So you discovered you need to add some antifreeze. You’re a mechanically inclined person so you popped the hood, found where to add the new antifreeze and are ready to go. The hang up came when you headed to the auto parts store a found a surprising variety of antifreeze options in front of you. Many vehicles today are starting to use “lifetime” coolant, meaning that it should not have to be changed for the lifetime of your vehicle. We can debate whether or not that is true in another article, but for us, that means there are even more varieties and classes of antifreeze available for your vehicle. Luckily the manufactures of these new and different antifreezes have continued to make them different colors so they are easily identifiable.
What kind of antifreeze do I need?
If you plan on keeping your car for the rest of its useful life, the surefire way to make sure you pick the right antifreeze to use in your vehicle is to go to the dealership and purchase some directly from the manufacturer. That way it will match exactly in color and chemical makeup, leaving nothing to chance and making sure your vehicle’s cooling system will stay working at top efficiency for years to come. Some such situation where this is a good idea is newer Ford vehicles with a gold color antifreeze, or GM vehicles that came with Dex-Cool.
This option will also most likely be the most expensive option you have available, and there may be an off the shelf antifreeze you can use just as easily without harming your vehicle and save some money. At the end of the day, it is far more important to have the proper level of coolant in your vehicle, even if it is the “wrong type” or a bad mixture. Low coolant levels can cause immediate damage while the wrong type or mixed coolants will take a long time to cause problems.
What are the different types of antifreeze?
There are 3 basic types of antifreeze used today, ethylene glycol based, propylene Glycol based and the newer Organic Acid Technology. The biggest thing to look out for is using the organic acid technology (OAT) in older vehicles with brass or copper radiators. OAT antifreeze is designed to be used to protect aluminum components from corrosion in newer cars with aluminum radiators and heads. OAT antifreeze may not do as good of a job preventing corrosion of brass or copper. Also, mixing brands of antifreezes can cause unwanted chemicals. For example Toyota red antifreeze contains silicates that American antifreezes will not contain. These chemicals if added to American glycol based antifreeze can precipitate and float as particulates around your cooling system.
If you are concerned about getting the absolute maximum life out of your vehicle you should add the same type (color and manufacturer) of antifreeze as you already have in your vehicle. In the long run, adding a different type of antifreeze to your cooling system will probably shorten the life of the antifreeze in your vehicle, meaning you should flush your cooling system sooner than recommended. When you flush your cooling system refill it with a single type of antifreeze recommended by the manufacturer and it will be unlikely that a significant amount of damage will have been done.
If you discover any leaks in your cooling system add BlueDevil Pour-N-Go as you top off your cooling system to permanently seal your leaks. You can purchase BlueDevil Pour-N-Go online.
Pictures provided by: macsworldwide.wordpress.com