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When winter starts and the temperature drops, it is essential to make sure your car is ready. One critical thing to consider is the type of fluid you use in your car’s cooling system.
Some drivers might not know there is a difference between antifreeze and coolant, but it’s essential to understand the difference before heading out into chilly weather. Here we’ll break down the differences between coolant and antifreeze, so you can be sure you have the correct fluid in your car when the temperature starts dropping.
Many people confuse the terms antifreeze and coolant to refer to the same thing: the liquid that regulates a system’s temperature. There are many different types of antifreeze on the market with various brands. But the most common are ethylene glycol and propylene glycol.
This article will cover “Is antifreeze the same as coolant?” What are the differences, and how to use coolant and antifreeze liquid?
In This Article:
What Is Coolant?
Coolant is a mix of distilled water and antifreeze, anti-corrosion fluid. This fluid has a high thermal capacity low viscosity than regular water, and it contains corrosion inhibitors and higher boiling and lower freezing point. Therefore coolant has higher thermal conductivity.
Water has a boiling point of 212°F (100C°) and a freezing point of 32°F (0°C). That means water doesn’t do well in either too hot or too cold temperatures.
The solution uses coolant, which prevents the engine from overheating by lowering its boiling point. It will help prevent the radiator from freezing when it’s freezing outside.
What Is Antifreeze?
Anti-freezer is a chemical that regulates liquid freezing in your vehicle’s cooling system. Technically speaking, antifreeze is a chemical additive to prevent freezing; additionally, it has anti-rust properties and a higher boiling point. It comes in different colors.
Most antifreeze these days is a blend of propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. Due to its higher boiling point than water, it can be used to reduce your engine’s temperature in extreme weather conditions. It would be best if you did not mix antifreeze with oil.
What is the difference between coolant and antifreeze?
Antifreeze and the coolants are not the same. As the name suggests, antifreeze helps prevent your vehicle’s water-based cooling system from freezing. Coolant (or engine coolant), on the other hand, is a liquid that helps reduce engine temperature. These fluids are used for different purposes, but coolants contain antifreeze.
Antifreeze is a chemical substance added to water or another fluid that lowers its freezing point. You need antifreeze if you live in an area where the temperature drops below 32°F (0 Celsius) in the winter.
What Is Waterless Coolant?
Waterless coolants are glycol-based fluids that don’t contain any water at all, so they’re less likely to freeze (as you might expect). Waterless coolants are not designed to mix with water and are usually made of poly-organic acid technology.
This particular type of coolant has a longer lifespan than regular antifreeze, and it is more environmentally friendly and corrosion-free. These coolants are usually red.
What is the right water to concentrate antifreeze ratio?
Most vehicles use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water. However, you may need to add more antifreeze in cold climates or during the winter months. You can also buy pre-mixed antifreeze at your local automotive store. However, you should not mix the coolant with water it will dilute the antifreeze concentration.
Antifreeze has a higher freezing point than water, so it can help keep your radiator from freezing when temperatures drop. Water has a boiling point of 212°F (100°C), so it can’t be used in all vehicles that operate at high temperatures. Water also freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is problematic for cars and trucks that live in colder climates. In cold climates, water expands when it freezes, which can cause the radiator or engine parts to crack.
How do I know if my coolant needs to be replaced?
Coolant should be checked regularly and replaced when it becomes dirty or diluted. You can also use a freeze point tester to check the freezing point of your antifreeze. If you notice any of the following symptoms your car coolant needs to replace to prevent overheating.
- Discoloring coolant like sludgy brown.
- Engine temperature rises unusually and boils.
- Orange, green color fluid leakage.
- Grinding noise coming under the hood.
What can happen if you don’t use antifreeze?
Antifreeze is a chemical that helps keep water from freezing. If you don’t use antifreeze in your car, the water can freeze and crack the radiator. The antifreeze also protects other parts of the cooling system from corrosion.
Can I make coolant at home?
To make coolants at home, you will need antifreeze concentrate and distilled water. Mix the antifreeze and water at a 50:50 ratio. If your antifreeze bottle or cane indicates that it uses a different mixture, follow those instructions instead. You have to mix more antifreeze in more cold climates than in moderately cool weather, something like 60% antifreeze and 40% distilled water.
What Kind Of Coolant Do I Need?
There are three main types of coolant: green, orange/yellow, and red. These colors correspond to their formula makeups: ethylene glycol (EG), propylene glycol (PG), organic acid technology (OAT). Red antifreeze contains OAT — often referred to as HOAT for hybrid organic acid technology or sometimes as Dexcool.
Can you mix antifreeze colors?
The answer is No. Different type of coolant has different colors for easy identification, and we can find mainly seven different types of color coolants on the market. Therefore when mixing different colors or brands it is hard to identify discoloration.
As long as the type of coolant (OAT, IAT, Hybrid OAT, etc.) is compatible with your car’s cooling system according to directions on the container, you can use any color antifreeze, whether green, yellow or yellow-orange. Before use new coolant flush the existing fluid and pour new one.
Can you use straight antifreeze in the engine?
The simple answer is no. Straight antifreeze is used to freeze, and using straight antifreeze in the engine can cause significant damage. Also, because pure antifreeze has a low boiling point, it will evaporate too quickly. Your cooling system needs some water mixed in with the coolant to keep your engine from overheating due to evaporation.
Can I put antifreeze in my engine coolant?
The simple answer is no. It is not good to add more antifreeze to the engine coolant because it already contains 50% to 50% rate antifreeze. Adding pure antifreeze means you have more of an anti-freezing agent, but it also raises the boiling temperature and lowers the freezing.
Can I Put Antifreeze In My Engine Coolant?
The answer is yes. However, you have to make sure that the antifreeze you are using is compatible with the coolant in your vehicle. If it’s not, you could damage your radiator parts, leading to a crack pump.
Can Drive A Car With Oil mixed Coolant?
You should not drive car if oil mix in radiator. Once you have noticed your car cooling system has oil it means there’s is a leakage. You should not drive the car. This will damage the radiator and engine.
You have to find where the leak spot and repair. Most of the time it may be head gasket damage causes this issue. Once repaired flush out oil mix coolant and refill fresh coolant.
Antifreeze and coolant are essential for your engine, but they have different purposes. So it is crucial to know the difference between the two.
When mixing antifreeze and water, make sure to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see what type of coolant or antifreeze is compatible. Before purchasing coolants, always follow the car manufacturer’s recommendations.