What is Antifreeze? We Explain Here.

Vehicle owners know the importance of keeping their vehicles’ antifreeze reservoirs full, but what is antifreeze? Why is it important?

Antifreeze is a liquid that helps regulate engine temperature to prevent it from overheating or freezing. It must first be mixed with distilled or high-purity water (usually 50/50), either by the antifreeze manufacturer or the consumer, before it goes into the vehicle’s radiator.

Antifreeze helps regulate engine temperature to prevent overheating or freezing.

Why can’t I just use water?

Because water boils at 212°F (100°C) and freezes at 32°F (0°C), it just doesn’t have the temperature range to provide boil-over protection in normal engine operating temperatures or freeze protection in normal winter temperatures.

Mixing water 50/50 with antifreeze, however, raises boil-over protection up to around 265°F (129°C) and freeze protection down to around -34°F (-37°C). Interestingly enough, the freeze point of straight antifreeze is only about 0°F (-18°C), underscoring the importance of mixing it with distilled or high-purity water.

Additional benefits

Not only does antifreeze keep your engine’s temperature in check, it also provides the following benefits:

  • Protects against corrosion that damages metal components
  • Protects against scaling that interferes with heat transfer
  • Protects against cavitation and pitting that damages cylinder liners (heavy-duty applications)

Which antifreeze should I use? How much antifreeze?

Antifreeze is available in a variety of formulations designed for specific vehicles. Check the recommended antifreeze specification and capacity in your vehicle owner’s manual.

AMSOIL Passenger Car/Light Truck Antifreeze & Coolant simplifies matters as it’s formulated for use in ALL domestic and import passenger cars and light trucks, and it is conveniently pre-mixed 50/50 with high-purity water.

AMSOIL Heavy-Duty Antifreeze & Coolant is formulated for heavy-duty applications or mixed fleets of both passenger-vehicle and heavy-duty applications, and it is conveniently pre-mixed 50/50 with high-purity water.

AMSOIL Propylene Glycol Antifreeze & Coolant is formulated for use in ALL domestic and import passenger cars and light trucks, as well as heavy-duty applications. Its low-toxicity, concentrated formula requires mixing with distilled or high-purity water.

When should I change antifreeze?

Your owner’s manual is also an excellent source to learn how often to flush and change antifreeze. Because antifreeze can deteriorate over mileage and time, losing its ability to adequately protect your cooling system, it should be periodically tested, even if the reservoir is full and everything seems to be working properly.

Fluid analysis is the best way to test condition, while test strips like these offer a quicker, albeit less precise, test method.

Antifreeze test strips

Long-life protection

AMSOIL Antifreeze & Coolant is formulated for long-life protection.

Passenger Car/Light Truck Antifreeze & Coolant provides outstanding protection up to 150,000 miles (240,000 km) or 5 years, whichever comes first, in passenger cars and light trucks.

Heavy-Duty Antifreeze & Coolant provides outstanding protection up to 1,000,000 miles (1,600,000 km), 20,000 hours or 8 years, whichever comes first, in heavy-duty applications and up to 150,000 miles (240,000 km) or 5 years, whichever comes first, in passenger cars and light trucks.

Propylene Glycol Antifreeze & Coolant provides outstanding protection up to 150,000 miles (240,000 km) or 5 years, whichever comes first, in passenger cars and light trucks and up to 1,000,000 miles (1,600,000 km), 20,000 hours of operation or 8 years, whichever comes first, in heavy-duty applications.

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