Coolant and Antifreeze – What’s the Difference?

Posted December 19, 2017

As temperatures across Colorado are starting to bottom out, drivers across the state tend to begin scrambling to winterize their vehicle. One of the most common questions we tend to hear from customers during this process and throughout the winter months is “What’s the difference between antifreeze and coolant exactly?”

A lot of people are surprised to hear the answer, which is simply “there is none.”

The terms “antifreeze” and “coolant” both refer to the exact same fluid, which is extremely important to your vehicle’s health. Antifreeze/Coolant keeps your engine running at the best possible temperature year-round vis-à-vis a process known as “convection”. Since normal water isn’t able to transfer heat, antifreeze was developed by engineers to maintain proper engine temperatures and protect vehicle radiators which are comprised of several metals (brass, aluminum, copper, etc.) that are incompatible from an electrochemical standpoint.

For obvious reasons, the term “antifreeze” is heard more often in the winter while “coolant” is used with greater frequency when the weather is warm. Regardless of what it’s called, antifreeze needs to be checked and flushed regularly in order to keep your engine functioning properly.

The exact lifespan of your engine coolant depends upon a variety of factors including the fluid’s composition and brand/manufacturer as well as your vehicle’s make/model. You should have an ASE-certified technician check your antifreeze whenever you take your vehicle in for an inspection.

If you have any questions about coolant/antifreeze or if you need to get your car winterized or inspected, be sure to give us a call at 719-382-5691, click HERE to schedule an appointment or swing by our shop at 111 N Santa Fe Ave. in Fountain!

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