Understanding Engine Coolant
How to care for your engine’s coolant system.
Importance Of Your Vehicles Coolant
Your vehicle’s coolant is important because it prevents freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer. Coolant also has corrosion preventative properties that keep the rubber and seals of your cooling system healthy.
Your vehicle’s cooling system requires minimum maintenance, but it is important to check the coolant levels on a regular basis. Located on the side of most coolant reservoirs is an indicator that shows the maximum and the minimum coolant level. If the coolant level is below the minimum line it is important to add coolant before operating your vehicle.
Types Of Coolant
Inorganic Acid Technology (IAT)
IAT is used for most domestic vehicles 1920 to 1990 GM, Ford and Chrysler. This coolant is recommended to be flushed every 30,000 miles or every 2 years and it is most commonly a bright green.
Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
Most commonly used in VW, GM, Honda, and Toyota vehicle’s. This coolant has corrosion inhibitors to allow your vehicle to run longer. It is recommended to flush this coolant every 150,000 miles or every 5 years. OAT mostly comes in orange and red colors, but it can be found in green, pink. or blue.
Hybrid Organic Technology (HOAT)
Similar to the OAT, HOAT is designed to last around 150,000 miles or 5 years before it is recommended to be flushed out. HOAT is a mixture of IAT and OAT and it is much easier to identify because it comes in two colors, yellow and orange. The coolant is most commonly used in most major European, German and Asian car manufacturers, as well as some Chryslers.
Do Not Mix Types and Colors
In the case of OAT it isn’t imperative to stick with one color, but it is recommended to avoid mixing colors whenever possible. Outside of OAT it is very important to avoid mixing coolant types and colors. A cooling system with a green IAT in it should only be topped off with water or another green IAT. The effects of mixing coolants include corrosion, coagulation of the fluid, and ultimately system failure.