Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink! The spectrum of rainbow colors is making your trip to the car shop longer and longer. You can’t seem to know which of these colorful engine coolants would suit your vehicle best. One says, it’s perfect for summer, another is the best for winter and another one points to be the best all-year all-season coolant. Which one should be best for your vehicle and your car’s need?
Before heading towards a list of engine coolants that would help you make a final decision, let’s talk more about the main types of coolants in the market. There are technically three main types of coolants. You might have heard of the acronyms IAT, OAT and HOAT; but have never actually spent enough time to learn what they really are for. Now, you get to know and understand which is which and ‘which’ is just the right kind of coolant for your vehicle.
Let’s learn the basics first: EG and PG. Engine coolants are mainly made out of two chemicals: ethylene glycol or EG, and propylene glycol or PG. Ethylene glycol is a chemical compound—(CH2OH)2—that is mainly used for industrial purposes like making polyester fibers and antifreeze. It serves as the main component in antifreeze that keeps the engine warm during winter but keeps the engine cool to prevent overheating.
On the other hand, propylene glycol is a chemical compound that is used for different purposes from solvents to food manufacturing to car engine coolants. It is more environment-friendly and safe for human consumption. It is a relatively safe chemical that is used in different industries including make-ups and food. It is labeled by FDA as a generally safe chemical. It doesn’t easily evaporate and it is also water soluble making it a good compound to be used as an anti-freeze. It serves as a less toxic more eco-friendly alternative to Ethylene glycol that still does a good job in keeping your engine from freezing (antifreeze) and overheating (anti boil).
Types of Engine Coolant
There are three types of engine coolants:
- Inorganic Acid Technology or IAT
IAT was the original engine coolant. It was used from the early 1920s to the late 1990s, back then it only uses EG as its antifreeze component but in the light of technology, some IAT coolants are made with PG. The IAT contains phosphate and silicate that serves as the coolant’s corrosion inhibitor. This is the coolant that is dyed bright green—or sometimes, bright yellow. It is recommended that the IAT coolant is flushed every 36,000 miles or every after two years.
- Organic Acid Technology or OAT
Unlike IAT, OAT doesn’t have phosphate and silicate to serve as its corrosion inhibitor. Different manufacturers use other chemicals that serve as the engine’s protection against rust and corrosion. It is also known as the Long Life Coolant or Extended Life Coolant because it lasts longer than the IAT. However, it is not completely compatible with older vehicles because older vehicles use brass and other types of metal but the OAT is specifically made to care for aluminum—the main component of car engines nowadays. OAT coolants should be replaced every 150,000 miles or every five years. Different manufacturers’ dye the OAT in different colors but the typical OAT is often found is shades of orange.
- Hybrid Organic Acid Technology or HOAT
As its name suggests, the HOAT is a hybrid or crossover between the IAT and the OAT. It uses phosphate and silicate as corrosion inhibitors but also uses other OAT additives like nitrites. It uses PG. It is practically compatible with almost any car because it has the components of both IAT and OAT engine coolants. It also works well with aluminum and brass and copper thus reducing the proneness to corrosion and rusting. It is also a long life coolant because it has a flushing age of 150,000 miles or every 5 years.
CHOOSING TIP: It has been said that when you are choosing an engine coolant, it is good to know where these coolants were or are being manufactured. American coolants work better with a gasoline powered engine. On the other hand, Japanese coolants work better with diesel run engines. Although this hasn’t been proven it also hasn’t been disproven by anybody.
Top 10 best engine coolants Reviews
Choosing the right one is really troublesome. You will notice that other brands would be having two or more types of coolants in the market. You just really have to scrutinize what is good to have and what purpose would you like your engine to serve more. We have narrowed down the list to the top 10 best engine coolants in the market. Take note that some brand names were repeated but they are actually different coolants.
Zerex ZXG051 G-05
Zerex is a fan favorite among vehicle owners. This coolant is using propylene glycol, making it less hazardous to the health. It also has a low silicate additive that is just enough to prevent corrosion and rusts inside the engine. This coolant doesn’t have any phosphate at all making it safe for aluminum engine parts. Instead of relying on too much silicate, Zerex reduced the amount of this chemical and lowered the pH level of the coolant formula in order to protect the vehicle from damaging chemical reactions.
This coolant is very versatile; it can manage light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles and use. It can also handle extreme temperatures from as high as the boiling point to as low as -34 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s compatible with most engines at a very affordable price.
Engine Ice TYDS008 High-Performance Coolant
One the best coolants in the market is the Engine Ice TYDS008, it’s a brand that lives up to its name. It’s a high-performance coolant given that the chemical make-up of the product consists of 0% phosphate, and absolutely non-toxic. It is a biodegradable coolant that’s most definitely safe for the environment. Its eco-friendly formula is able to transfer heat as high as 125 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as -26 degrees Fahrenheit. It helps your engine go through extreme highs and lows, and over bound duty.
The reason why Engine Ice is a top coolant is because it is certified and permitted by ASRA and CCS to be used as a coolant for car racing. It is very efficient in high horsepower vehicles because the coolant is infused with propylene glycol.
Prestone AF888 Dex-Cool Antifreeze
The label Prestone alone is enough to tell you that this is one of the best coolant brands in the market. Prestone is the most popular and one of the most loved coolant brands because it is the best coolant for engines that require Dex-Cool Antifreeze. With a few additives like a low silicate content, this brand works well enough to protect your radiator for the next five years and probably even more.
It has a high heat transfer allowing your vehicle to also have a high-quality performance. It works excellently with light duty vehicles but may also work well with heavy-duty cars and trucks. It has components that contain good quality engine care and even eco-friendly properties.
StarBrite Synthetic Premium Coolant and Antifreeze
StarBrite Synthetic Premium Coolant Antifreeze does a really good job in maintaining a smooth heat transfer because of its PCT chemical content that helps your engine stay cool much longer. It is a good coolant for high horsepower vehicles since it is more like full synthetic motor oil that flows quickly through the engine. Oil, compared to water, absorbs more heat and releases more heat making it a highly effective temperature regulator for your vehicle. This coolant is also highly recommended because it has the ability to seal tiny leaks, pinholes and cracks that develop over time. It’s a wonderful coolant to own especially for heavy duty vehicles.
Zerex 675130 Asian Vehicle Antifreeze
It’s just ideal to have everything you need in a jug. This is pre-mixed so you don’t have to worry if you’re getting the proportions of water and coolant right. You can just pour in the coolant when it’s time to flush your coolant reservoir. You are sure that this is silicate-free and borate-free with a regulated phosphate additive for your vehicle.
It works best with Asian vehicles because it follows the standard requirement of a silicate-free coolant. It also works best with your vehicles because it also guarantees you a minimum of 150,000 miles of free cruising without having to worry about your vehicle going haywire over heat. As its name suggests, it’s perfect for Asian cars.
Pentosin Coolant/Antifreeze SF
Worrying too much about putting in the exact same amount of water and coolant to your reservoir can be a stressful hassle but for Pentosin Pentofrost, you can mess up the measurements and still end up with a good product. It works well with older and newer vehicles because it is in the original ethylene glycol compound. You won’t have to worry much about getting your coolant perfect but rather just enough to get your vehicle nice and running again. It works with all vehicles, no matter how expensive your vehicle is, Pentosin doesn’t hurt the radiator and the engine, somehow it got to fix coolant flushing with Land Rovers, BMWs, and even GM trucks.
Audi Anticoolant Antifreeze Antigel Refrigerant
Even though it is an Audi authentic car coolant made for Audi brand vehicles, this is one works really well with the Volkswagen brand too. Made up of ethylene glycol, this chemical compound is just as great at keeping your vehicle safe from mineral deposits, corrosion and rusts. It is also not as volatile as normal EG compounds are making it easy to handle and easy to use.
You would only have to add distilled water at a 50/50 ratio that would work well best for your vehicle. This is really loved by car owners because it is aluminum compatible compared to other brands that are less likely to satisfy the corrosion-free component needed to keep all the metal parts of your radiator well-protected for the next few years.
BMW 82141467704 Grey Antifreeze Coolant
It may be exclusively made for BMWs but some vehicles are also compatible with this coolant. What’s great about this coolant is that it functions fully well with other vehicles. It’s made with ethylene glycol and has additives that are less corrosive to aluminum, brass and copper parts. It’s a loved product because it is a genuine BMW product that caters to the needs of the BMW engine—also among others—well. Even though it is a legitimate product it is not as expensive as you would it would. It’s affordable, it does the job well done and it’s definitely not something you’re going to buy for the next five more years.
Genuine Honda Part OL999 9011 Blue Type 2 Coolant
Made for all Honda and Acura car owners, why settle for less? If you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into by buying off the market coolants that might end up being incompatible with your radiator and your whole engine, then you better stick to the safe solution: buy a coolant produced by the same car manufacturer. In this case, it’s Honda. Nonetheless, even if it’s made specifically for Honda, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a good coolant.
This ethylene glycol compound helps in keeping the engine cool throughout and more effectively keeping it from freezing during the coldest of winters. That’s exactly what you get from Honda products which are always top-notch, reliable and efficient.
Toyota Genuine Fluid 00272 SLLC2 Long Life Coolant
You’ll never go wrong with coolants made by their own car manufacturers. Toyota has under its wings its antifreeze for Toyota vehicles. This bank does extremely well even when it serves only gasoline powered cars. It is also pre-mixed meaning, all you need to do is just chug down the jug into the coolant reservoir to make sure your vehicle’s cooling system I working well and good. Flushing your coolant is not as difficult anymore. At least, you are ensured that the chemical you have chosen is highly effective since the right mixture of water and coolant are just as equal.
Choosing the best engine coolant always boils down to what kind of car you have, what chemical compound would you like to have and mainly, how well does it help your engine cooling system. A happy cooled engine is a happy car owner cruising back on the road.