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California Adopts ASTM Standards for Engine Coolants

In January, the State of California modified their specifications for engine coolants. Changes to Business Professions Code Div. 5, Chap. 14, Sec. 13710 requires light-duty engine coolant sold in California to meet the following ASTM standards:

• For glycol-based virgin engine coolant: D 3306, Standard Specification for Glycol Base Engine Coolant for Automobile and Light-Duty Service (2001);
• For recycled glycol-based prediluted engine coolant: D 6471, Standard Specification for Recycled Prediluted Aqueous Glycol Base Engine Coolant (50 Volume % Minimum) for Automobile and Light-Duty Service, (1999); and;
• For recycled glycol-based concentrated engine coolant: D 6472, Standard Specification for Recycled Glycol Base Engine Coolant Concentrate for Automobile and Light-Duty Service (2000).

“Section 13710 requires the State of California to adopt ASTM standards for engine coolants and recycled engine coolants,” says David Lazier, chief, Weighmaster Enforcement/Petroleum Products Branch, State of California Division of Measurement Standards.

“In addition, all light-duty concentrated engine coolants must have a reserve alkalinity of at least 10 mL of .1 N hydrochloric acid,” says Al Hebert, supervising chemist, Petroleum Products Branch, State of California Division of Measurement Standards. Prediluted light duty coolants must be at least 5 mL. A provision has also been made to exempt coolants from this requirement if they are demonstrated not to be corrosive.

“A variance process which allows recycled engine coolants to be sold with a concentration of up to 150 ppm of chloride ion will end January 1, 2003,” Hebert adds. “At that time all recycled coolants will be required to fully comply with the ASTM recycled engine-coolant standards.”

Members of ASTM Committee D15 on Engine Coolants developed the standards.

Lazier tells why these changes occurred. “For years, we had regulations that we had written in California that were California-specific for engine-coolant and pre-diluted engine coolant. What we decided in the early 1980s was that what we had adopted was possibly different than what was being used nationwide. At that point in time, the law was modified to allow us to adopt the ASTM standards for engine coolant, pre-diluted coolant ethylene-glycol-based products.

“Then in the late 80s, early‘90s,” he continues, “what we found was that the recycling of engine coolant started to become a start-up industry in California and there were no standards that we could apply to it so we attempted to apply the virgin standards. At that point in time, some of the industry objected, as well as ASTM, that the standards that we were applying were designed for virgin product, not recycled product. So the California legislature amended our law again and required that we adopt specific standards for recycled products. They also indicated in that modification that once ASTM adopted standards for recycled engine coolants that those would become the California standards.”

Lazier and Hebert are members of ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, and Hebert also participates on Committee D15.

For further information about California engine-coolant standards, contact Al Hebert, Division of Measurement Standards, State of California, Sacramento (phone: 916/229-3030). For Committee D15 meeting or membership details, contact Gloria Collins, manager, ASTM Technical Committees (phone: 610/832-9715). //

Copyright 2002, ASTM