Your Antifreeze/Coolant Questions Answered

Testing and adding coolant

What is antifreeze/coolant?

In your car, antifreeze works to prevent your engine from freezing up or overheating in extreme climates. As the outside temperature rises and falls, coolant is circulated throughout the engine block to maintain optimal internal operating temperatures. Coolants conduct heat from the engine to the radiator and heater core while protecting from boil-over, freeze-up, and corrosion.

What does antifreeze/coolant protect?

In addition to the engine, proper coolant levels protect against corrosion and help lubricate your water pump.

What is antifreeze/coolant made of?

The chemical in most coolants is ethylene glycol.

Is the antifreeze formula always the same?

Original Equipment (OE) antifreeze is over 95 percent ethylene glycol, but car manufacturers use slightly different additives and dyes. So, no, antifreeze formula isn’t always the same. Universal antifreeze is compatible with all OE antifreeze.

Why do I need to change my antifreeze/coolant?

You should change your coolant regularly because it:

  • Loses its effectiveness over time
  • Picks up contaminating particles from your car's cooling system
  • Ensures your vehicle's engine receives maximum protection
  • Prevents corrosion damage to cooling system components

How often do I need to change my antifreeze/coolant?

Consult your owner's manual for the recommended change interval. Most guidelines suggest flushing your cooling system and replacing conventional coolant every 1 to 2 years. Extended life antifreeze can last up to 5 years.

To test whether your current antifreeze/coolant is still effective, use an antifreeze tester. This video shows you how.

What’s the best antifreeze for my car?

Always check your owner's manual first for antifreeze information specific to your vehicle. Here are a few additional tips.

Also, be sure to check out Carquest Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant, which can be used in all makes and models and mixed with any color antifreeze.

Last updated June 13, 2017

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