One way they’re shedding a few pounds is by using less steel and more aluminum parts.

Used to coat wet liners for protection from cavitation, nitrites have been a staple in antifreeze formulations –  because they have worked well. Now that engines are being built with more aluminum, coolant formulations are starting to change because Nitrites and aluminum just don’t get along all that well! 

The problem is that nitrites react with the flux used to braze aluminum parts together. As a result, the coolant’s acidity changes which leads to metal corrosion. This has led to an increased use of nitrite free antifreeze in the market. 

So that’s the end of it? It’s all nitrite free now? Unfortunately not.  There’s not a consensus in the market as to what’s best for the new configurations, but one thing is certain, the nitrite vs. nitrite free coolant debate is one that will continue for some time.

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