Engine coolant verus water? (Perfect answer)

There is a big difference between using proper coolant and water. While water does help to keep your engine cool, it does not work nearly as well as coolant does. First of all, water boils faster and at a lower temperature than coolant. In time, the water in the system would evaporate entirely.

  • Water instead of coolant Some self-proclaimed experts say there’s no need for engine coolant because water actually cools better than engine coolant. It’s true that water transfers heat better than a 50:50 mix of water and coolant.

Is it better to use coolant or water?

Ultimately, water naturally cools better than almost any product people can manufacture. However, with only water in your radiator, low temperatures may cause your engine to freeze or crack. By mixing water with antifreeze, you eliminate this problem while providing your vehicle with the necessary coolant.

Is engine coolant the same as water?

Engine coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water, with a common ratio of 50:50. This is because antifreeze works best as a diluted liquid (making it coolant) when combatting temperatures of intense heat.

Is it OK to use water instead of coolant?

Yes, you could use water as a coolant in an emergency. However, doing so is not recommended since water won’t work well beyond its freezing and boiling points. This could also cause expensive engine damage.

Can I mix water and coolant?

No! You should never mix coolant fluid with regular tap water. Tap water contains minerals that can form deposits inside the radiator and cooling system passages of your engine. This and the proper mixture of coolant and distilled water will help your car and its cooling system run without breaking for a long time.

What happens if I add water to 50/50 coolant?

It raises the boiling point of water, as it mixes with it perfectly and it prevents rust. In Florida, you can run straight water in the radiator, but will rust out your freeze plugs. You can run straight antifreeze, but it does not absorb heat as well as water, so you may overheat.

Can I top off coolant with distilled water?

Yes, you can top it off with distilled water, but you are also diluting the antifreeze a little bit, reducing its anti-freezing properties. The water is doing the work. Actually, adding antifreeze reduces the water’s ability to transfer heat, technically.

Antifreeze vs. Water: Which Is Better for Your Car?

A radiator may be found under the hood of nearly every automobile on the road today. An appropriate amount of coolant is required for the radiator to work correctly. While many drivers in Patchogue, New York believe that water is sufficient, it is crucial to understand the difference between putting antifreeze and water in your automobile radiator.

What is coolant?

When looking for the best coolant for automobiles, it’s important to learn what to look for in order to determine which product is the greatest fit for your particular vehicle. When you’re driving about, the engine generates a great deal of heat. The coolant in your radiator is responsible for transferring all of that heat to the air outside of your car. Your radiator will not operate properly if you do not have enough coolant, and your vehicle will overheat.

Does water get the job done?

In dire instances, water can be used as a coolant for your vehicle’s radiator to keep it running smoothly. Water, on the other hand, does not function nearly as well as antifreeze or other coolant compounds when used as a permanent substitute. For those who find themselves stranded on the side of the road because their vehicle has overheated, a few gallons of water in the radiator will help cool things down until you can drive your vehicle to the nearest repair or auto parts store to get your coolant replaced.

The use of water alone in your automobile radiator does not compare well with the use of antifreeze.

However, this does not negate the fact that water is still an important component of your radiator’s operation and maintenance.

Combining coolant and water

For automobile radiators, the majority of experts recommend a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water. Minerals found in undistilled water can accumulate in your engine and other elements of your vehicle. Antifreeze is made up of the anti-corrosion ingredients that are required to keep the parts of your automobile or truck in good condition. In addition, it has a greater boiling point than ordinary water. In contrast, combining one part antifreeze with one part distilled water will offer your radiator with the protection it needs to function properly.

Low temperatures, on the other hand, may cause your engine to freeze or break if you just have water in your radiator.

Topping off your coolant

If you’re adding antifreeze to your radiator, make sure it’s blended in evenly with the distilled water before proceeding. When you have finished draining the present coolant, make sure to properly dispose of it in line with local laws and regulations. Remember to keep coolant out of reach of children and animals at all times. Because this liquid has a pleasant flavor, it is likely that children and animals will cheerfully consume it if given the opportunity. The ethylene glycol in the coolant, on the other hand, is exceedingly dangerous.

Our mechanics can advise you on your alternatives and even execute the repair for you if you like. Get in contact with us right away to schedule an appointment. Listed under: Automobile Maintenance Admin is the author of this blog article.

Coolant VS Water – The Pros and Cons

It is common for people to believe that putting pure distilled water in their automobile’s radiator would cure their problem when their car is overheating. With the rising cost of petrol and the ever-increasing costs of life, the price of radiator coolant may easily become an additional expense on top of all your other automobile bills. When looking for inexpensive solutions, it is natural for water to emerge as a significantly more appealing option than other options. Don’t take the easy way out; automobile radiator coolant is necessary for a variety of reasons, as follows.

  1. This mistake arises because many people do not understand how a radiator operates in an engine or why coolant and antifreeze are necessary.
  2. The cooling system in your automobile is comprised of the radiator, which normally includes a pressurized cap (which should never be opened when the radiator or engine is hot!
  3. The radiator is usually located in the engine compartment.
  4. Coolant is a chemically synthesized substance that is pre-mixed with water to make it more efficient.
  5. The following is a basic definition of antifreeze: Antifreeze for automobile radiators is a chemical compound that is added to coolant in order to prevent your vehicle’s radiator fluid from freezing up in icy conditions.
  6. People are always inquiring about the distinction between radiator fluid and coolant, among other things.
  7. Your radiator fluid or coolant may include antifreeze or may not contain antifreeze.
  8. Because the radiator’s primary function is to manage the temperature of the engine while it is operating, it is absolutely necessary in a car engine.

As a result, whether the automobile is driven at high speeds or for extended periods of time, it will help to cool your engine without reaching boiling point, and when the outside temperature is below freezing, it will remain liquid and continue to control the temperature of your engine through circulation.

  • Although distilled water is safer, it can still rust and corrode from the source water, whether it is mineral or tap water.
  • One of the most important components of antifreeze is ethylene glycol, which does not corrode metals and, in fact, acts as a protective layer on the metal elements of the engine and radiator, therefore increasing their service life.
  • As a result, separate coolants and antifreeze are required for certain vehicle types.
  • It is critical to have the right ratio of water to coolant in the mixture since this has an impact on the performance of both the coolant and the engine as a whole.
  • Engine damage happens rather frequently as a result of improper maintenance of the cooling system and the use of merely water as a coolant instead of a coolant.
  • It is critical to maintain the condition of your car’s radiator and cooling system, especially in hot areas like South Africa.
  • Regularly inspecting the overflow bottle will ensure that your coolant is in good working order.

If your coolant needs to be changed (for example, if it is thick and sludgy or discolored), or if you just need to top it off, call your local auto service center for assistance.

Despite the fact that it is feasible to do a coolant top up on your own, you must first ensure that you have the necessary information and that you are using the proper product for your specific type of car.

Once you have the correct product, you may top off your radiator coolant.

Due to the fact that the radiatorcoolant and antifreezecolor is vibrant and the flavor is slightly sweet, this is the case.

As a result of the toxicity of the antifreeze constituents, both coolant and antifreeze intoxication can be lethal.

Examine the underneath of your vehicle for pools of brightly colored coolant.

You may not be able to detect a leak since it is occurring inside the engine, which is more hazardous.

Consult with a professional as well to avoid causing unneeded and expensive damage to your vehicle and engine.

As previously said, the most apparent indicator of a problem with your cooling system is an overheating automobile.

In order to avoid more damage, ask for roadside assistance and have your vehicle inspected.

We hope that understanding the difference between using water and coolant in your automobile will save our readers from experiencing avoidable engine damage in the future!

Our experienced staff has years of combined knowledge, and we are always available to provide guidance.

Our organization is committed to providing our clients with the most expedient service possible, and we will only recommend that you replace or repair a vehicle item if doing so is absolutely required and might result in costly damage to your vehicle.

Water vs. Antifreeze: Which Is Safest for Your Car?

Have you ever had a heated internal discussion about whether to use water or antifreeze to cool your car’s cooling system? If you reside in a very harsh climate, the decision may have have been made for you by the weather conditions you are forced to endure. Because of the cold winters, antifreeze is required to prevent your engine from being iced up within. However, during the summer months especially in warmer climes, things aren’t always that straightforward.

Different Boiling Points

Keeping the operating temperature of your car’s cooling system stable so that it stays within the most efficient range for generating power and utilizing fuel is the responsibility of the water in your cooling system. When pure, distilled water is used, the boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit, however this is only true if the water is devoid of impurities and minerals, which can significantly reduce the boiling point. The majority of antifreezes are based on ethylene glycol, a kind of alcohol with a boiling point of 387 degrees Fahrenheit that is used to prevent freezing.

Corrosion Is an Issue

When comparing water with antifreeze, corrosion is a problem that must be considered. Do you remember those mineral deposits we talked about earlier? If you put tap water in your car’s radiator, the deposit buildup can have a detrimental effect on the vehicle’s performance over time. The use of mineral-free distilled water is a safer bet, but you’ll still have to deal with the problem of rust and corrosion growing on the metal cooling system’s components. Due to the fact that ethylene glycol does not corrode most metals, antifreeze is a good solution for this problem, as it provides a protective layer that will extend the life of your engine even in extremely hot conditions.

Mix It Up

In the case of a choice between water and antifreeze for your vehicle’s cooling system, what is the best solution? Experiment with both. In modern cars, the most often utilized coolant is a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water (antifreeze/water). In addition to water’s inherent cooling powers, the high boiling point of antifreeze and its anti-corrosion chemicals make it an excellent complement to them (as long as its distilled water). In addition, you won’t have to worry about a sudden cold snap freezing up your engine, which is a huge convenience.

By arming yourself with the necessary knowledge, you can make an informed decision and purchase the appropriate goods for your vehicle.

A trained specialist at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS shop can provide further information on the differences between antifreeze and water. The image is courtesy of Morguefile.

Benjamin HuntingView All

I was introduced to Studebakers at an early age, and I spent my formative years surrounded by them at automobile exhibitions around Quebec and the northern United States. About 10 years of racing, rebuilding, and obsessing over vehicles has led me to pursue a full-time career in science writing while also working in automotive journalism. As an editor, I presently contribute to various online and print automotive journals, and I also write and consult for companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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Coolant vs. Water: Which is cool for your radiator?

The items and services that we write about are chosen by our editors. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we may receive a commission. Have you ever been faced with the difficulty of obtaining the greatest remedy for your overheated engines at the most reasonable price possible? Is it possible for you to answer the following question: “Can I put water in my radiator?” For those who answered yes, here is a word of caution: DON’T DO IT!

After that, you’re probably asking what the most effective remedy to this situation is.

Keep reading to find out more!

  • Coolant is critical to the operation of your radiator. The type of antifreeze that can be used in your automobile is as follows: How frequently should coolant be added to a radiator on your own

Why should it be coolant?

Over the years, people have discovered that utilizing only water to cool automobile engines is not the most effective method. Understandable if you have been trapped and unable to obtain water to cool down your automobile engine on a hot summer day, as I have. Cars, it should be noted, are built of metal. Corrosion, on the other hand, can develop when the radiator overheats. Corrosion is a chemical process that includes the metals in an automobile reverting to their original condition via exposure to water.

  1. If you simply use water to cool your engine, it is possible that mineral particles will begin to accumulate in your engine.
  2. You will also learn why it is important to use the proper ingredients to maintain your engine running at the proper temperature.
  3. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius) in most cases.
  4. When you add an equivalent quantity of antifreeze – a liquid made composed of ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, or propylene glycol – to the water, it helps to raise the boiling point of the water from 212° Fahrenheit to 223° Fahrenheit (106° Celsius).
  5. It has a tendency to bring the water in your radiator to a boil (if you use water).
  6. When this occurs, your automobile begins to malfunction, and if left uncontrolled, it has the potential to completely damage the vehicle.
  7. This implies that the coolant will always be liquid, making it possible to achieve effective cooling.
  8. In that circumstance, the water in the radiator is at risk of becoming frozen, as previously stated.
  9. Damages such as a cracked head gasket or even a blown head gasket are possible.
  10. Let’s take a look at what coolant might be beneficial to your radiator: At 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), water freezes.

By using antifreeze, you can eliminate the possibility that your engine’s cooling system may be broken by frozen water. It also serves to lubricate the system, and there is no way for it to freeze at that point.

The importance of coolant to the radiator

The use of antifreeze in your car’s radiator has a number of advantages. When it comes to keeping your engine cool, both the exhaust and your cooling system work together. When your engine produces heat, the coolant absorbs that heat and protects the fluid that is going through the unit from becoming scalded. Throughout warmer weather or during the summer, the incidence of boiling engine water is more commonplace. As a result, with the coolant in place, the likelihood of such an incident is greatly minimized.

  1. It is caused by an acidic interaction between oxygen and metal surfaces that causes corrosion and engine rust to form.
  2. In order to combat this, producers of coolants include corrosion inhibitors in their formulations.
  3. Contribute to the extension of the life of vehicle components When it comes to car cooling systems, one of the most important duties is to assist extend the life of rubber and plastic components.
  4. As a result, you can be certain that the coolant will preserve the rubber and plastic components of your car in good condition for an extended period of time.
  5. It contributes to the cooling of the engine by lowering the temperature of the fluid.
  6. Additionally, it has the potential to cause engine harm.
  7. Freeze protection is available.
  8. When the temperature drops too low, the coolant keeps the fluid in the cooling systems from freezing up and becoming ineffective.

Water vs. Antifreeze: What is the best ratio for your engine?

It is typical to observe people using water as a technique of cooling themselves down. But, without a doubt, you are now fully aware of the potentially fatal repercussions of having water in your radiator. If you’re using coolant, what is the proper ratio to use in order to obtain the desired results? In typical climatic circumstances, we recommend that you maintain a 50:50 weight distribution. It is due to the fact that the environment is not harsh enough to induce ice glaciers to grow in the cooling system or, even worse, to corrode it.

It is necessary to use a larger dose of antifreeze if the situation is bad enough that the temperatures appear to be below 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius).

As a result, a 40:60 ratio is the optimal one. It is usually recommended to use distilled water, according to professionals. In typical weather circumstances, experts recommend mixing water and antifreeze in a 50:50 ratio, according to the experts.

Precautions for use

The majority of antifreeze formulations contain ethylene glycol, which is extremely harmful to both humans and animals. Antifreeze, used as a solution, is toxic to both people and animals when consumed in large quantities. Ethylene glycol is a component of antifreeze that is absolutely necessary. This substance is well-known to be extremely hazardous, and it has been shown to damage the neurological system and kidneys in the body. The most unpleasant aspect of it all is that ethylene glycol has a sweet flavor to it.

Animals are subject to the same restrictions.

In addition, they have nausea and vomiting, as well as seizure episodes.

If someone ingests antifreeze, they should seek medical attention right once, according to the CDC.

How to check and add coolant to the radiator

Before you may add coolant to your radiator, you do not need the assistance of a qualified specialist. You may complete the task yourself. You may add coolant to your radiator by following a few simple procedures.


  • If you want to add cooling fluid to your radiator, you’ll need the following supplies: antifreeze, deionized water, a funnel, rubber gloves, a bucket, and a cloth. Make sure your engine is running cool. Because of this, we usually recommend that you perform it first thing in the morning before your car has had a chance to undertake any sort of activity. If your automobile has been in use previously, you may check the temperature by putting your hand on the dashboard. If it’s still hot, you can leave it for 30 minutes to cool down
  • Otherwise, remove it immediately. Open the hood of your car once it has cooled down to uncover the radiator chamber.

Steps to follow

The radiator cap is a pressurized cap, as the name implies. It is generally oval in shape and simple to identify. When opening the cap, make sure the radiator is entirely cool before proceeding. “Never open while hot,” says the warning notice on the radiator cap.

  • Take a look inside your radiator to see how much coolant is still left.

Follow the hose that comes out of the top of the radiator cap and runs to the reservoir from the top of the radiator cap. The coolant reservoir is often made of transparent plastic. It is possible to visually inspect the vehicle’s body in order to determine the radiator fluid level by seeing the exterior full and low signs. If it is low, you will need to replenish it. The coolant reservoir is normally transparent, with a MIN and MAX line drawn on the side of the container. It is necessary to combine antifreeze and distilled water.

  1. Pour the funnel into the radiator tank while it is still empty to avoid spillage.
  2. After that, add the antifreeze to completely fill the tank.
  3. In order to prevent spills when topping off coolant, use a funnel.
  4. As a result, we recommend that you put the coolant to the container rather than straight to the radiator.
  5. Fill the reservoir with coolant until the MAX line is reached.
  6. Note: If you have a reservoir, you should pour the solution into it.

Some older automobiles do not have a reservoir, therefore you must pour the fluid straight into the radiator from the radiator cap. Tip: You should re-read your car’s owner’s handbook to see how much coolant is required in your vehicle.

After you’ve completed your preparations, start the engine to put your vehicle through its paces. In addition, look for any leaks. It is not a good thing when fluids are lost as a result of leakage. If you notice any leaks, you should call your mechanic as soon as you can. If the coolant in your vehicle’s system dries up rapidly, there may be a leak somewhere. Start the engine to put your automobile through its paces after adding coolant.

Types of antifreeze

Start the engine when you’ve finished everything to put your automobile through its paces. In addition, look for any leaks that may have occurred. Luggage leaks are a bad thing, and they should be avoided at all costs! Please notify your mechanic as soon as possible if you notice any leaks in your vehicle. The possibility of a leak in your vehicle’s cooling system should be considered. Immediately after adding coolant, start the engine to check your vehicle.

Inorganic Acid Technology (ITA)

It is produced with the use of inorganic acid technology. It also includes ethylene glycol, which is a solvent. ITA is used in automobiles that were largely built in the 1990s (GM, Ford, Chrysler). Because they include phosphates and silicates, they are not especially recommended for use in contemporary automobiles. These two compounds are responsible for rusting in automobiles. Antifreeze made with inorganic additive technologies is often blue or bright green in color.

Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)

It is a hybrid of the OTA and the ITA, and it is compatible with modern automobile models. As an ingredient, silicates are used in this form of antifreeze. With the use of these silicates, the radiator is protected from corrosion, and metal is not susceptible to rust. It has a five-year life duration or a driving range of 150,000 kilometers. If it is higher than that, it must be purged. Antifreeze made with hybrid organic acid technology is available in two colors: orange and yellow. Among the most popular users of this type of antifreeze are major European, German, and Asian automobile manufacturers (including Chrysler).

Universal antifreeze coolant

It is a form of coolant that does not require any dilution prior to application. There’s already a 50:50 mixture of antifreeze and demineralized water in there. The sole disadvantage is that the silica concentration is minimal, therefore it is unable to protect against corrosive elements emanating from the radiator. Even though certain antifreeze products are promoted to fit all automobiles, your vehicle has its own standards that must be adhered to. It is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer of your vehicle before purchasing any antifreeze.

How often should you check and top up coolant?

You are required to do a coolant inspection on a regular basis as a preventative maintenance precaution. It is dependent on how frequently you use your vehicle. The most secure approach is to check on and top up your account on a weekly schedule. We previously stated that you should constantly check for leaks on a consistent basis. If you have a radiator, how frequently should you change the coolant?

How often to change coolant?

It is not necessary to change your coolant at a set period. If, on the other hand, you haven’t replaced your engine coolant in a while, the possibilities of your automobile overheating are growing significantly. Once your vehicle has traveled 30,000 miles, we recommend that you check the coolant. It would be beneficial if you kept an eye out for symptoms of corrosion and leakage. Additionally, you may evaluate the acidity of your coolant using a test strip.

We recommend that you change the engine coolant every ten years or 100,000 miles on modern vehicles. Depending on the age of the vehicle, you can upgrade after three to five years or 30,000 to 50,000 kilometers, whichever comes first.


Q:Can I drive for a period of time after adding coolant? A:You can drive immediately as long as you have determined that there is no leak or anything peculiar in the vehicle. Before moving the car, you must, however, let the engine warm up once it has been cooled down. Q:Is it dangerous to drive a car with insufficient coolant? A:Yes, because it has the potential to cause engine harm. Your vehicle’s engine may begin to overheat, and critical components of the machine may get increasingly heated.

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Furthermore, corrosion will occur as a result of the vehicle’s low coolant levels.

It can survive for two years or for 30,000 miles if the coolant contains silicon dioxide (silica).

Is it possible to utilize water instead of coolant in an emergency situation?

Final thoughts

If you want to extend the life of your car, you shouldn’t just fill it with water and leave it running all day. As an alternative, choosing an antifreeze that will perform its function regardless of the weather would be beneficial. The consequences of ingesting antifreeze must have been clear to you by this point. More significantly, you have discovered how simple it is to put antifreeze to your vehicle yourself. Furthermore, you are aware of when it is necessary to change the coolant in your car.

More information may be found at:Coolant Boiling in Reservoir: The Causes and Solutions

Glycol Or Water – Which Is The Better Coolant? – Hot Rod Magazine

The specific heat capacity of ethylene glycol-based water solutions is lower than that of pure water; in a 50 percent solution, the specific heat capacity of ethylene glycol is reduced by at least 20% when compared to pure water at 36 degrees and by around 17% when heated to 200 degrees. Propylene glycol, another typical coolant, has a specific heat that is even lower than water. Assuming a coolant flow rate of 100 gpm (gallons per minute) and an energy loss through the coolant system of 189.5 hp, the water temperature would rise by 10 degrees, the ethylene glycol water mix would rise by 20 degrees, and the propylene glycol temperature would rise by 33.3 degrees, respectively.

  • Assuming a constant volume of circulating fluid and a certain amount of radiator capacity, running 100 percent water would be the most efficient coolant in terms of its ability to transmit heat with the least amount of temperature increase.
  • The vapor point of the three distinct coolants, on the other hand, differs slightly from one another.
  • Despite the fact that water has a lower vapor point than air, it nonetheless transports more heat per unit of volume.
  • In proportion to the increase in system pressure, the boiling point of water rises by 3 degrees Celsius.
  • By selecting a high-quality aluminum radiator that is rated for higher pressure than a brass or copper radiator, you may get away with running your system at a higher pressure.
  • A bigger tube also has a greater amount of wall surface area, which results in better heat transmission.

Overall, if the vehicle is not subjected to freezing temperatures, a large-tube aluminum radiator filled with pure water and employing at least a 20-psi cap is the most efficient heat-transfer configuration. When using clean water, make sure you use a corrosion inhibitor.

Here’s Why Car Radiator’s Need Coolant/Anti-Freeze Instead of Water

When it comes to automobile radiators, a surprising amount of individuals believe that using pure water instead of a water/coolant mixture is OK if you reside in a warm environment. When it comes down to it, automotive coolant is commonly referred to as “antifreeze,” and what’s the use of using antifreeze if your car will never be driven in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit? These are frequent misconceptions that can have serious consequences for the health of your engine if they are not corrected.

What Is Coolant/Antifreeze?

Regardless of whether you refer to it as coolant or antifreeze, this substance is actually just an additive that, when mixed with water, serves to extend the temperature range at which the water can freeze and eventually boil. Pure coolant does not possess any of these characteristics, but when it is combined with water in a 50/50 ratio, it transforms into a wonderful elixir for your engine’s cooling system. In this proportion, the mixture will not freeze until temperatures hit minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and it will not boil until temperatures reach around 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Ethylene glycol (EG) and/or propylene glycol (PG) are the principal components in coolant (PG).
  • In addition to the active substances, a variety of additives and inhibitors have been added to the formula.
  • The hues are vibrant and may include green, yellow, pink, orange, and red, to name a few.
  • Make careful to talk with a dealer or read the owner’s handbook of your vehicle if you are replacing the coolant yourself to ensure you are using the proper coolant.

The Importance of Coolant for Your Engine

One of the most significant advantages of using coolant in your car’s cooling system is that the combination retains its liquid state across such a large temperature range. The coolant will still be a liquid under cold weather conditions, allowing it to flow properly through the system, effectively cooling the engine and preventing damage. When the automobile is driven at peak load for extended periods of time in hot weather, the coolant will resist boiling and continue to circulate as a liquid, effectively cooling the engine and extending its service life.

Furthermore, because the metals used in cooling systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is critical to select a coolant that is appropriate for your vehicle.

Despite the fact that certain coolants are promoted as universal goods suited for all vehicles, it is always a good idea to double-check with the vehicle maker to be sure.


  • It is not enough to just pump pure coolant into your car’s radiator when the coolant levels are dangerously low. Coolant must be blended 50/50 with water in order to reach the required thermal range
  • Ethylene glycol is exceedingly toxic and must be avoided at all costs. Even worse, it has a pleasant sweetness to it. A youngster who is drawn to the liquid by its bright colors or an animal who ingests a puddle of coolant that has been spilt is in serious danger. Propylene glycol is far less harmful than ethylene glycol, therefore if you are unable to protect the product, make sure to use a coolant based on PG. Make sure to follow your local regulations for proper coolant disposal. Normally, this will entail transporting the garbage to the hazardous waste disposal facility in your county. Local automobile service companies may be able to take it off your hands for a modest price, depending on the circumstances. Should accidents occur, kitty litter should be used to soak up the spills before gently sweeping them up

Coolant/ Water Mixture, Not Just Water

The simple answer is that it is never a good idea to pour pure water into your radiator, no matter how cold or hot the weather is outside your window. A correct coolant mixture is critical to the effective operation of your engine’s cooling system as well as to the long life of your engine’s cooling system.

Running with straight water as coolant in the summer. Is it fine?

According to what I’ve heard (from an auto store worker), simply running water will result in overheating. That, however, is not the case. Overheating is not caused by a lack of water. Your coolant combination (in whatever proportions you choose) and radiator work together to remove the heat from your vehicle. You will not overheat if the weather is not hot. When it is hot, however, the coolant can only absorb heat up to the point when it reaches its boiling point. Here’s a high-level description of what goes on in a cooling system:

  1. In order to cool the coolant, it must come into touch with the hot engine’s metal. As a result, heat is transmitted from the metal of the engine to the liquid coolant, which heats it up. Heat-generating coolant is sent to the radiator, clearing the way for cooler coolant to flow into the engine. The hot coolant is placed in direct contact with the metal of the cold radiator, which causes it to cool down.

Liquid cooling necessitates the greatest possible contact between the metal and the liquid in order to achieve the most effective heat transfer. Whenever a coolant near its boiling point, problems begin to occur: steam bubbles begin to develop, which are particularly noticeable on hot metal surfaces. Each of those bubbles represents a less efficient site of heat transmission than the previous one. This results in less heat exiting the engine, which results in a hotter engine, which results in more locations where bubbles will develop, and so on until steam begins to pour out of the hood.

  1. The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Of course, for the purpose of efficiency, you should avoid using direct ethylene glycol in the radiator as well.
  3. Depending on the product, yes or no.
  4. Some, such as Water Wetter, will actually improve the cooling system’s ability to remove heat from the environment.
  5. It’s important to note that the absence of evidence does not always imply the absence of a phenomena.
  6. As is usually the case, it is your vehicle.
  7. I’m not going to bother flushing out my coolant merely to make the color shift from green to clear.
  8. NOTE: I am well aware that a pressured radiator system alters the physics of the simple “boiling point and no higher” explanation provided above.

For the sake of this debate, this is a plausible first-order estimate of the true value. I suggest that the water pump on the left can no longer be called a pump once it has been driven with pure water without the corrosion protection provided by coolant + water.

Can I Use Regular Water Instead of Engine Coolant in My Car?

You’ve run out of antifreeze and don’t have any other coolant on hand; are you wondering whether you may perhaps replace it with water instead? You are not alone in your feelings! In the event that they don’t have any other choices, a large number of people will attempt to use water in place of antifreeze. These people are much than likely to reside in warm climates where the temperature never drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and as a result, they believe that the water will not freeze. Despite the fact that it appears to be a tempting option, we do not advocate it for a variety of reasons.

  1. Let’s start by defining what coolant or antifreeze actually is.
  2. It also contains a number of chemicals that aid in the protection of the engine against corrosion.
  3. When your vehicle’s coolant levels are low, which is often the result of a leak somewhere in the cooling system, engine damage can develop fast as a result of overheating.
  4. This is why coolant is so crucial, as is keeping the system properly lubricated with the appropriate fluids.
  5. Furthermore, it does not absorb heat as well as other materials.
  6. However, we strongly advise that you bring your car into Dave’s Automotive as soon as possible after this has occurred so that we can determine why your coolant is low and re-supply you with the necessary fluids.

Ethylene glycol solution versus plain water in a car cooling system

Automobiles Posted by leamas on April 13, 2019Automobiles Many car owners do not perceive the necessity to use coolant solution in their vehicles since they just fill the tank with water and the vehicle continues to operate normally. This is due to the fact that they are not aware of the long-term harmful impact that it will have on the cooling system and engine of their car.


This might be water from a faucet, a well, or a borehole. Water containing minerals such as those found in this category can cause corrosion to the engine block, pipework, and radiator core of an automobile. Scale development in the cooling system is also a possibility due to the presence of these minerals. An example of where scale creation may be observed is in the home electric kettle, where you will notice a brown scale within the kettle after a period of time of usage. That is the concept of scale!

A car’s cooling system experiences a similar phenomena, which is called condensation.

When used as a coolant in an engine, water is not recommended due to the harm caused by the minerals in the water.

Scales and mineral accumulation in the radiator can cause channels to get clogged, especially because the radiator has tiny openings to begin with.

It can also cause the Thermostat to become stuck closed, stuck open, or partially closed, depending on the situation. As a result of overheating, this can have a slight to significant impact on the engine’s performance.

Demineralized water/distilled water used as coolant

This does not include any of the minerals that cause corrosion and scaling in water. The water that comes out of the air conditioning system is a low-cost supply. Using demineralized water over ordinary water has the advantage of preventing scale development and allowing the water to boil at the typical boiling point of pure water, rather than the lower boiling temperature of common water. In addition, using distilled or demineralized water is not recommended because it is ineffective for overheat protection because it begins to boil as soon as the temperature reaches about 100 degrees Celsius, particularly when the cooling system has lost pressure as a result of a faulty radiator cap or a leakage somewhere.

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Coolant solution used as coolant

Ethylene glycol constitutes the majority of the coolant solution’s composition. It has a higher boiling point than water, and a lower freezing point than water as well. High temperature protection, quick starting, and protection from freezing conditions are all made possible as a result of this. Besides corrosion inhibitors, coolant solution also serves as a lubricant for the thermostat and water pump, which helps to keep them working properly. As you can see, when choosing between regular water and demineralized water, cooling solution is the best option.

  • Coolant, on the other hand, has a higher boiling point, which is advantageous.
  • An industry standard coolant to demineralized water ratio is 50 percent coolant to 50 percent demineralized water.
  • Because of the relatively high ambient temperature, a medium that can transmit heat quickly is required to transport the heat.
  • Dilute the coolant concentration only with demineralized water, not with distilled water.
  • Aside from that, there is coolant concentrate that will need to be diluted, as well as pre-mixed coolant, which is a 50/50 blend of concentrated coolant and water that may be used immediately.
  • A word of caution: Never combine coolants of various sorts, compositions, or colors.
  • In order to obtain the maximum performance and endurance out of the cooling system, it is important to utilize high-quality coolants.

How a poorly maintained cooling system may damage your transmission can be seen in the video How a poorly maintained cooling system can damage your gearbox.

Is It Safe to Use Water Instead of Coolant?

First and foremost, let’s address the subject of whether or not you should use water instead of coolant in your vehicle’s coolant tank right away: no, you should never do so in your Lubbock, Texas vehicle’s coolant tank. However, you might be shocked at how widespread this behavior has become over time. Many people feel that utilizing distilled water instead of coolant is preferable for automobiles that are driven in hot weather. This is frequently due to the fact that they are under the impression that antifreeze is only required for vehicles that will be driven in cold weather conditions.

Coolant and its importance

Coolant is also referred to as antifreeze, however this is a misnomer because its role is not limited to preventing freezing in the first place. This is an additive that is combined 50/50 with water in order to extend the temperature range at which water will boil or freeze, respectively. Rather than freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the water/coolant mixture freezes at a minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and it boils at 223 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to the high pace at which heat is created during the normal combustion process, it is possible for severe temperatures to develop, causing the cylinder head to warp or the gasket head to explode.

  1. High temperatures inside the motor would quickly boil the water, causing it to evaporate, resulting in a lack of coolant and an easy overheating of the engine.
  2. For this reason, coolant is so important: it maintains a liquid state even under the most severe working conditions and temperatures, allowing your vehicle’s engine to operate smoothly for an extended period of time.
  3. Pure, distilled water should be used in this mixture rather than tap water, as the latter may have minerals that might build up inside the radiator and hinder correct flow of the coolant from circulating properly.
  4. Additionally, be certain that any coolant you use is appropriate for your specific car, since using the incorrect type of coolant can cause corrosion within the engine and damage to certain parts, such as hoses, belts, cylinder gaskets, the radiator, and the water pump, among others.

For additional information on the hazards of putting water in the cooling system in Lubbock, TX, get in touch with the experts at MM TireService Center as soon as possible. Cooling Systems are a subcategory of this category. Writer was the author of this article.

Can I Use Water Instead of Coolant in an Emergency?

The majority of us are aware that the engine coolant is contained within the automobile radiator. Coolant, which we sometimes refer to as “antifreeze,” serves different functions in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it keeps the liquid in the radiator from freezing and cracking, and in the summer, it helps to keep the engine’s temperature lower and prevent it from boiling over, among other things. It is sometimes recommended to use water instead of coolant in certain situations. Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as it appears!

  1. Still on my mind is the following question: may I use water instead of coolant in an emergency situation?
  2. First and foremost, we must have a comprehensive understanding of coolants.
  3. In order to control and balance the temperature of an automobile’s engine, it is necessary to utilize the right coolant.
  4. There are three main methods available today that allow us to produce three different forms of antifreeze: aqueous, aqueous-based, and aqueous-based.
  1. Inorganic acid technology (IAT), organic acid technology (OAT), and hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT) are all types of organic acid technology.

Essentially, you should know which one is the most appropriate for your vehicle. Prior to that, however, you should take into consideration the following recommendations:

  • Don’t change the kind of radiator fluid without checking your car’s owner’s handbook, and don’t mix different types of radiator fluid together. Not only will you not be improving their characteristics, but you will also most likely be degrading their performance. Because antifreeze is concentrated, you’ll need to combine it with distilled water to get the desired results. In most cases, a 50/50 mix is sufficient, but in really cold locations, you may need as much as 60 percent or more antifreeze.

View a list of heat exchangers for sale as well as the suppliers who provide them

Different Types of Coolant

IATs are the best option for older automobiles, those manufactured between the 1920s and before the mid-1990s. Usually, they are available in a vibrant shade of green. If you drive 30,000 miles or two years, you should have your IAT replaced, whichever comes first. In order to protect metal parts such as the radiator and the engine, it contains anti-corrosion qualities.

Category 2: Organic Acid Technology (Oat)

The color of OAT, which is the most common and popular variety found in most modern automobiles throughout the world, may range from orange to dark green. OAT is a container that contains corrosion inhibitors and chemicals that are used to prevent the formation of rust on the vehicle’s exterior. OAT has a significantly longer shelf life than IAT. It has to be replaced after 150,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first, according to the manufacturer. There are a variety of tips available to help you change your engine coolant.

Category 3: Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)

HOAT is frequently orange or yellow in color.

It was developed specifically for new automobiles and is a blend of the other two, with chemicals that provide stronger aluminum protection and rust prevention, in addition to the other two. The lifetime of HOATs is the same as that of OAT coolant, which is 150,000 miles or 5 years.

Be Careful When Using Antifreezes

Ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, and methanol are all components of antifreeze. The sound of them doesn’t make them sound like items you’d want to put into your body. Keep it away from youngsters, especially if you have young children. As previously said, antifreeze is available in a variety of vibrant colors, and a youngster may mistake it for Kool-Aid and consume it.

Coolant vs. Water

When deciding between coolant and water, there are three important considerations to keep in mind:

Boiling Point

Any vehicle’s operating temperature is higher than the boiling point of water. Simply said, if you don’t use antifreeze, your vehicle’s engine will almost certainly overheat, causing the liquid to evaporate and boil over into the engine compartment. This means that you will have to stop the car, let the motor to cool down, and constantly supply coolant to the radiator on a regular basis to avoid damage.

Freezing Point

In the case of those who live in colder climates, they will experience the polar opposite of what they read earlier. Radiator fluid will freeze if there is no antifreeze in your vehicle’s radiator. The result of this is that the radiator cracks open.

Corrosion problems

There are many different minerals in water, and over time, these minerals will combine to build deposits in the radiator, preventing it from functioning correctly. Additionally, because water is corrosive to metal, it can accelerate the production of rust. Both of these are detrimental to the engine’s performance. It is for this reason that antifreeze has chemicals that prevent rust development from occurring. Because distilled water has no residue, we use it in conjunction with antifreeze to prevent ice buildup.

With the correct antifreeze, radiators and engines will last far longer, making coolant, after engine oil, the second most important automobile fluid after transmission fluid.

Consider the following scenario: you find that your antifreeze level is dangerously low and you have nothing but water in your automobile.

There are advantages and disadvantages to making this option, just as there are to anything else.

Pros of Using Water Instead of Antifreeze

In an emergency situation, it is still preferable to put water in your radiator rather than driving without ANY form of liquid, and it is even preferable to driving with extremely low amounts of it in your system. In this case, the engine would overheat, resulting in significant damage to several automotive components and components. This, however, is not a long-term answer. It is critical that you replenish the water with suitable coolant as soon as possible after you reach a shop or repair business.

Remember that the optimal coolant mixture is a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and the appropriate sort of antifreeze, and there is no space for disagreement on this point. More information about Linquip may be found here.

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Cons of Using Water Instead of Antifreeze

It is not recommended to travel long distances with a radiator that is full of water. If the engine overheats, turn off the engine and allow it to cool down. Some modern automobiles are equipped with an engine shut-off technology that keeps the engine from overheating while driving. This technology would shut off the engine, and you would not be able to restart it until it had cooled down enough to be safe to do so. This brings us to the fundamental question: in an emergency, can I use water instead of coolant to cool my vehicle?

How to Put Water in a Car Radiator

Despite the fact that it is ideal to use as little water as possible, you may find yourself in a scenario where you need to put water in the radiator on an emergency basis. If you still have this query, it is as follows: in an emergency, may I use water instead of coolant? Your response is yes, but only under certain conditions. If you’re trapped in a situation where you don’t have any antifreeze, you’re probably wondering how you should put the water in. Here’s how you go about it: – This should never be done while the outdoor temperature is really low.

  1. You have a low level of engine coolant.
  2. A car radiator will not function properly if there is insufficient coolant in the system.
  3. – Checking to make sure that no steam is escaping from the engine is necessary.
  4. Do not do anything until the coolant has cooled down completely, and then remove the radiator pressure cap to prevent it from overheating.
  5. – Drive gently and steadily, but not for an excessive amount of time.


Now that you understand what coolant/antifreeze is, how many different types of coolants there are, why it is important to your car’s engine, and you have a clear answer to the question “can I use water instead of coolant in an emergency?” please share your experiences with using water instead of coolant and, if you have any questions about this topic, please sign up on Linquip and write to us in the comments.

Our subject matter specialists are available to answer any questions you may have regarding this subject.

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