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31/10/2019 News

Is coolant the same as antifreeze?

Is coolant the same as antifreeze


Extreme temperatures can severely affect your car, so as the weather begins to drop it’s a great idea to get refreshed on how to care for your engine properly. To maintain a functioning cooling system, you will need to use coolant or antifreeze. However, it’s can be confusing what the terms coolant and antifreeze mean and how they differ from each other – especially as many people use the terms interchangeably. 

Is engine coolant antifreeze? 

Antifreeze and engine coolant are similar, but not the same. Antifreeze is a concentrated, glycol-based liquid that must be diluted with water before use. Alternatively, you can purchase engine coolant, a pre-mixed, ready-to-use solution of antifreeze and water.  

Mainly consisting of ethylene glycol, antifreeze is used in a car’s cooling system to enable trouble-free engine operation even in the most extreme, sub-zero weather. Ethylene Glycol prevents coolant liquid freezing within your radiator by lowering its freezing temperature, alongside lubricating the water pump and inhibiting corrosion.  

Engine coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water, with a common ratio of 50:50. This is because antifreeze works best as a diluted liquid (making it coolant) when combatting temperatures of intense heat. With coolant in your car’s cooling system, the engine can be effectively regulated to the optimum temperature, all year round.  

Antifreeze does not expire, but the additives that prevent engine corrosion do. It is recommended you replace your antifreeze in line with your manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Ethylene glycol is toxic to both humans and animals, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety advice and disposal instructions carefully. 

Can you mix coolants? 

Can you mix the same type of coolants? 

Always top up your car with the same type and brand of coolant. If you’re unsure which to use, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or contact your nearest garage.  

We do not advise you to mix coolants. A common misconception is that you can use colour to identify coolant type, however multiple colours can be used to indicate one type of coolant, so we do not advise using the colour of the liquid solution as an indicator of coolant type.  

Can you mix pink and blue antifreeze? 

You cannot mix pink and blue antifreeze. An incorrect mixture of coolants could lead to a faulty cooling system and engine damage, so always stick to the mix recommended by your manufacturer.  

For more information and to find out about TOTAL GLACELF antifreeze and TOTAL COOLELF coolant, make sure to view our range, or read The Ultimate Guide to Coolant and Antifreeze. Please contact our team if you have any questions.