What is the Difference between Coolant and Antifreeze?

Difference-between-Coolant-and-Antifreeze - Cooline Radiators

Being a car or a truck owner, you may have at least heard of the words coolant & antifreeze. Considering the names of both these products, one may feel that they are interchangeable things & perform a similar task in a vehicle’s engine. Truth be told, there is a small difference between coolant & antifreeze and being aware of this difference will be of benefit to any vehicle owner.


Antifreeze is usually made of ethylene glycol. As the name suggests, it doesn’t freeze easily and prevents the engine from overheating by regulating the engine temperature.


In addition to that, antifreeze naturally protects against corrosion, such as rust & it lubricates all the moving metal parts that it runs over.


Simply put, coolant is antifreeze with water added into it. As per your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, you can either buy coolant which is 70% antifreeze & 30% water or coolant that has antifreeze & water in equal proportions.

Bereft of coolant, your vehicle would overheat quickly in the summer & struggle to start in the cold winter. In other words, you are required to regularly make sure that your car has enough coolant, or you would have to deal with these problems.

What color is antifreeze?

Antifreeze usually comes in two different colors: green and orange. 

The difference being the fact that the orange-colored antifreeze is generally “extended life’ antifreeze. It lasts for an extended period of time as compared to the green version courtesy of having a different type of corrosion inhibitor.

What color is coolant?

Coolant is available in three different colors: green, purple & orange. Before buying coolant, you need to check out the recommended color for your vehicle in the owner’s manual and buy accordingly. Using the wrong color coolant in your vehicle can cause potentially serious mechanical damage to your vehicle.

Coolant & Antifreeze Safety Tips

Now that you have become aware of the difference between antifreeze & coolant, let’s get to know how to use these two products in a safe manner. Here are two important safety tips:

Follow warnings printed on all caps & containers

Adding coolant by opening the radiator cap while the vehicle is even marginally hot is one of the most foolish things to do as a car owner. This can lead to chronically serious burns. Always check the radiator cap for warnings printed on it describing the risk. As a matter of fact, make it a point to always follow the warnings printed on all caps & containers in the engine compartment, let alone the radiator cap.

Keep coolant & antifreeze at a safe distance from kids & animals

Both coolant & antifreeze are poisonous in nature, so it’s imperative to keep them at a safe distance from kids & animals. Consuming any of these products can result in sickness or even death, so it’s necessary to be extra careful regarding their storage. Additionally, If you find that the coolant or antifreeze bottles are leaking, then it’s best to get rid of them so as to avoid a potential disaster.


Antifreeze and coolant are closely related to each other but they aren’t the same thing and have a small difference. The most important thing with regards to both antifreeze & coolant is their proper storage. Storing both these products away from the reach of kids & animals and regularly looking for any leaks in their respective bottles goes a long way in averting a highly problematic situation.

If you have any doubts/queries about car radiators or have encountered a radiator problem that is beyond repair & requires replacement, then you can contact us at Cooline. Call 1-800-788-2122 during our operating hours or message us through the ‘Quick Contact’ on www.buyradiatoronline.com if you have any questions or would like to receive a quote.

Want to know 6 important car radiator maintenance tips that can prolong your car radiator life & help you avoid a significant number of repairs? Check out this extensive blog: https://www.buyradiatoronline.com/ourblog/6-car-radiator-maintenance-tips-to-prolong-your-radiator-life