What coolant does my car need? What makes a good coolant?

What coolant does my car need? Checking up on your coolant is easy to forget, but an engine’s coolant is just as important as oil when it comes to your car. Coolant does raises the boiling point of the cooling system in summer, lowers the freezing point in winter, and protects the engine and cooling system from corrosion.

These functions keep the engine from overheating or freezing when driving in extreme climates. Coolant needs changing because chemicals in the coolant break down and become less effective over time.

This use ends up generating rust and sludge, which can damage the cooling system. If the cooling system becomes damaged, you risk the possibility of the engine overheating–a much costlier mistake than paying for a coolant flush.

What Is Engine Coolant?

Engine coolant, also known as antifreeze, is mixed with water to keep the radiator from freezing in extreme cold and overheating in extreme heat. There are many different types of coolant, so it’s important to know what variety is right for your car or truck.

What Coolant Does My Car Need?

Engine coolant circulates through your car’s engine and radiator to help manage temperature extremes. Coolant is essential to preventing your engine from overheating. It also helps prevent your car’s engine from freezing when the mercury dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. Your vehicle needs engine coolant to run efficiently and safely.

What coolant does my car need

If you drive your car without doing an engine flush at the proper intervals, you risk expensive damage to the car’s cooling system, including the radiator, water pump and pipes. Over time, coolant becomes less effective. Rust and gunk will begin to build up and negatively impact your car’s cooling system.

If you see smoke pouring out from beneath your hood, ignoring your car’s coolant needs is a likely culprit. Your car’s dashboard will likely give you a warning before it comes to that. Once your car lets you know it’s time for a coolant flush, your best bet is to replace the coolant.

Along with replacing engine coolant at the appropriate intervals, it’s also vital that you choose the right type of coolant for your car.

What are the Different Types of Engine Coolant

Many modern automobiles require enhanced engine coolants to properly maintain the vehicle’s cooling system and protect the engine from damage. Today, automotive service providers use three basic types of engine coolant:

IAT – Inorganic Additive Technology

For decades, this distinctive green-colored coolant protected cooling systems, but it is rarely used as factory fill in modern cars. One reason is the fast depletion rate of its additives, which means it has to be changed more frequently, usually every two years or 24,000 miles.

OAT – Organic Acid Technology

Commonly required for vehicles manufactured by General Motors, and some other automakers, OAT coolants are not compatible with other types. Usually orange, yellow, red or purple, OAT coolants are typically changed every five years or 50,000 miles.

HOAT – Hybrid Organic Acid Technology

Providing the benefits of both IAT and OAT coolants, HOAT coolants are primarily orange and yellow and are common in Chrysler and Ford vehicles. OAT coolants are typically changed every five years or 50,000 miles, although some automakers specify intervals as long as 10 years or 150,000 miles.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Cooling Systems

Most hybrid and electric vehicles have a separate cooling system for the battery pack. Only coolants that meet the automakers’ specifications should be used in these systems.

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What Makes a Good Coolant?

An effective engine coolant keeps your car’s engine from both freezing and overheating. It can also protect your engine from corrosive elements and improve its performance. What ingredients go into high-performing engine coolant?

  • Water. Most engine coolants are made with 50 percent water. Straight antifreeze does not contain water. Adding water to antifreeze, per manufacturer instructions, creates a coolant. Some car owners opt for this DIY method, while others will purchase pre-mixed coolant.
  • Ethylene glycol. The main active ingredient in most engine coolant is ethylene glycol. It was first used as a coolant ingredient following World War I. This chemical is responsible for ensuring the liquid circulating through your car’s engine does not freeze in extreme cold and does not evaporate in extreme heat.
  • Propylene glycol. Some engine coolants use propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol. Propylene glycol is more viscose, which means ethylene glycol tends to have more efficient heat transfer. Propylene glycol is considered less toxic if ingested, which is a major selling point for car owners with children and pets.
  • Corrosion inhibitors. Water and ethylene glycol (or propylene glycol) create the base of most engine coolants, but different additives to prevent corrosion create different types of coolant. These different ingredients can vary depending on the country of origin. For example, cars manufactured in Asia use carboxylates and phosphates as anti-corrosion agents in their engine coolant.Engine coolant for Asian-manufactured cars cannot use silicates as an anti-corrosive agent. Coolant for European cars, on the other hand, uses a mix of silicates and carboxylates in engine coolant to protect against corrosion.

One anti-corrosive is not necessarily superior to another. Different ingredients are used to solve different issues. For example, cars made in Asia have had issues with poor heat transfer. As a result, engine coolant for cars manufactured in Asia does not use coolants with silicates. Instead, phosphates and carboxylates fill the anti-corrosive role.

What coolant does my car need

In Europe, engine coolant had to solve a different problem. Hard water, containing the minerals calcium and magnesium, had a reaction with phosphate inhibitors in engine coolant, causing scale to form on car engines. So, engine coolant for cars made in Europe does not contain phosphates. Instead, coolant designed for European cars uses silicates and carboxylates.

While antifreeze is a common ingredient in engine coolant, it is not always present. You can use coolant additives without antifreeze to improve heat transfer efficiency within your engine. Some additives can be an effective option in straight water applications.

Plus, an additive like Hy-per Cool Super Coolant is compatible with nearly any type of antifreeze you are already using for your vehicle.

Finding the Right Fluid

When it comes time to top off or do a complete system flush you’re going to have to find the right coolant for the job. It would be convenient if every manufacturer used the same coolant, but they don’t. There are three main types of coolant that car companies use: Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT), Organic Acid Technology (OAT), and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT).

Typically, older cars use IAT. It needs to be changed every two years or 24,000 miles, making it far inferior to newer formulas. One of those newer formulas is OAT. General Motors vehicles use this formula and normally require a change after five years or 50,000 miles. Finally, HOAT is a derivation of OAT that requires the same time change interval unless otherwise specified.

The easiest way to make sure you’re getting the right coolant for the job is to go to your car’s dealership. They’ll sell the coolant for your specific make and model, and it’s guaranteed to be the correct one. Many times, the coolant is actually branded for the car you’re going to put it in.

For example, Honda sells its Type 2 Antifreeze/Coolant in all its dealers. Plenty of others like BMW and Volkswagen do the same thing.

Not every manufacturer does this though. All GM cars use something called Dex-Cool from the factory. Ford meanwhile, uses Motorcraft.

One thing to keep in mind with nearly every modern jug of coolant you’ll come across: They’re all pre-diluted. Years ago coolant was always sold as pure coolant, and you’d have to dilute the fluid yourself with water. The pre-diluted stuff is more convenient of course, but you end up paying a lot more for less coolant.

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Going Colorblind

In addition to the OE options, auto parts stores will carry several different aftermarket brands of coolant. Companies like Prestone, Pentafrost, Peak, and others all offer versions that they say work for specific brands or countries in general (the country a car is made in is typically a good predictor for which coolant type it takes).

These aftermarket options are cheaper than OE a lot of the time, but it’s worth grabbing true OE coolant designed for your car.

But what about different colored coolants?

What coolant does my car need

The truth is, color is not a reliable predictor for what type of coolant you have. For example, OAT coolants are usually orange, yellow, red or purple. HOAT coolants are orange and yellow for the most part. Then the older IAT coolant is green. Coolants that manufacturers sell can confuse matters even more, like Honda’s blue coolant.

That’s why you need to read what the bottle says and and not rely specific color you’re pouring. If the the bottle’s description has you tripped up, check your owner’s manual for the right kind of coolant.

But none of this helps if you forget the process in a few years time. So keep notes on the coolant you used and when, so you’re prepared when your engine inevitably needs flushing a few years down the road.

Why it’s Important to Have the Right Engine Coolant

In older cars, engine cooling systems were mostly brass, rubber parts and cast iron, so engine coolants were all pretty much the same. These days, automobile cooling systems have parts made from copper, silicon, nylon, steel, and magnesium and aluminum alloys.

The type of coolant required by your vehicle can now vary by year, make, model, engine and even the country where the car was made. With so many factors in play, car owners need to know which type of engine coolant is right for their vehicle.

What Is the Best Coolant for My Car?

The best engine coolant for your car depends on the vehicle type, age and place of manufacture. Know the make and model and year of your vehicle will help you select the right coolant. Choosing the wrong product can result in poor performance or worse instant engine failure. Follow these tips to make sure you make the right choice

Check the Color

Different colors of coolant correlate with different car compatibility. For example, IAT coolant is typically green and HOAT coolant is usually turquoise. But, keep in mind that color isn’t always a completely accurate indicator of the right coolant for your car.

There are other brands designed for specific car types and country of origin, which can have a variety of colors that can be confusing. Use color as a guideline, but always make sure to read the bottle to validate the coolant’s compatibility with your car.

Go to the Source

Your car’s owner’s manual provides a wealth of information. It will tell you what type of coolant is best to use in your vehicle. If you don’t have a copy of your owner’s manual, you can most likely find the information you need online.

The formulas suggested at your dealership and your owner manual will probably be original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved, but there are likely aftermarket equivalents to choose from as well.

Don’t Forget the Water

When you are changing your car’s coolant, always read the bottle to see if the formula needs to be mixed with water. Some types of coolant can be poured straight into your car’s system with no additive, but other types are designed to be a 50/50 mix with water. Softened tap water will do the trick

Your car’s performance matters to you, so be precise when measuring out the ratio. Creating a coolant that is either too weak or too strong can result in poor performance. Your car type may dictate whether pre-diluted or coolant that you can dilute yourself is best.

Here’s a quick tip if you ever find yourself in an emergency. If your car’s coolant level is low, you can use water to help you make it to the nearest auto shop or gas station.

How Can I Best Protect My Car’s Engine?

Whatever coolant your car needs, you can trust Hy-per Lube’s tested and trusted products to help enhance engine protection and performance. We stand by our products with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, and we are a known name in the industry when it comes to cooling systems and lubrication. Our coolant products are:

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Hy-per Cool Radiator Cleaner and Super Flush

Hy-per Cool Radiator and Super Flush is a professional-grade formula that is compatible with all gasoline and diesel engines. The coolant can safely clean and protect your engine within 30 minutes.

What coolant does my car need

The heavy-duty formula is safe to use on all cooling system parts, including plastic and aluminum. Hy-per Cool Radiator and Super Flush effectively removes rust, scale, residue and solder bloom.

Unlike many coolants, our formula also contains water pump lubricant and corrosion inhibitors, helping keep your engine cleaner going forward. This formula is an effective solution, whether you need to perform a light engine flush or a full cleaning.

Using Hy-per Cool Radiator Cleaner and Super Flush is a simple process with just a handful of steps. A single bottle treats systems as large as 16 quarts.

Diesel Super Coolant

Diesel engines run hot, which means they need a strong coolant to manage that temperature. Hy-per Lube’s Diesel Super Coolant, a supplemental coolant additive (SCA), is designed to protect modern, turbocharged and intercooled diesel engines.

Drivers who are into motorsports and off-roading will find this coolant to be the ideal solution to increase heat transfer and reduce engine part temperature. Independent testing has shown this super coolant reduces temperatures by up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

A 50/50 mix of glycol and water results in an engine temperature of 388 degrees, while that mix with super coolant added results in an engine temperature of 379 degrees. Using just water translates to an engine temperature of 382 degrees, while a mix of water and supper coolant reduces that temperature fo 358 degrees.

The SCA is compatible with any standard diesel engine coolant. Our Diesel Super Coolant not only enhances the power of your regular coolant, but it also increases fuel economy (by 1 percent to 2 percent), boosts power and acceleration and protects against corrosion. You can trust your vehicle to perform at its best thanks to Diesel Super Coolant.

A single bottle of Hy-per Lube’s Diesel Super Coolant can be used to treat 16- to 26-quart systems. Use a single bottle with 50/50 antifreeze coagulant. If your cooling system uses straight water, add two ounces of Diesel Super Coolant for each quart of the system’s capacity.

Hy-per Cool Super Coolant

Hy-per Cool Super Coolant is our #1 most popular engine coolant system additive with a proven track record. Independent testing has shown that this additive can reduce engine temperatures by up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water results in a temperature of 230 degrees, while a 50/50 mid and super coolant results in a temperature of 222 degrees. Water only results in a temperature of 219 degrees, while a mix of water and super coolant results in a decreased temperature of 194 degrees.

Hy-per Super Coolant is compatible with nearly every type of engine coolant, so drivers of practically any vehicle can enhance their engine protection and performance. The additive not only helps to lower engine temperatures, but it also increases horsepower and improves engine warm-up in cold environments.

A single bottle of Hy-per Super Coolant can treat 12- to 20-quart systems. If your cooling system is larger or smaller than that, use one ounce of the additive for each quart of the system’s capacity.

Whether an experienced DIY mechanic or a new car care enthusiast, you obviously care about your car. That means you will need the right supplies to change your engine coolant. Hy-Per Lube has different types of coolant additives that drivers want to ensure maximum performance from their cars.

We also have knowledgeable staff available to answer your questions. With locations in the United States and Canada, you can trust Hy-per Lube to be there for you and your car.


How do I know what coolant to use for my car?

Your car’s owner’s manual provides a wealth of information. It will tell you what type of coolant is best to use in your vehicle. If you don’t have a copy of your owner’s manual, you can most likely find the information you need online.

Do I need certain type of engine coolant?

The type of coolant required by your vehicle can now vary by year, make, model, engine and even the country where the car was made. With so many factors in play, car owners need to know which type of engine coolant is right for their vehicle.

What happens if I use the wrong coolant?

Using the wrong engine coolant can gradually lead to corrosion and damage to the water pump, radiator, radiator hoses and cylinder gasket. This can lead to damage to the engine in the worst case.

Above is information about What coolant does my car need? that we have compiled. Hopefully, through the above content, you have a more detailed understanding of What are the different types of engine coolant? Thank you for reading our post.

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