Are Coolant and Antifreeze the Same Thing?

If you own a vehicle, knowing the difference between coolant and antifreeze is a must. These terminologies are often used interchangeably but are different. While both play a vital role in your car's cooling system, they are two different things. Knowing the difference between the two things can make your trip to your local's auto parts store easier.


Coolant is a liquid that circulates through the engine to remove excess heat generated during combustion. It also lubricates the water pump and prevents rust and corrosion from forming inside the engine.


Antifreeze is a type of coolant that is specifically designed to protect the engine from extreme temperatures. It contains a mixture of water and ethylene glycol, which brings down the freezing point and raises the boiling point of the liquid. The chemical composition of antifreeze prevents the engine from overheating or freezing in extreme temperatures.

Here are some of the key differences between coolant and antifreeze:

  • Color

Coolant is usually green or yellow, while antifreeze is typically pink, green, or blue. However, it's essential to note that not all antifreeze is the same color. The color of antifreeze can vary depending on the manufacturer and the type of antifreeze.

  • Composition

Coolant is usually made up of a mixture of water, glycol, and other additives, while antifreeze is made up of a mix of water and ethylene glycol.

  • Protection

While coolant is designed to protect the engine from rust and corrosion, it doesn't provide any protection against extreme temperatures. Antifreeze, on the other hand, is specifically designed to protect the engine from freezing and overheating.

  • Usage

You should use a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water in your engine. Coolant will provide the best protection against rust and corrosion and sufficient cooling. Antifreeze should only be used in extreme temperatures or when the manufacturer recommends it.

It's essential to check your car's coolant and antifreeze levels regularly to make sure your vehicle's engine doesn't overheat. If you notice that your motor is overheating or the coolant level is low, bring your vehicle to a professional mechanic for an inspection.

While coolant and antifreeze serve different purposes, they are a key in keeping your engine at an optimal temperature. If your vehicle requires cooling system service or repair, please call or visit The Auto Doc soon.