The number and types of antifreeze is insurmountable and being able to decipher the difference or knowing which is best for your car can seem daunting even to a seasoned car pro. There are some general rules, like don’t mix colors or types and following the ratio of antifreeze to water, but choosing the best antifreeze for your car can depend on many factors.
The Best Antifreeze
The best antifreeze for you can depend on the age of your car, the milage of your car, the type of car and the type of environment you live in. It’s important to check your owner’s manual and/or dealership or mechanic to ensure that you are picking the best antifreeze for your vehicle and situation.
In general, some of the best antifreeze includes Zerex ZXGO51 G-05 Antifreeze, Valvoline 782256 MaxLife SAE 5W-30 High Mileage Motor Oil and the Prestone AF2100 Extended Life 50/50 Antifreeze.
All of these antifreezes work in most models of cards and light-duty trucks. The Prestone brand is good for 5 years or 150,000 miles. The Zerex is approved by Ford and Daimler/Chrysler for use in automotive and diesel engines. Finally, the MaxLife has seal conditioners that rejuvenate aging engine seals.
Best Overall Anti-Freeze
Prestone AF2100 Extended Life 50/50 Antifreeze
This is the best antifreeze for use in most car and light-duty truck models.
One of its biggest attractions is that it is compatible with any antifreeze/coolant, regardless of color. It is also good for 5 years or 150,000 miles.
It also prevents corrosion and helps keep cooling system running more efficiently and protects against temperature extremes and rust corrosion of all cooling system metals.
The product is also prediluted which makes life easier when it come to adding the antifreeze yourself. This means you don’t have to add water before putting the antifreeze in your car. 50/50 is the ration of water to antifreeze in the product.
Things We Like
- Compatible with most car/truck models
- Can mix with other antifreezes
- Prevents corrosion
- Protects against temperature extremes
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some model cars take specific antifreeze
- Can come in odd size quantities (pay attention if buying online)
- Prediluted means half the antifreeze amount for the price
Best Budget Antifreeze
Valvoline 782256 MaxLife SAE 5W-30 High Mileage Motor Oil
This Valvoline MaxLife product offers an all-around great option for almost any car and light-duty truck make or model.
It has seal conditioners that rejuvenates aging engine seals. Extras included in the antifreeze include extra wear protection and extra detergents that keep older engines cleaner by bonding with and removing sludge and deposits.
This antifreeze is really great for cars with extra mileage as well. It offers a blend of synthetic and premium conventional base stocks with seal conditioning agents, additional anti-wear additives and novel friction modifiers. Overall, however, these qualities are great for all high mileage, new and re-built engines.
Things We Like
- Great for almost all makes and models
- Great for high mileage cars
- Lots of extras
- Helps with anti-wear
- Helps seals
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some complaints about low-quality packaging
- Focus on high mileage and not all vehicles (although works for all)
- Price fluctuation online
Value of Finding the Best Antifreeze
First, it’s important to know what type of coolant you need. There are three kinds: Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT), Organic Acid Technology (OAT) and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT).
IAT antifreeze is traditionally used in cars manufactured before the mid-1990s. OAT antifreeze are typically meant for newer cars and trucks. HOAT antifreeze is used in most major Asian, German and European car makers.
Also, you can find the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle usually by looking in your owner’s manual.
Typically, your antifreeze levels are checked and topped off during your oil change if you take it into a shop. You can, however, check your coolant levels and top it off if need be in between oil changes.
- To change your own antifreeze, you need to find the coolant reservoir, which is usually a clear plastic container with a plastic screw top located next to the radiator.
- Unscrew the cap and check how much antifreeze is in the reservoir.
- There are usually two lines, a minimum and maximum, to show how much antifreeze is in the reservoir.
- Screw the cap back on and run your car for a few minutes to allow the antifreeze to run through your engine.
- Before starting this process, be sure to check your owner’s manual to see if it provides specific instructions that are special to your vehicle when it comes to checking or topping off your antifreeze.
If you’re uncertain about the right amount you need to add or if you can’t find the right reservoir, then talking to your mechanic or dealership is key. You don’t want to mess up your car engine by using the wrong antifreeze for your vehicle. Many auto part stores can also give you advice on which product is best as well.
Overall, the Prestone AF2100 Extended Life 50/50 Antifreeze is the clear frontrunner in terms of the best antifreeze. It has a number of great benefits that make it stand out. These benefits includes being prediluted, great for numerous makes and models of cars and protects against temperature extremes. You can also purchase it in numerous stores and online, so the wide availability also is a plus for people trying to find it.