Key Difference Between Engine Coolant And Antifreeze?

September 7th, 2022 by

Key Difference Between Engine Coolant And Antifreeze?

Key Takeaways:

  • Coolant is a fluid used in the radiator to remove the engine’s heat.
  • Antifreeze is an additive mixed with water or coolant to prevent your car engine from freezing in cold weather.
  • The ratio of water or coolant to antifreeze should be 50:50.
  • It is essential to regularly check your engine coolant level and top it off if necessary.
  • Always check the compatibility of the coolant and antifreeze for your car before adding them.
  • The Hanania Buick GMC deals in premium cars and offers reliable car maintenance and repair services to customers in Palatka, FL, and the surrounding areas.

Many vehicle owners seem unsure about the difference between engine coolant and antifreeze. This article will summarize the information you need to know about these two automotive fluids. Engine coolant and antifreeze are two different substances that are often confused. Hanania Buick GMC will discuss the composition of engine coolant and antifreeze and their types and usage. We will also provide a few handling tips for these fluids!


Engine coolant is a substance that is used to keep your engine cool. It circulates through your engine and absorbs heat, which helps to keep your engine running at its optimal temperature.


Antifreeze is a fluid that helps prevent your car engine from freezing in cold weather. It does this by lowering the freezing point of water. It is mixed with water or coolant to prevent it from turning into ice at low temperatures. The ratio of water or coolant to antifreeze should be 50:50. You can buy premixed antifreeze, but it is usually more expensive.

Types of Engine Coolants

There are two main types of engine coolants: organic and inorganic. Organic coolants are made from ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, the most common type of coolant. Inorganic coolants are silicates or phosphates typically used in older vehicles.

You can also choose between conventional and extended life coolants. Conventional coolant contains silicates that can build up over time and cause corrosion. Extended-life coolant contains no silicates and can last up to five years or 100,000 miles.

Now that you know the difference between engine coolant and antifreeze, you can be sure to use the correct fluids for your vehicle. Check your car owner’s manual for specific instructions on fluids and how often to change them, or consult a qualified mechanic. Following these simple tips can keep your vehicle running smoothly and avoid costly repairs down the road.

When to Change Engine Coolant?

It would help if you changed the engine coolant every two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, antifreeze does not need to be changed as often, but it should be checked regularly to ensure it is at the correct level. When changing your engine coolant, use a coolant compatible with your car’s engine. This information is available in the car owner’s manual or the radiator cap.

If your engine runs hotter than usual or you see any leaks, there might be something wrong with your car’s cooling system that needs to be repaired. Please read our blog on the signs that your radiator is leaking so you may know when to consult a qualified mechanic for repairs.

How Do They Work?

Your car requires a cooling system to keep it from overheating. It consists of a radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses, and fan. The engine coolant circulates through the engine and absorbs heat. The radiator then dissipates the heat into the air.

The coolant gets hot, absorbing the engine’s heat, and flows to the radiator, cooled by air flowing over the fins. As the coolant loses heat, it becomes cool and returns to the engine to absorb more.

Antifreeze is added to the coolant to lower the freezing point so it can still circulate in cold weather. It also raises the boiling point so the coolant can absorb more heat before it starts to boil. In addition, antifreeze contains corrosion inhibitors to protect against rust and corrosion.

Ask a qualified mechanic if you have any questions about engine coolant or antifreeze. They will be able to help you choose the correct coolant for your car and answer any other questions you may have.

What Are The Signs That You Need to Add Coolant?

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time for a new coolant:

-Your engine is overheating

-There is steam coming from under the hood

-The temperature gauge is higher than usual

-The check engine light is on

-Your coolant is rusty or dirty

If unsure, it’s always best to get your car checked by a qualified mechanic.

How to add coolant?

Adding coolant is a simple process. The reservoir under the hood has a fill line that indicates how much coolant you need. Once you’ve added the appropriate amount of coolant, replace the cap and tighten it until it clicks.

Be careful not to overfill the reservoir. If you need to add more than a half-gallon of coolant, take your car to a qualified mechanic so they can check for leaks.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when handling engine coolant and antifreeze. First, never pour them down the drain as they can harm the environment. Second, ensure you store them in a safe place where children and pets cannot get to them. Lastly, if you spill either one on your skin, wash it off immediately, as it can irritate.

Need Car Maintenance Services in Palatka, FL?

Engine coolant and antifreeze are two different substances that are often confused. They have many similarities and critical differences. Using the correct substance in your car’s cooling system is essential to keep it running smoothly. Our team at Hanania Buick GMC, serving Palatka, FL, can help you ensure your vehicle has the correct fluids and that everything is properly maintained. We also have a wide selection of new, used, and certified cars for you to choose from. Schedule service with us today, or see us in person!

We hope you’ll visit us soon to take a test drive and explore our financing options. Our service department has qualified mechanics, so you can feel confident that your car will be in good hands long after you’ve driven it off the lot. We can’t wait to help you find your dream car!

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