You know that your car’s engine is in tip-top condition by having the best coolant. This is a very important part of the entire cooling system of the engine, and is ideally a 50:50 mixture of antifreeze and clean water. Coolant or antifreeze greatly helps in keeping the engine from freezing up during the winter season and during cold weather conditions. On the contrary, it helps in keeping the car cool during the summer season.
When mixed with water, coolant is placed in the reservoir and radiator of the car, adding more coolant between certain intervals, such as between mechanic visits. The flushing and filling of fresh coolant are necessary every 2 to 5 years, depending on the coolant type you use. Some manufacturers formulate and add some ingredients for rust and corrosion protection.
However, these ingredients break down over time, becoming harmful to your engine; thereby, requiring you to flush the entire system. In this regard, you will need the best antifreeze in keeping your engine’s cooling system in an excellent condition for as long as you need it to.
Best Coolant / Antifreeze Reviews
1. Prestone AF888 Dex-Cool Antifreeze
- Engine Ice hi-performance coolant is biodegradable, phosphate free and non-toxic, typically reduces operating race temperatures and effectively keeping boil over temperatures to 256° Fahrenheit or less and freeze-up protection to -26° Fahrenheit
- With an average reduction in operating temperatures of 10° Fahrenheit - 20° Fahrenheit Engine Ice is perfect for racing or street, motorcycle or auto, ATV or snow machine
- Engine Ice hi-performance coolant is legal in CCS and ASRA road racing and permitted at many tracks around the world. Easy to Use – Premixed with deionized water for out-of-the-bottle use.
- Engineered to keep your operating temperatures at optimum performance to not lose power through excess heat; Engine Ice is safe for aluminum and most all metals
- Uses propylene glycol, which has been proven to eliminate water pump gasket and seal failures; it has also shown in high load, high stress conditions to reduce operating temperatures more than standard coolants
Meanwhile, the Prestone AF888 Dex-Cool Antifreeze receives a 4.8-Star average rating. This full-strength antifreeze is highly recommended and formulated for all vehicles, requiring Dex-Cool coolant. It is equally ideal for light-duty trucks that have aluminum radiators, which use extended-life coolant. This patented formula boasts a concentrated blend of the finest long-lasting inhibitors, resulting in extended performance and protection against extreme temperatures.
Its formulation is good for 150,000 miles or five years. This coolant for aluminum engines has been fortified with Cor-Guard inhibitors, promoting protection against rust and corrosion. This promise has been made by the Prestone brand since 1927, which is the very first brand to introduce coolants or antifreeze for automobiles. Hence, it has become a trusted name for cooling system protection in cars.
Prestone’s introduction of the Cor-Guard inhibitors just made the brand more popular and more preferred in North America, setting standards continuously, while improving the life of engines through its innovation in automotive fluids, brake fluids, and antifreeze.
Despite some negative reviews about this coolant, the Prestone AF888 still manages to produce a lot of positive reviews. The negative reviews are greatly attributed to the users’ entire cooling system problems, and not the antifreeze itself. Hence, there is nothing wrong with this antifreeze, especially in GM vehicles and other cars with engines that have aluminum parts.
In fact, this is the best engine coolant for bmw, provided that your system is entirely clean prior to refilling the Prestone AF888. This product can last for 100,000 miles or five years in keeping your cooling system in tip-top condition. This concentrated formula simply indicates that the 50/50 mix is entirely a waste of money; while this one gallon antifreeze lets you save up some bucks. Check out Prestone AF888 Review here.
2. Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 Antifreeze
- Recommended and formulated for use in all vehicles that require Dex-Cool coolant
- Also for use with cars and light-duty trucks with aluminum radiators using extended life coolant
- Blend of premium long-lasting inhibitors provides extended performance
- Protects against temperature extremes and the ravages of rust and corrosion
- Good for 5 years or 150,000 miles
Moreover, the 4.8-Star-rated Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 Antifreeze says to be the original full-chemistry when it comes to newer Ford, Daimler/Chrysler vehicles, and other diesel engines. It can be considered as the best radiator coolant due to its Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) formulation that combines only the finest conventional as well as organic acid-based chemistry in order to deliver no less than rust and corrosion protection. This hybrid technology also tends to reduce inhibitor depletion.
Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 is one of the coolants that promise protection for up to 150,000 miles or five years, similar to the Engine Ice. Its phosphate-free, low-silicate, and low-pH formula is geared towards protecting all metals from corrosion in cooling systems. The unique formulation of Zerex is also helpful in the prevention of cold weather freeze-ups, including hot weather boil over.
Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 is a green coolant is a universal ethylene glycol-based formula, making it suitable for light duty trucks, passenger cars, and 4WD vehicles. Glycol-based coolants are common, so the Zerex G-05 is undoubtedly compatible with these engines. The defoamer system in this antifreeze is of superior quality, and will never harm plastics, hoses, or any other original vehicle finishes.
Unlike other coolant brands, the Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 is Cummins 14603 approved, including Chrysler MS 9769, Ford WSS-M97B51-A1, Daimler-Chrysler, MTU, John Deere, GM 1899M, GM 1825M and many more. Because its formulation is ideal for diesel and petrol engines, this coolant definitely serves a wide selection of vehicles. There is no doubt with this coolant’s performance and efficiency with the modern engine components. Read our Zerex ZXG051 G-05 Review.
3. Star Brite Star-Cool Premium Synthetic
- The formulation is designed for both gasoline and diesel engines
- Its lower-silicate, reduced pH, phosphate free European technology protects all cooling system metals, including aluminum, from corrosion
- ZEREX G-05 is a nitrite containing coolant designed to protect diesel engine cylinder liners from cavitation. It contains deposit control additives for protection from hard water deposits and scale
- ZEREX G-05 contains a high quality defoamer system and will not harm hoses, plastics or original vehicle finishes
- For any product use or product technical questions call 1-800-TEAM-VAL
The Star Brite Star-Cool Premium Synthetic could be the best coolant for cars. Garnering an average rating of 5-Stars, this antifreeze is a combination of non-toxic propylene glycol base and poly organic additives (POAT), creating the most advanced engine coolant today.
Star Brite has worked hand in hand with the world’s top coolant additive formulators in developing this product, which substantially outperforms conventional coolants. This collaboration has also resulted in the Star-Cool’s capacity to help the engine develop the maximum horsepower.
The ultra-extended service life of this antifreeze makes it very cost-effective when compared with the standard coolants. The PCT additive package also helps in maintaining the engine temperature, while promoting maximum horsepower at the same time. Furthermore, Star-Cool meets all the OEM specifications, including the appropriate ASTM specifications.
This type of antifreeze has also been formulated to close fissures or pinhole leaks. It is perfect for a year-round use to protect your engine from boilover to 265 degrees Fahrenheit and freezing down to -26 degrees Fahrenheit. Its special formulation is also compatible with other coolants, allowing you to use it as a top off or flush-and-fill antifreeze.
This 1-gallon or 64-ounce coolant allows a no-fuss operation, eliminating the mess, mixing, and measuring, unlike other products out there. This is the best there is for synthetic products that consume gasoline or diesel. All in all, the Star Brite Star-Cool Premium Synthetic is a top-rated and the best car coolant that effectively reduces operating temperature faster than others. Check our Star Brite Coolant Review here.
4. MaxLife 719009 Antifreeze – Gallon
- PCT additive package maintains engine temperature to develop maximum horsepower
- Reduces operating temperatures faster than other coolants
- Meets or exceeds all OEM and appropriate ASTM specs
- Formulated to seal pinhole leaks or fissures
- Non-toxic - Does not contain ethylene glycol
The last product on the list is the MaxLife 719009 Antifreeze, which receives an average rating of 4.8-Stars. This formulation or type of coolant has been engineered to work with all vehicles, including light-duty trucks. Unlike other products, the MaxLife 719009 has the Alugard Plus feature, which is a special additive, allowing various chemistries to work hand in hand.
The Alugard Plus technology also provides rust and corrosion protection. This coolant claims to be the most widely-used by all makes and all models of car coolants with an Organic Acid Technology (OAT), making it compatible with HOAT and Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT) chemistries.
Similar to the products above, the MaxLife 719009 promises the protection from cold weather freeze-ups, including hot weather boil-overs. It has the capacity to lubricate seals and gaskets, alongside a long-life formula. It greatly helps in extending the life of higher-mileage cars by keeping the engine temperature stable, despite climates and driving conditions.
The MaxLife 719009 could be the best antifreeze coolant that is highly capable of transferring heat from your engine to your radiator. More benefits that this product provides is its high recommendation for use in all models, all makes, with compatibility with all colors.
It is also perfect to use in all-terrain vehicles, street-sport motorcycles, utility vehicles, off-road motorcycles, street-touring and street-cruiser motorcycles, snowmobiles, street-motor-scooters, marine-personal-crafts, and many more. It is priced competitively; hence, it is a decent deal for all probable buyers. Indeed, the MaxLife 719009 proves its efficiency to wide ranges of vehicle types. Read our detailed MaxLife 719009 Review.
5. Engine Ice TYDS008 High Performance Coolant
- CONTAINS ALUGARD PLUS FOR COMPATIBLITY WITH ALL ETHYLNE GLYCOL-BASED COOLANTS in automobiles and light duty trucks
- FIGHTS CORROSION, SCALING AND RUST while protecting all cooling system metals (including aluminum)
- HIGH-QUALITY ADDITIVES PROTECT AGAINST LEAKS and won’t harm gaskets, hoses, plastics or original vehicle finish
- YELLOW CONCENTRATE FORMULA should be mixed with clean tap water or demineralized water at 50/50 ratio for temperatures -34 to 265F; 60/40 for -62 to 270F; and 70/30 for -84 to 267F
Garnering an average rating of 4.8-Stars is the Engine Ice TYDS008 High Performance Coolant. It is among the best coolant for cars, considering its biodegradable, non-toxic, and phosphate-free formulation. Such formula tends to reduce operating race temperatures, while allowing freeze-up protection for up to -26 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also features an average reduction of 10 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit during operating temperatures. Engine Ice TYDS008 claims to be the perfect formulation for street or racing, auto or motorcycle, ATV or snow machine. Hence, it is ideal for wide ranges of vehicles.
This high-performing engine coolant is legal in ASRA and CCS road racing, while acquiring approval for use in many tracks worldwide. The Engine Ice TYDS008 has been engineered perfectly in keeping your operating temperatures at maximum performance, not allowing power loss through excessive heat.
Its formulation is safe for aluminum and virtually all metals. It makes use of propylene glycol, a proven ingredient in eliminating seal and water pump gasket failures. During heavy loads and high-stress conditions, this primary ingredient has also indicated promising results in reducing operating temperatures, better than standard coolants.
Engine Ice TYDS008 High Performance Coolant has also generated several positive reviews from actual users, saying that this is the best antifreeze replacement to factory coolants. It lives up to its promises and claims, unlike other products on the market. It also requires a very simple flush procedure, while requiring distilled water as much as possible. Engine Ice TYDS008 is a highly recommended and a track-friendly coolant type. Read our detailed review of the Engine Ice TYDS008.
Coolant / Antifreeze Buying Guide
After learning about the top-rated coolants on the market, it is now time to learn about the engine coolant types, including some important tips and other essential information involving this product.
Basic Types of Coolants/Antifreeze
Choosing between the coolant types is a crucial step throughout the process. You should understand that there are three basic types on the market, each formulation differ from one another as one type offers slightly different benefits over the others.
While a vehicle can run with any type of coolant, it is important to use the most appropriate variety, which may be affected by different factors like the kind of additive antifreeze offers for better metal protection. In line with this, below are the basic types of coolant, allowing you to differentiate one over the other.
- Inorganic Acid Technology – Also referred to as IAT, this among the antifreeze types, which is widely used in the US-manufactured vehicles, dating from the 1920s up to the late 1990s. Naturally, this coolant is clear, but dyed green for identification. IAT coolants contain phosphate and silicate corrosion inhibitors for metal parts protection as it runs through the radiator and the engine. The experts highly recommend that this green antifreeze, be flushed out once in a two-year interval or every 30,000 miles. It is also recommended for Chrysler, Ford and GM vehicles.
- Organic Acid Technology – Known as OAT, this type is available in different dyed colors, ranging from dark green to orange. Compared to IAT coolants, OAT coolants do not contain phosphates or silicates; thereby, it has higher chances of lasting much longer than IAT coolants. However, it can wear down some metal parts in the engine and radiator eventually. Fortunately, manufacturers have engineered OAT coolants with additives that promote rust and corrosion protection. It lasts for 150,000 miles or five years. The orange antifreeze is dedicated to GM vehicles, while the pink to VW, green to Honda, and red to Toyota vehicles.
- Hybrid Organic Acid Technology – The HOAT coolants are similarly available in varied colors or dyes like orange and yellow. This type of antifreeze contains some silicates for corrosion reduction, and some additives for rust and corrosion prevention. Like the OAT, the HOAT must be flushed out every 150,000 miles or 5 years. It is recommended to use for Chrysler, and major European car makers, German, and Asian.
Determining What Coolant to Use
Determining what kind of antifreeze you need to use, largely depends on the manufacturer of your vehicle. Every car manufacturer often makes use of a single product line of coolant in all their vehicles. By following this tip, you can immediately identify the proper coolant to buy for your car. Comparing the coolant colors for each car make also helps solve your predicament. For instance, the pink antifreeze will be the most appropriate for your VW vehicle.
Another way to identify what coolant to use is by referring to your car’s manual. If the owner manual is unavailable, you can always search through the manufacturer’s website. And, if else fails, you can ask a reliable mechanic for wise suggestions and recommendations.
Many drivers still find it a mystery in determining the main difference between coolants, like that with the engine oils. At the best of people’s knowledge, knowing what is in the red antifreeze may not be available in the blue or pink, is less than what really needs to be understood. Without getting too much ‘geeky,’ however, here are some fundamental things every probable coolant user must know.
- Color Is Not Equivalent to the Type – Mixing colors and types can certainly cause failure, although the results may not appear immediately. By doing such, your engine and cooling system will not function well as the coolant can turn into gel gradually, thus, it restricts flow. Keep in mind that the standard green coolant has additives, especially geared towards corrosion prevention on steel parts, while others are specifically designed for aluminum and alloys.
- Stick to the Ratio – There are some types of engine coolant that allows a direct use, straight from its container. But, there are others, which require a 50-50 ratio, whereas the other half is clean water. A too weak or too strong mixture results in poor engine cooling.
- Always Keep Water in the Trunk – Water is always better than nothing, especially if there are no repair facilities or gas stations when your vehicle runs low on coolant. In such cases, adding water to your cooling system may be enough until you get hold of more coolant.
Adding More Coolant
By now, you should be certain on what type of antifreeze to use, although there are no specific and immediate dangers to mixing coolants in your car. But, once you add an HOAT or OAT coolant to an IAT, the HOAT or OAT coolant will lapse to a two-year service life like that of the IAT coolant. Some experts also believe that combining coolants in a radiator may result in coolant gelling under certain circumstances.
Adding more coolant to your vehicle in between visits to the mechanic and allowing the coolant system flushed out, is a very wise idea to keep your vehicle running well, regardless extreme weather conditions. Otherwise, you can complete the entire process by yourself as this may also be a do-it-yourself job, provided that you have the proper coolant, safety glasses, work gloves, a flashlight, and a funnel. You can likewise refer to the instructions provided by the product.
Over and above, car manufacturers make use of one type among the car coolant types. It is highly recommended that you use the same type, which already exists in your car. Your owner’s manual comes in handy when determining the correct coolant type, while the coolant color can possibly identify the proper type as well.
As discussed above, antifreeze compatibility is fundamental to prevent unwanted damages over time, sticking to recommendations all the time will never give you harm. Nevertheless, radiator coolant is as essential as engine oils and brake fluids in keeping your car in top-top condition.