An engine running without coolant is an engine that will get severely damaged within a couple of minutes. But we are not really here to talk about how vital coolant is for your vehicle. Instead, what we will focus on is the types of coolant and coolant color.
As car enthusiasts, we have been dealing with different car models and handling coolants that each uses. Over time, we gathered a lot of knowledge regarding the different types of coolants that car manufacturers use nowadays. And we will discuss all the things that we learned in this article.
So, if you want to learn about them all, stick till the very end because we will cover some things that different guides generally do not go through.
Types of Coolant
Before we talk about the color, we would like to discuss the types of coolant that are available. So, without further ado, let us get right into it, shall we?
Inorganic Acid Technology
One of the oldest technology that some car manufacturers still use is inorganic acid technology. These were pretty common among the vehicles that were released anywhere between 1920 and 1990. And a good chunk of those cars is still present on the roads right now.
Nonetheless, as the name suggests, these contain inorganic elements. The formulas included silicates and phosphates. Both act as corrosion inhibitors and do a proper job of protecting the engine’s metal parts and the cooling system.
However, one of the major downsides of these coolants is their lifespan. Due to having inorganic components, these do not last that long. You would need to flush the tank once every two years. Sometimes, they will not even last for 2 years. You would have to change them after every 30 thousand miles.
Organic Acid Technology
This is the technology that is present on the coolants used in the newer models. As the name suggests, OAT utilizes organic elements. That means it will not include phosphates or silicates. However, it does contain corrosion inhibitors that can prevent rust and corrosion exceptionally well.
On that note, the corrosion inhibitors that these utilize last longer than the IAT corrosion inhibitors. Some of these coolants will even use special additives that will prevent rust. But even with these additives and inhibitors, some of the metal parts still wear down over time.
Talking of which, most of the brands will claim that their coolant can last for at least 10 years. And they would recommend you to flush the entire tank after 135 thousand miles. Now, that is a good mileage and time period when it comes to the average lifespan of the antifreeze.
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology
As you might have guessed, this is a mix between the IAT and OAT. The HOAT mixes up all the good things that are from IAT and OAT and offers something that is better than both of them. And that means it will contain silicates, which will provide maximum protection to the aluminum and metal parts.
Furthermore, these formulas will contain special additives that will protect the parts from rust. And both the silicates and additives do a great job in terms of protecting and enhancing the lifespan of the engine.
However, the lifespan is not as much as the organic acid technology. These will last for around 5 years if the use case is typical. And you would need to flush out the entire system after each 150 thousand miles.
The last type of coolant that is available in the market is the Dex-cool technology. It has gained quite an amount of popularity over time and is now used for most GM vehicles. In fact, the formula that it relies on can meet and exceed most of the OEM specifications.
Nonetheless, the lifespan of these coolants will vary from one use case to another. But the general lifespan is up to mark with the other coolants that are available in the market. It will last for at least 5 years. And you would need to flush out the entire reservoir after 150 thousand miles.
Just like the formula of the coolants, there is a difference in terms of the color too. However, some of the formulas do have the same color as the other ones. So, the color can not really be a factor that you can consider to differentiate the antifreeze. Nonetheless, the colors of each of the types are:
Inorganic Acid Technology
Due to containing silicates and phosphates inside the formula, this one gets a bright green color. Some might even refer to the color like neon green because of how bright it is. However, over time, the coolant can get a bit dull. And when you notice that antifreeze has a pale color inside the bottle, do not use it.
Organic Acid Technology
Unlike the IAT, OAT coolants come in a wide range of colors. You will find these in bright red, orange, red, dark green, and blue. Among all of these colors, the only bright color is the bright red and orange. The rest will be a bit dull in comparison.
So, you can not really use the thumb rule: if a coolant is dull in color, it might have gone bad.
Hybrid Acid Technology
We have already mentioned above that some of the colors will mix and match with the other types of coolants. However, HOAT is different to some extent. You can find these in pink, blue, and most importantly, in turquoise, purple, and yellow.
Like the other coolants, the Dex-cool will come in a few different colors. But the most common ones are green and orange. There might be a bright version of the formula available out there, but they are not that common.
In conclusion, there are basically four types available when it comes to the types of coolant and coolant color. And among all of the kinds, red, pink, green, and orange is the most common ones.