As you know by now, the recommended coolant change interval is two years. And two years can go by in the blink of an eye. That is why we have decided to hoard some high-quality coolants inside our garage.
However, when we found a terrific deal on bulk purchase, we wondered does coolant expire? How long is the shelf life of the sealed coolants? Well, the bottles did not have any expiry date. So, we were pretty much incapable of making head or tail of it.
For that reason, we have gone ahead and contacted a professional mechanic directly. The things that we have learned about the coolants in that discussion are surely impressive. And we believe they are bound to impress you as well. So, read through the entire article!
How Long Does Coolant Last Inside the Car?
When it comes to the lifespan of the coolant, it will depend on two factors. And we will discuss both the factors in this segment.
1. Rated Lifespan
First and foremost, you need to consider the rated lifespan. And this is something that will vary from one bottle to another. For example, some manufacturers will state that their antifreeze has a lifespan of their years, while some will claim that their offering can last for at least five or ten years.
Now, the brands do consider a couple of things when they are making the claims. The ones with a longer lifespan, such as the five and ten-year-rated ones, will have special ingredients that increase the overall lifespan. Those are capable of handling extreme situations and loads efficiently.
However, it is not the case that the antifreeze will last exactly as long as the claims. It can start degrading in the first two years or after the first 30 thousand miles.
2. Driving Style
Another thing that will impact the lifespan of the coolant is your driving style. If you are the type that pushes the engine to the limit, the antifreeze has to do loads of work to maintain the optimal temperature of the engine. And it can even start evaporating faster than the usual rate.
When manufacturer states a lifespan, they consider the normal day to day cases; not the extreme ones. So, if you are putting the engine at an extreme load frequently, the coolant inside will not last as long as the rated lifespan.
Does Antifreeze Expire?
It depends on whether you are keeping it inside the sealed bottle or an open container. It will not expire inside a sealed bottle, as sealed bottles of coolants have an indefinite amount of shelf life. However, when it is opened but kept inside the original container, you will still look at years of shelf life.
Does Coolant Have an Expiration Date?
As we have mentioned above, the bottles do not have any expiration date. In fact, most of them do not even have a manufacturing date. The bottles will only contain information regarding the formula and the type of antifreeze. Some of the bottles will take a step further and explain all of the elements inside the blend.
How Long Does Coolant Last in the Bottle?
As you know by now, there are two types of coolant available. One is pre-mixed, and the other is concentrated. And if you are wondering if any of the coolants have an expiration date, they do not. But you can have a proper idea regarding self-life if you have proper knowledge regarding them.
Another type of coolant that is available in the market is the pre-mixed version. These will come in the form of a 50/50 mix. That means one part of these coolants will be concentrated antifreeze, while the other will be distilled water. That makes them easy to use as you do not have to go through the hassle of mixing anything.
On that note, if you keep the bottles sealed, you can expect this type of antifreeze to remain in top-notch condition for years. These will stay perfectly good in the sealed conditions for at least three years if stored properly.
However, as these have water in them, they usually have a shorter lifespan when opened. You would need to use the coolant within the first two years.
Just like the name suggests, these will come in the concentrated form. That means they will not include any diluted water inside them. The formula of these usually consists of chemical ethylene glycol. And to use them, you would need to mix them in a proper ratio with distilled water.
Talking of which, ethylene glycol is very stable. In other words, it does not want to react with other elements that are surrounding it. For that reason, the bottles do not need any expiration date. So, you can store these bottles for a long amount of time without worrying about them degrading.
However, even if the bottles are sealed, you should not store them for more than five years. And when they are opened, use the coolant within the three years of purchase.
Does the Strenght of the Antifreeze Degrade Over Time?
The strength degradation will depend on a couple of factors. First, you need to consider whether it is stored in open condition or sealed condition. If it is left in an open state, the strength can certainly degrade as time goes by. That is why you would need to use them within the first two or three years.
On the other hand, in closed or sealed conditions, the strength will not degrade that much. However, you would need to consider whether the coolant is stored in a proper condition or not. If it is exposed to heat and other environmental elements, it will degrade exceptionally fast, even in sealed conditions.
Symptoms of Bad Coolants
So, you are not sure whether the stored coolant is still in its top-notch condition or not, right? Well, just a simple inspection can you give you the answer. First of all, consider whether the color of the coolant has changed or not.
Usually, the coolants are in a bright color when they are inside a sealed bottle. And if they lose the vibrant coloration and turn into something dull, the chances are that they have gone bad. You must not use them in your car because they can cause severe damages to the components.
Secondly, bad coolants will have a sludge-like appearance. You can even notice some sludges floating around the liquid. And if you use these types of coolants inside the car, the engine will overheat exceptionally fast.
Coolant Drain or Flush: Which Is Better for Your Car?
It goes without saying that draining the coolant is a comparatively effortless and cheap option compared to flushing. When it comes to flushing the coolant, you need to follow the proper disposal fashion and properly flush the engine and the antifreeze reservoir.
Now, when it comes to which one is better for the car, hands down, the flushing method would win. When you flush the coolant entirely, all components will get cleaned, and any residues accumulated over time will be out of the system. That will enhance the lifespan of the parts.
However, you would need to consider how long the coolant was inside the system. If it is comparatively new, say around four months, flushing is not a cost-effective decision. Instead, drain the liquid and pour the new coolant inside.
But do ensure that you are inserting coolant of the same type, which will not react with the residues of the old coolant. If there is any chance of the new antifreeze reacting to the old one, we recommend a complete flush.
Can I Store Coolant in My Car?
Not really. If you are planning to store the coolant for later use, you should not store the coolant inside the car. You would be pouring the antifreeze inside the car only when you are planning to use it.
And when you turn the engine on, the coolant will start cycling inside the radiator and the engine, which will begin the degradation process. So, you should not store the coolant inside the car.
If you are wondering how you should store the coolant, we recommend keeping them inside the original container. Close the original sealing as much as possible and keep it in a place with not too much heat around. A closed cupboard far away from any heat source or light would be an ideal pick in this case.
On the other hand, if the coolant is brand new and you plan to store it, do not open the sealing at all. Instead, keep the bottle in its original condition in a dark and cool place.
To conclude, when it comes to whether coolant expires, it will depend on a couple of factors. If the antifreeze is in its original bottle and has the top seal, you should not worry about expiring. However, if the sealing is off, then use it as quickly as possible.