You might hear it called antifreeze. Maybe you refer to it as coolant. Whatever your term is, your engine needs this, and knowing the best brands is critical to making sure your ride operates in top condition.
Having the right antifreeze is just one of the many things that go into good car ownership. If it’s time for you to change out your antifreeze, we have some great products to show off. There will be no confusion when it’s time for you to buy one.
So, check out what we found and shop with confidence.
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What Makes a Quality Engine Coolant
Here’s what a quality engine coolant will do for your car:
- The coolant will protect against freezing during periods of extreme cold.
- The coolant will aid in the extension of life of the rubber and plastic parts that are in your coolant system.
- The coolant will reduce corrosion and engine rust.
- The coolant will reduce electrolysis which contributes to the erosion of engine parts and can cause pricey repairs.
- The coolant will prevent the engine from reaching fatal temps during summer or periods of heat.
7 Best Coolant/Antifreeze Fluids in 2023
We chose these products because they are by brands we know and love. We also chose them because they function well in all temps.
1. Zerex Engine Coolant, Antifreeze, 1 Gallon
This is a coolant that is great for Japanese and Korean cars. Hyundai, Subaru, Nissan, Honda, and Acura are all great as well as Toyota, Lexus, and Scion. The coolant is demineralized, which is fantastic because the minerals found in some coolants can leave behind harmful deposits.
Zerex is a great brand, and even if you have your eye on the Zerex Red or Blue, they are mostly the same. They are P-HOAT (Phosphorus Hybrid Organic Technology) coolants, are based on ethylene glycol, and feature a really long lifespan thanks to this blend.
It is our top pick for those of you that have a car from Asia. After all, Asian cars do not respond well to borate or silicate in their coolant systems but do need a little bit of phosphate.
Most brands you find will not feature this additive. But this mix does have it, and that’s the same level of quality you would find in a dealer authorized product. Many users found this to be the same level of quality they expected from an OEM product but for a much more reasonable cost.
Those of you that own a Toyota should really look into this – it is a replacement for the “Toyota Red” antifreeze. Those of you that own a Toyota may know that they need this particular coolant so that their cooling systems don’t rust up. This fits the bill and may save you a few greenbacks in the process.
This is a super way to flush the engine without having to pay high dealership fees.
- Provides protection against freeze-ups/boilovers
- Contains a Bitter Agent
- Good for 5 years/150,000 miles
- Silicate Free
- Mixed with demineralized water-just use it.
2. Peak Long-Life Antifreeze
Once again, we have a great coolant that is perfect for those of you with cars from Asia, as these lack silicate, borate, and nitrite as well as amine. This is an antifreeze featuring a 50/50 mix (meaning it contains 50% antifreeze and 50% water).
Some users I encountered during the research of this product had a wide variety of vehicles they were using this coolant in. For instance a 1998 Toyota Camry, a 2003 Subaru Outback, and a 2013 Toyota Sienna. There was also another user who was going to use it in a 2007 Honda Fit.
You may notice that these coolants feature differing colors. Neon green, red, and others are some that you may see as you shop. Rest assured that when it comes to the Peak brand, this is a matter of marketing and not performance.
I was also very happy to find that this is a glycol type coolant. For my one friend, who drives an old 1998 Ford Explorer for his winter car, found it to be perfect. 1990s era Fords and other cars indicate that glycol type coolant is needed-so this should be perfect if you happen to operate one of those vehicles. Be sure that you double-check the manual, however.
One thing I would like you to know, especially if you drive a European car, is that this is not G12 compliant. It can be used in any application utilizing G12 for flush and fill or top off. It is also free of phosphates, which is needed for European cars.
- Safe for all makes and models (Check the manual to be sure)
- Comes in a pack of 3 or 6
- Contains bittering agent
- A Truck with a 20-gallon DEF tank can run for 6000 miles in between fill-ups
- Can reduce NOx emissions
3. Recochem OEM Pink Premium Antifreeze Concentrate
This OEM extended life PINK antifreeze and coolant goes above and beyond performance requirements, as referenced in ASTM D3306 and JIS K2232. You can use this safely in 2004 and newer Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles needing a P-HOAT coolant. This special mix provides you the protection you need against rust, pitting, and corrosion that cavitation causes.
This product is formulated to perform like a champ. It features superior performance that will go on working far beyond what you would buy somewhere else. If you add this to your engine as an initial fill and keep it maintained as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, you can enjoy 5 years or 150,000 miles of protection.
Indeed, we do find that this one seems to offer the greatest peace of mind for those of us looking for a top-quality product that will fit our Asian model car. Many of my friends and family drive Toyotas thanks to their reliability, and I have directed them to this coolant as an option.
I want to stress right away that if you do not drive a Toyota, Lexus or Scion, you should go elsewhere when shopping for coolant. This one is only formulated for those particular vehicles.
You should also understand that this is the concentrate: you will need to mix this with some distilled water in order for it to work inside your car. It’s great for owners that do not need a 50/50 mix. For instance, in Phoenix, AZ where cold weather is not a problem, a friend of mine uses only a 33% mix in his Camry.
- Can be bought as concentrate or mix
- Great for automotive and light-duty motor vehicles that need a P-HOAT coolant
- Colored Pink
- Great for Asian cars like Lexus, Toyota, and Scion
- Glycol based
4. Engine Ice High Performance Coolant
This Engine Ice Coolant is for all of your performance-driven drivers out there. If your car is one that you take to the track for races with friends or competition, this is going to be the one for you. It is great for the environment in that it is biodegradable but also is engineered to reduce the temp of your engine during periods of high stress, such as during racing.
I also recommend this if you are an owner of all kinds of motorized “toys.” Somebody I know that owns a farm in Colorado where things can get pretty chilly finds this to be useful for the ATVs they ride around the farm as well as for the truck he drives.
Motorcycle users will also find that this works for them, too. It keeps engines’ boil over temps at 265 degrees F or less. Freeze up protection is offered up to -26 degrees F.
Another great thing I really liked about this is that it meets AS4985 standards, which are the primary specs associated with premium ethylene glycol coolants. It will not harm gaskets or seals. This is a premixed coolant, and you do not have to worry about diluting it with water.
It seems it can be used in any vehicle. In my research, I did not see any vehicle restrictions. Thanks to its eco-friendly nature, this may be suitable for the job site, too. Be sure to check with your vehicle manufacturer to be certain about its use in your car.
- CCS and ASRA road racing recognize this coolant as legal
- Operates well in 10 degrees F to -20 degrees F
- Eco-Friendly: biodegradable, free of phosphates and non-toxic
- Makes use of propylene glycol which is great for high load and high-stress operations
- Comes in singles or up to 6 packs
5. Evans Cooling Systems High-Performance Waterless Coolant
This is one that I just had to show an old classmate of mine who owns a show car-a 1973 Corvette that he loves to take out for fun during the nice weather. This is one for all of you out there that own a vintage or classic vehicle and realize it’s time to get some new coolant in there.
Even if you operate a light-duty diesel, CNG or LP vehicle, this coolant can help you out. However, you must understand that this coolant is NOT water-based. Therefore, there is a conversion process that must take place.
You must be sure that you flush all the water-based coolant and water completely before you begin using this high performing coolant. I highly encourage you to have a mechanic help you unless you are confident in your ability to do this.
The high boiling point on this coolant is a force to be reckoned with. It is much higher than some others we have examined today. This high boiling point gets rid of the vapor barrier that is behind hot spots and pre-ignition inside water-based coolant using engines. This will make sure that coolant stays liquid and is always in contact with the engine mechanisms.
In short, this is an excellent coolant for nearly every car-users with varying cars such as a 2009 Jeep Rubicon all the way to a 1999 BMW 540i all found this to be a fine coolant. Check over your manual and see if this is right for you.
- Great for modern, vintage and classic cars
- Uses no water which eliminates corrosion and cavitation
- Boiling Point is 375 degrees F – you need not worry about boilover or after boil
- Eliminates engine knock that is caused by overheating, therefore improving the combustion efficiency
- Great for Diesel engines
6. MOPAR 10 Year-150,000 Mile Coolant
The Mopar name has long been recognized as one of quality and performance for auto enthusiasts everywhere. This is recommended for some vehicles in particular and is the OEM coolant for those of you with the 3.6 Liter Pentastar Engine, which is a trademark of the Dodge Challenger sports car.
It was introduced in 2011 and placed inside that model year’s Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep cars/vehicles. This coolant is specially crafted to comply with engines that require OAT coolant. Therefore, you should avoid using universal or HOAT coolants in your Pentastar. Head gaskets could be damaged as a result.
Some users did report that Amazon indicated this coolant would not be appropriate for their vehicle. For instance, one user noted that the coolant worked well in their 2014 Jeep Cherokee, noting that MS12106 10/150 was the correct coolant even though the Amazon vehicle matching system noted otherwise. Therefore, we just want to stress the importance of checking your vehicle’s manual or speaking with a mechanic before you buy.
Provided this fits your vehicle, it is a great way to save money and get exactly what you need for your unique Chrysler engine. Users report their vehicles running well and staying cool in hot temps and running well in the colder temps. This one is purple in color.
- Contains bittering agent
- Pre-mixed and ready to use
- Perfect reviews from over 100 users
- Can last for 10 years-the longest we have seen today
7. Ravenol J4D2000 OTC C12plus Coolant
I found this Ravenol Coolant to be for all my drivers of luxury cars out there: during research I discovered this works in Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo vehicles. Of course, you should check with your mechanic as well as your manual first.
Even non-luxury brands like Mitsubishi, Ford, and Toyota can make use of this formula. This provides supreme protection no matter what climate you reside in: rust and frost protection are standard with every bottle of this particular coolant. You do have to mix this with water prior to adding to your vehicle: use clean distilled water and follow the mixing chart and then add it in.
Contrary to another coolant we reviewed, this is a G12+ approved coolant. This is actually a coolant that is of German descent and thus complies with the needs of European cars.
Users report the quality is of higher standards than other G12 coolants that are found in the United States. Even users with older cars found it helpful. One user indicated the coolant was used in a 2004 New Beetle, and another indicated it was used in an Audi owned since 2001.
If your goal is to get a coolant that is of dealer quality, safe for your European car, and protects the engine from corrosion, this is your go-to. It is an absolute must if you live in a cool place that sees below-freezing temperatures.
- Boiling point is 175 degrees F undiluted
- Superior in cold temps-protects up to -37 degrees C with a 50/50 mix
- Works well in VW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi vehicles
- Contains bittering agent and ethylene glycol
- Free of silicate, phosphate, nitrite, and amines
How a Good Coolant Functions
Periodically, your car, truck, or other motorized vehicle is going to require some maintenance as a means of reducing the wear and tear that is wreaked on its components as a result of everyday use. This helps extend the life of the engine and keep things going smoothly.
Coolant is made up of alcohol as well as distilled water. The function of this chemical is to absorb the very high levels of heat that an engine generates while it runs and performs. Coolant comes to the engine block and its parts by way of a reservoir that is attached to the radiator.
While the engine runs, the antifreeze flows through the engine and makes its way back through the radiator. The radiator is, of course, at the front of the vehicle as a means of getting the most air intake. As the air outside flows around and through the radiator fins, the coolant circulating around inside is cooled.
Coolant is extremely important in the function of your car’s engine, as more than half of the energy generated by a fuel-consuming engine is turned into heat. You will find that some of it goes out through the exhaust pipe, whereas the bulk of it stays at the engine block. Serious damage can happen if it is left to its own devices. Coolant is the key here-it keeps everything safe.
As the coolant fluid makes its way through your engine block, it absorbs all that heat and controls the engine’s temp, keeping it under control. If coolant was not part of our engines, they would seize up and cost us a bundle in repairs.
- One gallon of Blued is used approximately...
- A truck with a 20 gallon DEF tank can go up...
- When used in an SCR system Blued will reduce...
- Product contains bittering agent - denatonium...
Coolant Is a Must in Cold Climates
Some of us live in places that become VERY cold during wintertime, and this is why the name “antifreeze” is what we call this stuff in some parts of the USA. Coolant also keeps your engine from freezing up.
We earlier asked a question in a previous article: “Can you use water instead of a coolant?” and we learned the answer is… No.
The reason being, if the temps fell below freezing and you were just using plain water as your coolant, the engine could experience some serious damage thanks to the fact that water expands when it freezes. The pressure that results from the expansion could leave cracks in the engine block, heads of cylinders, and other critical parts of your engine.
Safety Tips Regarding Car Coolants
As we talk about what makes an anti-freeze great, we wanted to pass along an important safety tip in relation to antifreeze/coolant.
Antifreeze tastes sweet. Sadly, dogs and children, as well as other living beings, ingest this poison and succumb to its effects each and every year. That being said, you should always keep children and pets away if you are going to be adding antifreeze to your vehicle at home.
If you do not use all the antifreeze, put it high up where a child or pet could not reach the container. Be sure that you throw away the container in a place where somebody cannot reach inside to get the jug back out.
You may think that because the antifreeze contains a bittering agent, this is helpful in deterring ingestion. This is not so. Poison.org reported that a change in taste did not stop ingestion from taking place. Thankfully, there were no deaths in the groups of children studied.
For dogs, the consumption of antifreeze is lethal due to the ethylene glycol. It tastes just 3 oz or less of antifreeze to harm a medium-size dog. It has negative effects on the liver, brain, and kidneys of dogs.
Keep your dog away or perform vehicle maintenance at a place with no kids or pets. If you do spill antifreeze, clean it up thoroughly and completely.
Coolant is a necessity when it comes to keeping your car or truck running smoothly. It is crucial to keep the levels topped off, so you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation when you need your car the most.
Thankfully, the ways of keeping the coolant topped off are easy to find and suitable for most cars out there. Even if you were to buy the coolant yourself and have a friend help you fill it, you can save a good amount of money compared to dealership services.
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