Construction Equipment Global
Photographs by Juha Roininen


Keeping cool

In this article: Quality Innovation

Volvo CE has a specially developed range of coolants to match its high-performance, low-emission engines.

With up to 20% of engine failures attributed to cooling system problems, it makes sense that Volvo CE would develop its own coolant formula. “As Volvo construction machines work in many demanding environments and climates, it is extremely important to choose the right coolant,” advises Anne-Marie Rydström of Volvo’s Advanced Technology and Research Department.

To meet the demands of Volvo’s advanced high-performance engines, a specially formulated coolant – Volvo Coolant VCS – has been developed, recommended for most Volvo engines worldwide.

‘’Owners of Volvo CE machines have to realize that using the wrong coolant or mixing coolants can damage the engine, leading to costly and unnecessary repairs,” Rydström explains. “It can lead to corrosion, pitting, leakages and deposits – all of which reduce the life of an engine and increase maintenance requirements,” she says, adding: “There are good reasons why we recommend Volvo Coolant VCS.”

The main purpose of an engine coolant is to remove excess heat from the engine. Only one-third of the energy derived through the combustion of fuel is converted into usable energy that moves the vehicle. The other two-thirds are converted into heat, a third of which goes out via the exhaust. The remaining heat needs to be absorbed by the coolant and directed away from the engine. By removing this heat, the coolant allows the engine to operate efficiently.


Developed to flow easily at temperatures far below freezing point, the coolant is even recommended for use in hot climates where high-performance antifreeze protection might seem strange.

“In reality, the coolant we offer is like a bundle of components which are able to cope with all the potential temperature variations in an engine while providing many other performance benefits,” Rydström explains.

The formula has been on the market since 2006 and its performance is constantly being tested against new metal formulas and combinations under development for Volvo engines. Laboratory tests show how it performs during heating, with a very high boiling point and smaller bubbles to enable the product to stay in better contact with surfaces for prime protection in all conditions.

Volvo offers two different coolant formulations: Volvo Coolant VCS, yellow in color and typically used in most machines built since 2006, is an organic additive technology-based coolant, containing additives that are not easily depleted. The standard green Volvo coolant, for pre-2006 machines, is a hybrid, incorporating traditional inorganic and organic additives.

Volvo coolants have been tested extensively in Volvo machines, thereby guaranteeing compatibility with all materials in the cooling system. They also contain special additives to protect the machine from wear and are specifically approved by Volvo for use in its engines. Compatible with all materials used in Volvo engines, they ensure protection of the complete cooling system thus preventing leakage. These factors contribute to extended engine life, as well as lower operating and ownership costs during a machine’s entire service life.

The coolants match Volvo’s high performance demands


A Volvo coolant has four main objectives: heat exchange, freeze protection, boiling protection, corrosion protection and needs to be compatible with all non-metallic components. The key protective components in Volvo Coolant VCS are organic, as opposed to mineral. Organic inhibitors target the critical areas needing protection, whereas conventional mineral-based products coat the metal with a uniform layer, require more additives and reduce longevity. Organic inhibitors do not deplete as quickly.

“There are so many different metals and alloys used in the construction of high-performance engines that it represents a challenge to develop a coolant with optimum properties for all metals,” explains Rydström, a trained chemical engineer responsible for supervising development of the coolant. 

Custom-designed to prevent corrosion on all metal surfaces, the Volvo product prevents rubber from swelling and cracking, and plastic from ageing and decomposing. Importantly, it leaves no deposits in the cooling system and ensures a high level of heat transfer to protect an engine from overheating.

Anne-Marie Rydström demonstrates how an incompatible coolant can shorten the life of hoses and seals

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