When shopping for antifreeze, one of the first things you should ask yourself is “how to choose the correct antifreeze?” Consider the following tips and tricks to help choose the best antifreeze:
- Review your vehicles owner’s manual
- Take a closer look at the coolant color
- Read the description
- Add water
- Add coolant to your vehicle
Taking good care of your vehicle helps you save a lot of headaches and money. In addition, performing all required maintenance is one of the best ways to extend the lifetime of your car and prevent major breakdowns that might happen and leave you stuck in nowhere without any help nearby.
Coolant, or what sometimes people call antifreeze, is the crucial component needed to cool down your engine and maintain its temperature at the optimum levels. If the engine temperature exceeds the maximum level, you can deal with catastrophic engine damages that could cost you thousands of dollars.
Although you need to maintain the right coolant level all the time, you still need to understand what the different types of coolants are available in the markets and select the best one that works for your car. With the many antifreeze options, it can be overwhelming for many inexperienced drivers to choose the correct antifreeze for their vehicles.
This article provides you with a detailed review of all you need to know to choose the correct antifreeze for your car, so you achieve the best results without breaking your budget.
What is the antifreeze, and what does it do?
Before we dive into the details about “how to choose the correct antifreeze?” Let's step back and get an idea about what the antifreeze is and its use in your vehicle.
Antifreeze is the core component that needs to be mixed with water to create the coolant, the main fluid used in the cooling system. The cooling system maintains engines and pressure within a specific level to prevent sudden breakdowns due to engine overheating.
It's important to know that you won't achieve engine cooling if you use antifreeze by itself. That's why you'll have to add 50% of water to the mixture. Although, historically, water was the first liquid used to cool down the engine spot since water evaporates and freezes at certain thresholds, automaker and automotive experts decided to add additional material like the entire freeze to help extend the freezing point of water and allow it to cool down your vehicle even if you're driving during subzero conditions.
Some companies took the antifreeze to the next level and started adding additional material to help provide the best performance. For example, you might find an antifreeze that has anti-corrosion inhibitors, which prevents corrosion from building up inside the cooling system. Therefore, you achieve a better engine performance and an extended engine lifetime.
What is antifreeze, and how different is it from coolant?
Now you have a good idea about the entire freeze and what it does in your vehicle, the next step is to understand what the different types of entire freeze in the market are and how to choose the best one that works for your vehicle.
Let's take a closer look at the common six types of coolant that you might encounter in the automotive market:
1- Antifreeze with inorganic additive technology or IAT
The inorganic additive technology antifreeze is the oldest type of antifreeze, and it's typically green in color. You might see it in vehicles designed before the 1990s, and this formula is not the best for using it in modern vehicles.
Therefore, you mustn't go immediately with the IAT antifreeze if you're driving a modern car because this could cause some damages. Depending on your vehicle type, you might need to replace this entire freeze once you hit 24,000 miles or probably at two years, depending on whichever comes first.
2- Antifreeze with organic acid technology or OAT
Unlike the IAT antifreeze, this organic acid technology antifreeze is designed specifically for modern vehicles. It comes with additional additives to help prevent corrosion and extend the lifetime of your engine.
With this organic acid technology, you don't have to worry about changing the coolant up to five years or probably 50,000 miles depending on whichever comes first. This huge difference in the time between changing the IAT and OAT antifreeze fascinated many customers and saved them a lot of time and effort changing their antifreeze.
Typically, the OAT antifreeze comes in orange color, but sometimes you might find it dark green. Remember that you must read the characteristics carefully before grabbing your antifreeze gallon because the color might not be the only indicator of the type of antifreeze you're purchasing.
3- Antifreeze with hybrid organic acid technology or HOAT
The third type of antifreeze you might encounter is the hybrid organic acid technology, or what's sometimes referred to as the HOAT. As the name suggests, this technology combines both previously mentioned antifreeze types. You'll find a small portion of the OAT and another portion of the IAT.
This antifreeze is known for its yellow color, but sometimes you might find it in orange, green, yellow, pink, or probably blue. Therefore, we recommend reading the characteristics carefully to confirm that you're purchasing the right antifreeze.
This antifreeze doesn't require replacement until you hit the 50,000 miles or five years, whichever comes first. Vehicles from Ford, European cars, or Chrysler are typically compatible with this type of antifreeze.
4- Antifreeze with phosphate-free HOAT
Automotive experts designed a specific type of antifreeze that does not contain any phosphate. This entire freeze comes with many additives that protect your engine from corrosion.
This way, you achieve a better engine performance without any risk of impacting the internal components. Typically, this entire phrase comes in a turquoise color, and many BMW mostly requires it, Volvo, Tesla, mini, Jaguar, and other automakers.
5- Antifreeze with phosphate HOAT
On the other hand, automotive experts designed a HOAT containing phosphate and many organic assets to prevent any corrosion from building up inside your engine. Typically, this antifreeze will come in either blue or pink colors.
This type of antifreeze is typically commended for vehicles designed in Asia, including Toyota, Nissan, and I, and Honda.
6- Silicate HOAT
The last type of antifreeze that you might encounter in the automotive market is the silicate HOAT. Typically, you might find it in vibrant color, and it comes with many additives to protect your engine from corrosion. It doesn't have any nitrates, phosphates, or nitrites, or any other harmful chemicals.
You don't have to replace it with this antifreeze until you hit about 150,000 miles or probably five years, whichever comes first. However, many customers used it for heavier applications and mentioned that they didn't need to replace the entire freeze up to 300,000 miles!
How to choose the correct Antifreeze for my car?
While the previous sections provide you with detailed information about antifreeze, it might be a little bit overwhelming and has too many technical details. Therefore, to help simplify the issue and provide you with a sub bicep procedure on how to choose the correct antifreeze for your car, follow these recommendations:
1- Review your vehicles owner’s manual
When choosing any type of fluid or replacement part for your car, you'll have to go back to your vehicle owner’s manual and get accurate guidance. Yes, the Internet will be filled with many recommendations that might or might not work for your vehicle. Therefore, to prevent dealing with any outcomes that could happen by mistakes, stick with whatever is indicated in the manual.
The same principle applies to choosing the right antifreeze for your vehicle. You'll have to start with looking in the manual and confirming what type of antifreeze is recommended for your own vehicles type.
2- Take a closer look at the coolant color
As we indicated earlier, the color of antifreeze will give you an idea about what technology is used to make it. You can then compare it to a specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual and confirm that it's the right one you're using. However, remember that you don't want to rely on color only because you'll have to follow the next steps before making your final purchase.
3- Read the description
Once you have the right antifreeze color, the next step is to read through the instructions and different information on the entire field to confirm that it's the right one and it matches what's specified in the manual.
4- Add water
Keep in mind that antifreeze is not what's you’re going to pour inside your cooling system. You must first mix it with water using a 50/50 ratio.
However, if you decide to go with a premixed antifreeze, you don't have to do this step, and you can immediately pour it inside the cooling system.
5- Add coolant to your vehicle
Finally, you can go ahead and add the required amount of coolant inside your cooling system. The coolant reservoir should be transparent, and it will show you how much exactly you will have to add so you don't overfill the reservoir. You need to get close to the recommended line, but we must not be below the minimum line.
What is the best antifreeze in the market?
As we indicated earlier, you'll find many types of entire trees in the market, and therefore, you'll have to do your research about reviewing the main pros and cons of each one. Let's take a closer look at this 2021-2022 review for all available antifreeze in the market that you should consider for your next purchase:
- EVANS Cooling Systems High-Performance Waterless Engine Coolant
- Proline Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant Full Strength
- Zerex G-05 Antifreeze/Coolant
- Recochem OEM Pink Premium Antifreeze Concentrate
- Zerex Original Green Antifreeze/Coolant, Concentrated
- Valvoline maxlife Universal Antifreeze/Coolant
- Shellzone Pre-Diluted 50/50 Antifreeze/Engine Coolant
- Engine Ice Engine Coolant
- Zerex DEX-COOL Antifreeze/Coolant, Concentrated
- Zerex Heavy Duty Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant
Antifreeze is a critical fluid in your vehicle that is responsible for preventing any engine overheating. Therefore, it is critical that you understand how to choose the correct antifreeze for your car to prevent dealing with major damages that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
This article provided you with a general overview of all types of antifreeze in the markets and their different characteristics and colors. Then, it walks you through a step-by-step procedure on how to select the best antifreeze that works for your vehicle, so you don't have to deal with complications.
It is important to note that no matter how much time and effort you put towards choosing the right antifreeze if your car has major mechanical problems impacting the engine or the transmission, it might not be worth your investment. In other words, you better sell this vehicle and use its money to buy a better car that is worth that your time is learning about what antifreeze it needs.
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