Does It Matter What Color Antifreeze You Use – For nearly a decade, automakers have been developing and using a variety of long-life coolants. The only thing these coolers have in common is that they are all different in design and color. There are orange coolers, green coolers, blue coolers, red coolers, yellow coolers, even pink coolers. The proliferation of different types of coolant has created a lot of chemical confusion among drivers and technicians about which type of antifreeze to use to top up or fill an outdated cooling system.
We won’t summarize the full list of OEM coolants and colors here, except to say that each automaker has its own unique coolant specifications based on corrosion protection, service life, and chemical compatibility requirements. These terms are usually written in the vehicle owner’s manual and/or on a decal or label on the coolant reservoir. It is important to always use the coolant chemistry recommended in the vehicle owner’s manual. For example, Ford and Chrysler specify OAT-only hybrid coolant.
Does It Matter What Color Antifreeze You Use
You cannot match the paint color on the coolant because two coolants with the same color may have different chemistry and two coolants with different colors may have the same chemistry. Additionally, colors may vary if one tops the system with a different cooler.
Havoline Universal Antifreeze/coolant
The more we go into the details of each type of coolant, the more confusing the whole discussion gets – so we’ll just tell you what you need to know about the different types of coolant.
North American Green Antifreeze, the original universal formula used by everyone until today’s installation, is a long-life coolant. Fast-acting silicate and phosphate corrosion inhibitors provide instant protection for bare metal and aluminum surfaces and have a proven track record of providing trouble-free service in almost any automotive application (domestic, Asian or European), provided the chemistry is right. For example, OAT coolant should not be used in a vehicle that specifies the use of hybrid OAT coolant. Again, always refer to the owners manual. But the short-lived nature of corrosion inhibitors means that this type of coolant must be replaced every two to three years or 30,000 miles (although some products now claim a service life of up to 50,000 miles with improved chemistry).
Long life coolant based on OAT. OAT stands for Organic Acid Technology, and includes ingredients such as sebacate, 2-ethylhexanoic acid (2-EHA) and other organic acids, but no silicates or phosphates (except for Toyota Long Life Coolant, which adds doses of phosphorus. -Life OAT Antifreeze ). OAT-based coolants are usually (but not always) painted different colors to distinguish them from green North American antifreeze. GM OAT-based Dex-Cool is orange. Volkswagen/Audi use the same product which is pink. But Honda has a long life OAT coolant that is green in color and does not contain 2-EHA.
The corrosion inhibitors in OAT coolants are slower acting but last longer than original North American coolants. Therefore, OAT coolants generally have a recommended service life of five years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first – meaning you should replace the coolant every five years and not wait until the odometer reads 100,000 to 150,000 miles).
Havoline Universal Gallon 50/50 Pre Diluted 34 F To 265 F Automotive Antifreeze
OAT corrosion inhibitors provide excellent long-term protection for aluminum and cast iron, but may not be the best choice for older cooling systems with copper/brass radiators and heater cores. It depends on the formula. Green Formula antifreeze is generally best for older cars with copper/brass radiators.
Hybrid OAT coolant, also known as HOAT antifreeze or G-05 antifreeze. This formulation also uses organic acids, but not 2-EHA (different organic acids are used). OAT hybrid coolants add a small dose of silicate to provide immediate protection to aluminum surfaces. Hybrid OAT coolants are currently used by many European and Asian automakers, including Ford and Chrysler. Some aftermarket antifreeze suppliers have introduced HOAT coolants designed specifically to meet the unique needs of Asian vehicles and European vehicles. The colors of this cooler may or may not match the color of the OEM cooler. It doesn’t matter as long as the chemistry is compatible.
However, as HOAT antifreeze ages, some silicates may leave the solution. As these particles circulate in the cooling system, they can have an abrasive effect as they accelerate wear inside water pump seals and plastic bushings, plastic radiator end tanks, or metal heater cores with high-speed bent tubes. To avoid these types of problems, most HOAT antifreezes use stabilizers to keep the silicates in solution and contain small amounts of silicates. HOAT-based antifreezes that claim to have a “low silicate” formula must meet the ASTM D6210 standard (which is required for very late diesel engines).
OAT-Based Antifreeze HOAT-based antifreeze also has a claimed service life of 5 years or 100,000 to 150,000 miles — whichever comes first.
The Color Of Your Anti Freeze Does Matter
What type of antifreeze should you use? What type of coolant should you use to top up or refill your cooling system? If your car is still under warranty (and that includes the extended powertrain warranty), you should use the same type of antifreeze specified by the car manufacturer.
For General Motors vehicles, it will be Dex-Cool or antifreeze that meets GM6277M, ASTM D3306, SAE J1034, J814 and J1941, TMC’s ATA RP-302B, or Federal Specification A-A-870A.
If you drive a 2001 or newer Chrysler, it will be Chrysler antifreeze that meets Chrysler MS9769 specifications for GO-5 or HOAT (Hybrid Acid Technology) coolant.
After your car’s warranty expires, you can use the same type of antifreeze that came in the factory cooling system or switch to a “universal” or global coolant that is compatible with all makes and models.
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The term “universal coolant” sounds like a contradiction in terms due to the different antifreeze requirements we’ve described. However, universal coolants are designed to mix with almost any coolant. Manufacturers of these products say their antifreeze can be safely used on any year, make or model of vehicle.
Universal Coolant The basic idea behind universal coolants is to eliminate all confusion about color and chemistry and have a basic product that works on any vehicle regardless of year, make or model. What could be easier?
Not all antifreeze suppliers buy into this marketing philosophy, so you’ll still see three basic types of antifreeze being sold: green for older cars and budget-conscious drivers who want an expensive off-the-shelf product, a long-life product. Compatible with Dex-Cool and other OAT-based coolants and hybrid OAT late model Ford, Chrysler and European vehicles specifying G-05 coolant.
But for those who offer all kinds of products, the benefits are clear: one or two SKUs to provide complete coverage (full-strength antifreeze or a 50/50 mix), less shelf space to store products, and most importantly, which product to use in which application. No confusion about it. And for the car owner, that means you only need to buy one antifreeze jug that can be used in any car or truck you own.
Antifreeze Cooling Fluids At Lowes.com
Universal coolant manufacturers say that their products will be compatible with all cooling systems (foreign or domestic) and all types of coolants (natural green, OAT and OAT-hybrid with silicate).
New universal coolants use unique corrosion inhibitors containing organic acids (such as carboxylates) to provide broad spectrum protection.
When universal coolant is used to supplement a cooling system that already contains long-life OAT or hybrid coolant, service life is not affected. It has five years or 150,000 miles left (whichever comes first). If universal coolant is added to older cars with green antifreeze in the cooling system, the service life is also the same as before: two to three years or 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
If the cooling system has been refilled with universal coolant, the cooling system should be flushed to remove all traces of the old coolant. This is necessary to remove dirt and extend the service life of the new cooler. If only the radiator is spilled, up to a third of the old coolant may remain in the block.
Which Coolant Is Right For My Subaru?
If the old coolant is a natural green coolant, the new universal coolant will be limited and will not extend protection beyond the original coolant.
A very important thing to remember here is that universal coolers and long-term coolers are not lifetime coolers. Corrosion inhibitors in all types of coolant eventually wear out and must be replenished by changing the coolant. After five years of service, most coolants still need to be replaced. Leave the old coolant for too long and the cooling system will have corrosion problems.
Although Chrysler has used the G-05 HOAT low-silicate coolant for more than a decade, it is changing the formula for the 2013 model year. There will be new coolant
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