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Glysantin®: It’s the approval that counts


* Only coolants that have been approved by the vehicle manufacturer offer reliable engine protection
* Different coolants should never be mixed

In the autumn, many cars are due for their next inspection. Typical maintenance jobs in the workshop include topping up or changing the fluids used in the vehicle. “The importance of the coolant is often underestimated”, says Ralf Strauss, Technical Manager, Marketing, for BASF’s Performance Chemicals for Automotive and Oil Industry. Whilst many vehicle workshops make sure, when changing the oil, that a type is used which is of the highest possible quality and approved by the manufacturer, too little attention is paid to choosing the right coolant.

“A coolant like Glysantin® is just as much a high-tech product as a synthetic engine oil”, explains Strauss. For the automobile manufacturers, the coolant is so important that they only used approved products to fill their new cars for the first time. Each manufacturer sets different requirements for its coolants, depending on the engine and on the metals and plastics used in the cooling system.

If a non-approved product is used for the coolant, damage can be caused to the engine. Strauss also advises against mixing different coolants in general. “Coolants are tailor-made products that can only develop their full effect if they are not mixed. It’s the same as trying to mix a good red wine with white wine and expecting to get a delicious rosé.”

Only a coolant approved by the manufacturer can effectively protect the engine not only against overheating in summer and freezing in winter, but also against corrosion all year round. If a non-approved product is used or mixed with an approved coolant, the metallic components of the cooling system – the cooler, water pump, crank case and cylinder head – can corrode. Corrosion particles are created which block up the fine cooler ducts and reduce the cooling performance. Overheating when driving down the motorway in summer can easily result.

But plastic parts, hoses and seals can also be affected if a non-approved coolant or a coolant mixture is used. As a result, seals can start to leak and hoses can burst. The cylinder head gasket can also be damaged, which means that oil can leak into the cooling water. An expensive visit to the car repair workshop is usually the consequence.

A coolant has to successfully go through 30 different tests, on average, before it is approved by the vehicle manufacturer. These include, in particular, various corrosion tests, but also tests to ensure compatibility with original components of the cooling system. In addition, measurements are carried out on the various liquid parameters, such as density or pH value, for example, or on how much the cooling liquid foams on heating. To test compatibility, plastic components from the cooling system are immersed for up to 1000 hours in boiling coolant and then inspected for changes.

A further important element in the approval process are long-term trials on the engine test stand. After continuous loading for a few hundred hours, the coolant is examined for traces of corrosion products. In addition, the engineers take the engine apart and look carefully at all the parts which transport the coolant. Has the surface of the water pump become rougher on the inside during the course of the test? What do the cooling ducts in the cylinder head look like? Are the blades on the cooler blocked?

Finally, a fleet test with severally vehicles is generally carried out, often over 2 years or 200,000 km. The fleet test is by far the most elaborate and expensive part of the approval procedure. Here too, the coolant is examined at regular intervals, and at the end, the engines and coolers are taken apart, cut up and assessed.

Only when the coolant has successfully undergone all the tests does it receive approval from the vehicle manufacturer. “The entire process takes between three and five years and can easily cost a million euros”, says Axel Kistenmacher, Sales Manager of Glysantin® in Europe. Every time the formula is changed, the coolant has to go through the entire approval procedure all over again.

Glysantin® has been approved by the most manufacturers in the automobile industry. These include Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, VW, General Motors, Opel, Peugeot, Citroën and Porsche. These trust the quality of Glysantin® when they first fill their new vehicles too.

BASF Performance Chemicals – always one idea ahead!
The product range of the BASF Business Unit Performance Chemicals for Automotive and Oil Industry includes engine coolants, brake fluids and other specialized fluids, mineral oil dyes and markers, refinery chemicals, diesel and gasoline additives, low molecular weight polyisobutene (Glissopal®) and medium and high molecular weight polyisobutene (Oppanol®). Our products are marketed worldwide. We are one of the leading suppliers in these fields. Further information on our products can be found at


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