We have heard people ask – “Can you mix green and orange antifreeze?”
Antifreeze comes in different colors but do keep in mind that the different hues determine the chemical makeup of your coolant.
This is why you need to be careful when mixing green and orange coolant – and know the facts before you consider doing so.
Today, we’ll cover the difference between these two colors of coolants and what you should know before using them. Let’s go right ahead.
Can You Mix Green And Orange Antifreeze?
First of all, what’s the difference between these two coolant colors?
Green and orange are engine coolants that prevent overheating and freezing issues. They also protect the cooling system, so it is free from corrosion. But older cars have more metallic materials in their composition while newer ones have more nylon and aluminum. This is why green is more suitable for older vehicles while orange is for newer models.
Both of these colors, however, have a mixture of water and coolant. But the difference is more than just the colors.
Green coolants are ideal for older vehicles such as those made before the year 2000. These vehicles have more copper and steel components in their cooling system, so the green coolant protects these from corrosion and rust as there is inorganic additive technology included to the mix.
This mixture contains silicones and phosphates, as well as ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. The latter prevents overheating issues to your vehicle while the former removes oil and grease, and protects from general wear.
As for orange coolants, these protect your car from corrosion and are designed specifically for newer vehicles. They also help prevent corrosion build-up without interfering with components made of non-metallic material.
Orange coolant has organic acid technologies that inhibit corrosion and rust buildup. But once your orange coolant runs low, oxygen tends to invade your cooling system and produce buildups that may damage and clog internal parts.
This is why you need to refill your orange antifreeze after 5 years – sometimes earlier. By doing so, you can prevent such issues that can harm your engine.
Mixing Green And Orange Coolant
This brings us to our next topic, which is about mixing green and orange coolant. The short answer to whether you can mix these two is no.
These coolants contain chemicals, which when combined, can lead to a reaction. When you mix green and orange antifreeze, this can turn these two into a substance resembling a gel. So, the last thing you want in your cooling system is gel since your engine requires fluid.
Without the right cooling, your engine will overheat and can be prone to failure. Engine failure can cost you about $750 for replacement cost – not including labor fee.
So, if you want to use a different type of antifreeze, you should flush the cooling system initially, and this costs about $100 or so.
Additional Facts About Coolants
Your engine relies on coolant to keep it performing well. The good news is that orange and green antifreeze can last for a long time.
For instance, green coolant can last for 36,000 miles or 3 years while orange lasts up to 150,000 miles or 5 years. Each time you get your oil changed, be sure to inspect the coolant, as well.
Once you observe that it has turned rust-colored, this means the coolant’s rust-inhibitor component no longer works. So, you should flush your cooling system and add in new coolant.
On the other hand, a milky-colored substance indicates the presence of oil. So, your coolant is not doing its job while at the same time your engine is low on lubricant because of this oil leak. Thus, you need to get this problem sorted out immediately.
When the substance feels gritty between the fingers, it means there are sand and dirt bits mixed in. You will also need to flush the cooling system to address this issue.
Guidelines On Maintaining Coolant
Now that you know why it’s not good to mix green and orange coolants, let us talk about maintenance tips for your engine coolant. When you notice that you are running low on either the orange or green coolant – depending on what your car is using – you need to have it refilled.
Additionally, a complete flush of the system and coolant refill must be done every 25,000 miles or two years – whichever comes first. This way, you can prevent problems linked with insufficient or impure coolant in your system.
You want to make sure that the coolant feels smooth and slippery to the touch, somewhat like an engine oil. This is a sign that your coolant is still good – in addition to having the original orange or green color.
When you have a dirty coolant that feels gritty, you need to flush the system and replace it with a 50/50 fresh mix. Also, look for signs of scale and rust build up that may be due to the coolant losing its lubricating power.
And lastly, you can also tell if the coolant is bad by its smell. A burning odor means the coolant needs to be changed. Check the thermostat, as well, since if you see signs of overheating, this means your coolant is not doing its job.
Orange coolant is designed for newer car models with more nylon and aluminum components while green coolant is for older vehicles with more metallic parts. Aside from the color and purpose, these coolants also have their unique chemical composition that enable them to protect your vehicle.
When your coolant feels smooth and slippery, and the original colors are still intact, it means there is nothing to worry about. However, signs of impurity, a burning smell, and a rust-colored coolant will require a thorough flushing of your cooling system. Then, you need to refill the coolant, which is every 3 years for the green and 5 years for the orange.
If there is a sign of contamination, or you are running low on coolant, you can also do a flush and refill to prevent the problem from getting worse and wreaking havoc to your entire engine.