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Extreme hot and cold temperatures can severely affect your car, so when the seasons change it’s a great idea to get refreshed on how to care for your engine’s cooling system properly. To maintain a functioning cooling system, you will need to use antifreeze and coolant. However, it can be confusing what the terms coolant and antifreeze mean and how they differ from each other – especially since many people use the terms interchangeably. Is coolant the same as antifreeze? Find out below. 

Is antifreeze coolant? 

Is antifreeze coolant? Well, antifreeze and engine coolant are similar, but not the same. Antifreeze is a concentrated, glycol-based liquid that must be diluted with water before use – at which point it is referred to as coolant. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-mixed engine coolant, a ready-to-use solution of antifreeze and water.  

Mainly consisting of ethylene glycol, antifreeze is used in a car’s cooling system to enable trouble-free engine operation even in the most extreme, sub-zero weather. Ethylene Glycol prevents coolant liquid freezing within your radiator by lowering its freezing temperature, alongside lubricating the water pump and inhibiting corrosion.  

Engine coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water, with a common ratio of 50:50. This is because antifreeze works best as a diluted liquid (making it coolant) when combatting temperatures of intense heat. With coolant in your car’s cooling system, the engine can be effectively regulated to the optimum temperature, all year round.  

Antifreeze does not expire, but the additives that prevent engine corrosion do. As such, it’s recommended you replace your antifreeze in line with the manufacturer’s expiry guidelines. 

Additionally, ethylene glycol is toxic to both humans and animals, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety advice and disposal instructions carefully. 


Mixing antifreeze and coolant 

Can you mix pink and blue antifreeze? 

You cannot mix pink and blue antifreeze. An incorrect mixture of coolants could lead to a faulty cooling system and engine damage, so always stick to the mix recommended by your manufacturer.  


Can you mix the same type of coolants? 

Always top up your car with the same type and brand of coolant. If you’re unsure which to use, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or contact your nearest garage.  

We do not advise you mix coolants. A common misconception is that you can use colour to identify coolant type, however multiple colours can be used to indicate one type of coolant, so we do not advice using the colour of the liquid solution as an indicator of coolant type.  


Learn more about Total’s range of antifreeze and coolant, discover what coolant and antifreeze you should use, or find out more about what coolant and antifreeze are. Please contact our team if you have any questions.