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Antifreeze Coolant – What Is The Purpose Of This In Your Car? 

Antifreeze Coolant

Drivers need to know the importance and function of antifreeze coolant in their car. By being aware of the different kinds of antifreeze coolant, the color and smell of antifreeze, and the overall antifreeze coolant price, car owners can prevent any antifreeze leaks that could damage the cooling system of their car!

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Antifreeze Meaning

Antifreeze, which is also commonly called coolant, is a green or orange liquid that is mixed together with water before being poured into the coolant reservoir located under your car’s hood. Antifreeze coolant is made up mostly of the base chemical ethylene glycol, and there are a whole host of different types of antifreezes out there. Some are made for more general use, while others are made specifically for high-mileage vehicles.

Antifreeze Coolant Function

Antifreeze coolant plays a very important role in the overall well-being of your car. After antifreeze coolant is mixed with water—typically at a 50/50 ratio—and placed into your vehicle, it works to regulate the temperature of your car’s engine when it’s turned on. It’s especially useful when it comes to keeping your engine’s temperature regulated in extremely hot or cold weather.


Without antifreeze, you wouldn’t be able to get behind the wheel of your car and drive it in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer. Your engine would constantly be overheating and showing other signs of wear and tear due to a lack of antifreeze. Drivers need to sure change their coolant on a regular basis to prevent an antifreeze coolant leak. 

Antifreeze/Coolant Types

There are different antifreeze/coolant types when looking at the correct kind of antifreeze coolant for your car. Engine coolant, known as antifreeze, is mixed with water to prevent the radiator from freezing over in extreme temperatures or getting too hot during the summer months. There are many different antifreeze/coolant types, so it is crucial you know the best kind for your car. 

IAT Coolant

The most common variety of liquid antifreeze is considered an IAT formula, also known as the Inorganic Additive Technology. IAT helps prevent the formation of rust and corrosion in your car, proving to be one of the most effective antifreeze/coolant types.

Dex-Cool Coolant

Another popular option when discussing the antifreeze/coolant types is the Dex-Cool coolant, an antifreeze coolant that is used in GM vehicles. This meets industry specifications and ensures complete reliability during use. 

Coolant for Older Cars

Since coolant technology and antifreeze/coolant types have changed so much over the past years, you may need a specific formula if you are looking to buy antifreeze coolant for an older vehicle. 

Antifreeze/Coolant Color

Drivers need to know the antifreeze/coolant color to know what to purchase when in a shop or to notice any leaks in your vehicle. Antifreeze is a green or orange liquid that is mixed together with water before being poured into the coolant reservoir located under your car’s hood. 

  • Inorganic additive technology – this kind of antifreeze coolant uses silicates for the inhibitor technology and is used in older vehicles. The color of this antifreeze coolant is green.
  • Organic acid technology – This antifreeze coolant uses organic acids as the inhibitor technology, and is commonly found in GM, Saab, and VW cars. The antifreeze/coolant color of the OAT antifreeze coolant is orange.
  • Hybrid OAT – This antifreeze coolant is HOAT (hybrid OAT) and uses silicates and organic acids as the inhibitor technology. This type is used in Ford, Chrysler, and European vehicles,with the antifreeze/coolant color being yellow.
  • Hybrid OAT, Phosphate-free – This HOAT coolant uses NAP free for inhibitor technology, and is found in BMW, Volvo, Tesla, and Mini cars. The antifreeze/coolant color is turquoise.
  • P-HOAT – the phosphated HOAT coolant uses phosphates and organic acids as the inhibitors in the car. This antifreeze coolant is found in Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, KIA, and other Asian vehicles, with the antifreeze/coolant color being pink or blue.
  • Si-OAT – The silicated HOAT coolant uses silicates and organic acids in Mercedes-Benz, Audi, VW, and Porsche vehicles. The antifreeze/coolant color is purple. 

Antifreeze Coolant Smell

If you crack open a bottle of antifreeze coolant and start pouring it into your car’s coolant reservoir, you’ll get a whiff of it and be surprised by the sweet antifreeze coolant smell. Some people have compared the smell of antifreeze to maple syrup, while others have said that it smells more like a piece of fruit or even a piece of candy.


This might make you tempted to smell antifreeze coolant more than you would smell any of the other fluids that you put into your car. But this would not be a good idea, as antifreeze coolant and the antifreeze coolant smell fumes associated with it are highly toxic to people. You should limit the amount of time that you spend interacting with an open bottle of antifreeze.

Antifreeze Coolant Price – In Store

If you are looking to purchase antifreeze coolant in a store or online, you need to look at the most common numbers for the antifreeze coolant prices so you can get a good deal.

  • A/C Pro Ultra Synthetic R-134a Refrigerant Recharge Kit

      • Ths recharge kit helps your car produce more cold air and keep the AC system operating at a high level.
      • This kit comes with one 17 ounce bottle of the R-134a and 3 ounces of additives to recharge your car's AC system.
      • This kit comes in at $32 for the antifreeze coolant price.
  • Prestone All Vehicles 

      • This antifreeze coolant is optimized for all vehicles, lasting multiple years, and free of any harmful smells.
      • The technology protects against freezing and protects your engine
      • The antifreeze coolant helps protect against engine failure and protects against corrosion and rust buildup
      • This antifreeze coolant price is around $10.87
  • Prestone DEX-COOL 

    • This DEX-COOl antifreeze coolant is designed to work with cars neewer than the 1995 model years, typically used in GMC, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, POntiac, Hummer, Ford, lincoln, Mercury, Ram, dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler vehicles.
    • The antifreeze coolant price for this product is approximately $12.44

Flush the Radiator With Antifreeze Coolant

If you notice antifreeze coolant problems, chances are you will have to perform a coolant flush to inspect the cooling system and see where the problems are originating. 

  • The first step is to open the radiator cap and the coolant reservoir cap. 
  • Find the radiator drain by consulting your owner's manual. Place the container that you will use to collect the flushed out old antifreeze underneath of the drain so that it does not spill on the floor. 
  • Once the container is under the car, you can open the drain. 
  • Next, force the antifreeze out into the container by opening the drain.
  • Pour in your radiator flush and fill the rest with water to about an inch below the top of the radiator opening
  • Close the radiator cap and run the engine for ten minutes with the heater on full blast. Once you have done this, allow the engine to cool down, drain the radiator again, and refill the system with water. 
  • Repeat the entire process again to clean the radiator system.

Performing a radiator flush can help prevent the antifreeze coolant problems in the future. 

Antifreeze/Coolant Price – Radiator Flush Costs

Although we know using antifreeze coolant for radiator flush is a very minor, cheap, and inexpensive fix when compared to other options, it can be somewhat pricey if you are bringing your car to a specific mechanic. We have looked up the top sample antifreeze/coolant price radiator flush costs so that you can determine how much you might have to pay at your local mechanic switch the parts they have. 


  • First, your mechanic will generally charge you anywhere between $240 and $980 for both the parts and labor costs of this procedure. In addition, you will have a 12 month warranty, ensuring the radiator flush cost is not more than $1,000 for the antifreeze/coolant price.
  • Next, you can check various chain stores to see what store offers the right price for you. The first option is Midas. Midas can offer a range of between $275 to $1,100 for the radiator flush cost, including parts and labor. Mr. Tire has similar pricing, ranging between $260 and $1049 for the overall radiator flush cost. 
  • NAPA has a more extensive and wider reaching price range, going all the way up to the high end of the price spectrum and coming in at $1199 for antifreeze/coolant price for the radiator flush.
  • Walmart has a much more inexpensive offering, but only provides the parts for you to bring to your mechanic or perform the do it yourself option. Walmart comes in at between $112 and $879 for the antifreeze/coolant price. 
    • Amazon has similar pricing to Walmart, since it offers parts, and comes in at between $110 and $949 for the antifreeze/coolant price. 

What if you don’t use antifreeze coolant for a radiator flush?

Now that you know the steps of a radiator flush and the average antifreeze/coolant price, you might be curious as to if it is really necessary to the overall performance and the longevity of your car. All mechanics and car owners will tell you that the short answer is yes, it is very important. But what if you do not flush your radiator using antifreeze coolant? 


If a mechanic has told you that you need to flush your radiator since you are experiencing difficulties and performance issues with your car, like leaks, coolant issues, steam emerging from the car, rapid overheating and friction buildup, and strange odors, flushing the radiator with antifreeze coolant will prevent these issues from worsening. 

What If You Smell Antifreeze Coolant Through Your Vents?

A leak in a pipe or hose or a worn-out radiator cap will usually lead to a strong antifreeze coolant smell from outside your vehicle. 


So, what does it mean if you smell antifreeze through the vents on the interior of your vehicle? Well, this is often a sign that you’re dealing with a problem involving your car’s heater core. Your heater core is responsible for dispersing heat throughout the cabin of your car.


Under normal circumstances, you likely won’t even notice this process playing out. But if there has been damage done to your heater core, it’ll disperse both heat and the strong smell of antifreeze coolant through the vents in your car. It’ll be impossible to ignore this smell, and it might even make it difficult for you to drive like normal in your car.

Is smelling antifreeze coolant dangerous?

When you have a strong antifreeze smell while outside of your car, you might not be too concerned about it. But when it’s inside your car, you might worry about how it’ll impact you and your passengers. Finding out if the antifreeze coolant smell is dangerous is crucial to the wellbeing of you and your car occupants. 


The good news is that, in small doses, the smell of antifreeze shouldn’t do any harm. Smelling it won’t do the damage that ingesting it will. You might get a headache if you’re exposed for more than a few minutes, but it shouldn’t cause you too many issues. That being said, you don’t want to sit and smell antifreeze in your car day after day. Even if it doesn’t do any damage to your health, there will likely be damage done to your car.

WHY do I smell the antifreeze coolant?

You now know what antifreeze coolant smells like. But what you might not know at this point is what causes a car to smell like antifreeze.


There are a few different reasons why you might smell antifreeze inside or outside of your car. If you’re currently asking why your car has an antifreeze coolant smell, here are some possible scenarios:

  • You might have a leak in one of the pipes or hoses that runs either to or from your car’s radiator
  • You might have a worn-out radiator cap that is letting antifreeze coolant leak
  • You might have a crack in your car’s heater core that is allowing antifreeze coolant to leak

There are some other issues that can also cause your car to smell like antifreeze coolant. But these three reasons are usually the most common causes of an antifreeze coolant leak.

The Bottom Line

Drivers need to know the importance of antifreeze coolant in their car so they can take care of their cooling system by noticing signs and symptoms of an antifreeze leak! 

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