Can You Mix Engine Coolant With Water?

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Coolant is a critical engine fluid and should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It plays a major role in maintaining engine temperature. The coolant replacement time varies depending on the vehicle type and the coolant.

Many drivers are confused about the type of radiator fluid they should use. When it comes to coolant replacement time, you may confuse mixing engine coolant with water or antifreeze because there are many debates about coolants, water, and antifreeze. Moreover, the thermal conductivity of water is excellent.

Can you mix engine coolant with water? What happens if you mix water and coolant? In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions about coolant types and how to properly maintain your engine’s cooling system without getting into trouble. Before diving into this topic, let’s discuss some basics first.

Mix Engine Coolant With Water
Pouring coolant

Can You Mix Engine Coolant With Water?

The short answer is no. Because when we mix engine coolant with water, it can cause many different problems to the engine cooling system. Engine coolant already contains distilled water. If your car has more water and less antifreeze, anti-corrosive, and anti-overheating additives chemicals, your radiator may freeze and block in cold climates and damage its parts and corrosion. Moreover, coolants are not boiled more quickly as regular water, and therefore there is a chance to overheat the engine faster in hot summer.

Engine coolant has corrosion inhibitors (anti-corrosive); it is the chemical compound that prevents corrosion of metal parts. Water is an excellent thermal conductivity liquid used in internal combustion engines. But more water increases the threat of corrosion. Therefore, you must use the proper mix of corrosion inhibitors and added engine coolant. Therefore coolant is all seasons long file terminal conductive. This mixing is something that we discuss mixing different brands of motor oil.


What is Engine Coolant?

Engine coolant is an equal part of water and antifreeze additive. The engine cooler generally helps prevent your car’s engine from overheating. Furthermore, it contains corrosion-inhibiting properties that protect the radiator and its components against corrosion. Coolant has a lower freezing point and higher boiling point than water; therefore, it is the best liquid to transfer engine heating.


Is coolant the same as antifreeze?

Coolant and antifreeze are used together, but they are not the same. Coolant is a mixture of equal parts of water and antifreeze (50/50). Antifreeze is made of either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, and it is used to lower the freezing point of water and increase the boiling point. Furthermore, this additive prevents corrosion and raises the boiling point.

Water freezing temperature is -32°F and boiled at 212°F, but after mixing water and antifreeze, it changes to -35°F and boils at 223°F. Therefore coolant helps to operate in extreme temperatures.


Is antifreeze coolant?

No, antifreeze is not a coolant. To make a coolant, we have to mix antifreeze with water. Antifreeze works mainly in two ways: it lowers the freezing point of water, increases the boiling point, and helps protect your engine from corrosion.


Should I put antifreeze or coolant in my car?

You should put coolant in your car to prevent the engine from overheating. Alternatively, you can mix a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, and it also protects the car cooling system parts from corrosion. Antifreeze cannot absorb the engine heat; it is a chemical component that adjusts the water’s boiling point and freezing point.


Why is engine coolant necessary?

When the engine burns fuel, it converts fuel energy into mechanical energy, which causes heat to be generated inside the engine. This heat can damage engine components if the temperature rises above the safe level. Engine coolant helps prevent overheating by transferring heat away from these components, often under high pressure and stress during operation.


How does engine coolant work?

Most cars will use a mixture of water and antifreeze to ensure that they can operate at both hot temperatures (upwards of 250 degrees Fahrenheit) and cold ones like those below freezing points. Moreover, antifreeze additives have anti-corrosive properties that protect the car radiator parts from corrosion.


Can you mix different types of coolants together?

We recommend not doing this because there might be unfavorable reactions between chemicals contained within each fluid when mixed. On the market, we can find mainly four types of engine coolants. They are IAT (Inorganic Additive Technology), OAT (Organic Acid Technology), HOAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology), and Dex-Cool.

One issue that could arise when mixing coolants together is corrosion. Different types of metals can be present in cooling systems, and if these come into contact with each other, they will quickly start to deteriorate.


Can I Add New Coolant to Old Coolant?

Yes, you can add new coolant without flushes or drains. However, you have to use the same type and color of antifreeze. If you add a different type of coolant, it could cause problems in your cooling system. When using the same color coolant, you can quickly identify if it needs change and simply identify discoloration.


What Can Happen if I Use the Wrong Type of Coolant?

If you use the wrong type of engine coolant, it can not only damage your vehicle’s radiator system but also void the warranty. In some cases, using the wrong type of coolant causes corrosion in the radiator. Furthermore, when using different types, it may change color; therefore, it is hard to identify whether the coolant needs to change by checking coolant discoloration.


How to add new coolants?

The recommended method is to flush the entire cooling system and cool down the engine. Then refill the new coolant. Adding new engine coolant is a pretty straightforward process, but you must use the right type and color of antifreeze.

Let the engine cool down for 1-2 hours. Because when the engine is hot, it can cause a thermal shock and damage the horse and other parts of the radiator, and it will cost you more to repair these damages.


Do you have to drain the old coolant before adding more?

No, you don’t have to drain the old coolant before adding more. But checking the coolant condition (discoloration) is the best practice. Because the old coolant may contain contaminants, particles, rust, and sediment, they can clog the cooling system, and this will cause overheating. Also, before replacing coolants, read the coolant manufacturer’s recommendation.


Can I Mix Different Coolants?

You should not mix different coolants together, which can cause problems with the radiator. You should only mix coolants if the manufacturer approves them. Different coolants have different additives properties that could potentially cause damage to your engine or cooling system.

If you doubt the proper coolant to use, consult with a professional. They’ll be able to recommend a coolant that will work best for your car and driving conditions.


Can I mix antifreeze with tap water or distilled water?

You can mix antifreeze with distilled water, but never mix it with tap water. Since it contains different minerals, it can damage the radiator and water pump.


How Often Should I Change Engine Coolant?

The generally accepted period is every two years or 30,000 miles. However, this can vary depending on the vehicle model, driving habits, and the type of coolant used. Always check your car’s coolant color before replacing it, and it also helps the owner’s manual for the recommended change interval.

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