Today’s coolant has many functions within your vehicle. It prevents corrosion, lubricates the water pump, and raises the boiling temperature in your car’s cooling system.

What Is the difference between Coolant Vs. Antifreeze?

Back in the day coolant was called antifreeze; today the more accurate term is coolant, because it does a lot more than prevent the water in your car’s radiator from freezing.

While a few auto manufacturers have their own specialized coolant, most cars are covered by just three different types:What Does Coolant Do - Cottman Man - Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care

  • The most familiar is ethylene glycol; the first permanent coolant. It provides protection against rust, lubricates the system, raises the boiling point, and lowers the freeze point.

While it’s called a “permanent” coolant, most people should have their ethylene glycol antifreeze changed every few years. That removes contaminants and replaces worn out additives to protect the car’s cooling system.

  • Next, we have Dex-Cool™, which first began appearing in 1995. Dex-Cool is a long life, ethylene glycol based coolant; when used according to manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s supposed to protect a car’s cooling system for up to five years or 50,000 miles.

In general, there’s no reason to use Dex-Cool in your car’s cooling system unless it came with Dex-Cool from the factory. Mixing Dex-Cool with any other coolant will reduce its protection to where it’s no more effective than regular ethylene glycol.

Ethylene glycol in any form is harmful to people and pets.

  • Propylene glycol is a newer, environmentally friendly approach to coolants. While it’s not something you should drink, a small amount won’t hurt you or your pets. Propylene glycol won’t mix with other types of coolants, so the entire system needs to be drained if you’d like to switch to a more environmentally responsible coolant.

Cottman Knows Engine Coolant

Your nearby Cottman center is very familiar with the different types of coolant and antifreeze on the market today, and can help you with checking or servicing your car’s cooling system. Give them a call and set up a time to have your car’s cooling system checked.