What can I substitute for Dex Cool antifreeze? -

Can I mix colors?

There’s a bit of conflicting advice when it comes to mixing coolant colors. For example, Valvoline states never to mix them on one page but claims it’s OK on another. And as the video above shows, some antifreeze suppliers claim mixing their product with others causes no issues.

Ultimately, ItStillRuns explains, it’s not about the color, but the coolant itself. The problem with mixing green antifreeze and orange Dex-Cool is that they’re based on different chemistries, Autoblog explains. The former combines ethylene glycol with silicates, phosphates, and inorganic acids, Hemmings explains. The latter, though, contains propylene glycol and organic acids. When the two mix, they create a gel that gums up your cooling system, causing engine overheating and expensive damage.

But orange-and-green is the only coolant combination you need to stay clear of, CarBibles reports. Many automakers today use hybrid-inorganic-organic-acid antifreeze, which combines the properties of both chemistries. But the best coolant is the one the manufacturer lists in your car’s owner’s manual.

Watch for signs of oil or rust

The color of healthy engine coolant is green (for ethylene glycol) or orange (for Dexcool). A rusty color indicates that the rust inhibitor in the coolant has broken down and it can no longer control rust and scale buildup. The system must be cleaned/flushed and a fresh 50/50 mix of coolant installed to restore integrity. A milky color indicates the presence of oil in the system. This is not good; it usually means that a head gasket, intake manifold, or transmission oil cooler is leaking oil or transmission fluid into the engine coolant. This is a deadly mix that will kill an engine or transmission in short order. Address the probleFrim immediately!


What does Dex-cool smell like?

If you crack open a bottle of antifreeze and start pouring it into your car’s coolant reservoir, you’ll get a whiff of it and be surprised by how sweet it smells. Some people have compared the smell of antifreeze to maple syrup, while others have said that it smells more like a piece of fruit or even a piece of candy.

Is Dex-cool orange or green?

The main way to tell the difference between Dex-Cool and regular antifreeze is that Dex-Cool is typically orange, whereas antifreeze is usually green.

Can I mix green coolant with orange coolant?

This is one of those questions usually asked after the fact, and usually engine damage has already occurred. The green and orange coolants do not mix. When mixed together they form a gel-like substance that stops coolant flow, and consequently, the engine overheats. There are some coolants that claim compatibility with Dexcool, but I would rather err conservatively and add what the system is supposed to take rather than gamble. To guard against major engine failure, read on.

Fluid replacement and radiator flushing


Replacing your coolant is fairly straightforward, Advanced Auto Parts reports. First, open the radiator and coolant reservoir caps. Then, find the radiator’s drain (aka ‘petcock’), and let the fluid drain. If you’re planning on flushing the radiator, add the flush chemical, close all the caps, and run the engine with the heater on high until it reaches operating temperature.

After letting it cool, drain the flush compound, replace it with water, and run the same steps again. Drain the water, and replace it with the recommended coolant. There’s going to be some air bubbles that need to be removed so your engine won’t overheat. So, run the engine with the new coolant with the radiator cap off to let them escape. Afterward, add enough fluid to reach the ‘Full’ line on the reservoir.

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