Why can’t you mix different antifreezes? Warnings from experts and car manufacturers

We monitor the level of antifreeze


Antifreeze circulates in the cooling system and protects the engine from overheating. After all, in case of overheating – in the best case scenario – oil consumption will increase. The parts responsible for this (valve seals and piston oil scraper rings) do not tolerate overheating. In the worst case scenario, there may be deformation of the cylinder head or scratches on the pistons and cylinders. This means that the engine requires expensive repairs.

The coolant evaporates over time. A drop in level below the minus mark on the expansion vessel is a signal for immediate action. But it is important to decide what can go in the car and what can be mixed with it.

It is, of course, best to add the same fluid that was filled by the automaker. But according to our research, most owners (especially those who bought a used car) don’t know what exactly is splashing into their cooling system.

The amount of coolant in the system is controlled by markings on the expansion tank. A level between the minimum and maximum is considered normal.

The amount of coolant in the system is controlled by markings on the expansion tank. A level between the minimum and maximum is considered normal.

Just add (a little) water


If topping up is urgent and the volume is small (100-200 ml), use distilled or filtered water. This is not dangerous. After all, the decrease of the antifreeze content in a closed cooling system mainly takes place through evaporation of water. The valve on the lid of the expansion vessel is activated when excess pressure is created and water vapor is released.

Other components of antifreeze – ethylene glycol and additives – evaporate much more slowly. It turns out that by adding a small amount of water we are simply replenishing what has evaporated from the antifreeze. Adding water will not increase, but only restore the freezing point of antifreeze.

Red? Yellow? Vegetable?

There is a myth that the color of the coolant is related to its chemical formula. In fact, the color of antifreeze is given by a dye, which can be anything – there are no standards.


Another thing is that car manufacturers often paint the recommended liquids in a certain color to “get used” the consumer to their products. But it is important to remember: the manufacturer does not have an exclusive right to use the dye. And if the VAZ indicates the color of the recommended coolants, then this is just an additional distinguishing feature of the brand of antifreeze recommended by it, but certainly not the main one.

After all, the marketing moves of the auto giants feed on a large number of small manufacturing companies of varying degrees of integrity, ready almost every week to repaint their products “under the company” – just to buy.

As a result, a gullible buyer, guided by color, instead of carboxylate antifreeze, gets a hybrid or lobrid antifreeze. And mixing different types of coolants is highly undesirable. Indeed, in the antifreeze formulation, the main role is played by the ratio (balance) of additives, which give the optimal (synergistic) anti-corrosion effect. The imbalance of additives due to mixing deteriorates or completely negates the anti-corrosion properties of antifreeze.

Ask the manufacturer

The right decision is to contact the car manufacturer and ask for their opinion. Especially if you need to top up more than 30% of the total coolant volume. And in this case, it is better to replace the entire antifreeze than to mix several liquids.

Car manufacturers: replace antifreeze at dealers

VAZ

The instructions for use recommend adding the following liquids:

  • for Largus, XRAY vehicles and for Vesta with H4M engine: CoolStream NRC (concentrate, dilution required) or CoolStream NRR (liquid ready to fill) according to TU 2422-001-13331543-2016. These liquids are colored yellow-green.
  • for models Niva Travel and Niva Legend, Granta, Vesta with combustion engines VAZ-21129 and VAZ-21179: Sintec Antifreeze according to TU 2422-047-51140047-2007; Felixcarbox according to TU 20.59.43-068-36732629-2017. These liquids are colored red or pink.

In accordance with the “Vehicle Operation Manual”, it is recommended to contact a LADA dealer to top up or replace the coolant.

Porsche

Only antifreeze agents approved by Porsche may be used: Glisantin G40 (alternative according to G12++/VW TL 774G) or Glisantin G65 (alternative according to G12evo/VW TL 774LJ). These antifreezes can be mixed together. If in an emergency it was necessary to add ordinary water, then it is necessary to restore the ratio of water and antifreeze.

Renault

Each vehicle has its own MOT and Warranty card. At the bottom right are the parameters of the coolant. You just need to use it – for example Glaceol RX type D for Renault Arkana.

Nissan

In cold weather, you can only add antifreeze. Dilute the concentrate with water in a ratio of 50 to 50.

Volvo

Recommends only the original product purchased from the official dealer. If possible, it is better not to mix it with other liquids.

Hyundai

The coolant level control should be performed at an engine temperature of approximately 20°C. Much depends on the model and type of cooling system, as well as the reason for the drop in level:

  • A variant of the system with a pressure expansion vessel – only leaks (minor) during operation can occur, add ready-to-use (not concentrate) antifreeze, recommended by the manufacturer;
  • A version of the system with a non-pressurized expansion vessel – leaks (small) during operation, add ready-to-use antifreeze (no concentrate);
  • System variant with unpressurized expansion vessel, a slight drop in level with prolonged use (due to evaporation) – top up with distilled water.

The manufacturer does not allow mixing of antifreeze of different brands and recommends using only original products (listed in the user manual).

Subaru

Only genuine Subaru Super Coolant antifreeze. It is available at the dealer in both finished and concentrated form.

Mitsubishi

The most correct decision is to deliver the car on a tow truck to the nearest official dealer. As a rule, significant amounts of coolant are not lost, so it is worth eliminating the factor of failures in the cooling system. If the coolant level is slightly lower than expected, it is also worth contacting an authorized dealer to check the freezing temperature and top up with the required fluid (coolant or distilled water).

Mitsubishi Motors Genuine Super Long Life Coolant or high performance ethylene glycol based coolant is recommended for filling Mitsubishi vehicles.

Audi

Priority – antifreeze G12 Evo.

Expert Commentary

Why can't you mix different antifreezes?  Warnings from experts and car manufacturersRoman Timashov, Service Director of AVTODOM Altufievo

Roman Timashov, Service Director of AVTODOM Altufievo

Be careful!

It is only necessary to add coolant when the engine is cold, otherwise the car owner runs the risk of getting burned. In addition, during the cold season, it is not recommended to use water to normalize the coolant level. Antifreeze diluted with water evaporates faster, causing faster engine wear on long journeys in sub-zero temperatures.

It is important to remember: the coolant level and its timely replenishment play a special role in the safe operation of the car.

Source: Z R

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