Home Cooling System Yellow Antifreeze – Does The Antifreeze Color Really Matter?

Yellow Antifreeze – Does The Antifreeze Color Really Matter?

by Kelvin Yates

Are you thinking of flushing the antifreeze in your car and are considering replacing it with yellow antifreeze? This decision that you made of replacing your antifreeze is an excellent idea. This will refresh your cooling system and will boost its cooling capacity. But why yellow antifreeze? We are going to discuss that in detail in this article.

Engine coolant is the solution that makes cooling possible inside your engine. The coolant basically helps your engine to be cooled down to normal operating temperatures. One of the perks of cooling solutions like antifreeze is their thermal characteristics.

These thermal characteristics prevent the coolant from boiling in the summer or freezing in the winter. That’s why it is also called antifreeze. This makes the coolant perfect and it cannot be compared with water which does not have such thermal characteristics.

Running the engine with only water is going to overheat the engine and will make your life miserable. That’s why adding something like yellow antifreeze is the best way to deal with cooling issues.

In this article, we are going to cover precisely that. We are going to learn what is antifreeze and how it works. Then, we will see which are the different types of antifreeze that are on the market right now. Following that, we are going to discuss yellow antifreeze. We will see how you can change the antifreeze on your vehicle and the cost to replace your antifreeze. So, let’s begin.

Antifreeze vs Coolant

Yellow Antifreeze

The antifreeze or coolant is a fluid that has the specific purpose of keeping your engine temperature in check. It does this, so your engine does not overheat. Using a coolant is a must in maintaining the well-being of your engine. Using water instead of coolant will only cause your engine to overheat and develop issues.

Antifreeze is a special chemical solution that does not freeze in the winter. Furthermore, it does not boil when the vehicle reaches up to its working temperature.

But keeping an eye on the antifreeze is key for your vehicle’s safety. You must always observe the antifreeze level in your car to know the cooling ability of your antifreeze. Also, it is a good idea to take your car once a year to a workshop for the mechanic to check the condition of the antifreeze and see if it needs to be changed.

Antifreeze, over the years, will become weaker and weaker. This, in other words, translates to its characteristics. For example, if the antifreeze is old, it may start to freeze sooner in the winter compared to a new antifreeze. On top of that, in the summer, your car will see its temperature rise because the antifreeze does not have the same heat-resistant characteristics as it used to have in the past.

That’s why changing the antifreeze once in two years or once a year will make your system work better and your antifreeze will guarantee that your engine is in top working order. Antifreeze is also cheap and affordable solution. This is the case with yellow antifreeze.

There are plenty of antifreeze types and including red, pink, purple, blue, and yellow antifreeze. But for more on the types, we are going to cover that later in this article.

Engine Cooling

The cooling system is a simple circulating system that works on basic principles. This system controls the coolant and moves the coolant where it thinks it’s necessary.

For example, when you start your car, the coolant doesn’t move right away in the system. The coolant starts to move once the thermostat has opened. The thermostat is an important component of your car. If your thermostat doesn’t open, your car will overheat. That’s why observing the temperatures is key to maintaining your engine health.

When the thermostat opens, it basically allows the coolant to flow to the engine from the inside of the hoses to the radiator.

In the radiator, the coolant is cooled with the help of the air drag which is created from the movement of the vehicle. The bigger the drag, the cooler air gets into the vehicle. This in other words translates into better cooling for your engine.

If the radiator can’t keep up there are fans that turn on and blow cold air into the radiator to accelerate cooling.

Then, this cooled antifreeze goes back again into the engine. The process is repeated until the car comes to a stop and you stop using the vehicle. Even in some cases, the cooling system can continue to work if the coolant is too hot and there is a danger to the engine.

You will notice this by the running of the cooling fans in front of the radiator when the car is stationary. These fans usually turn on after long journeys to make sure that the car cools down. But what about the antifreeze that is inside this system? Is this a yellow antifreeze or some other color? In the next chapter, we are going to find out.

Antifreeze Color Chart

Different colors indicate different types of antifreeze. Some standards are created by manufacturers and they use a special formula in their vehicles.

It’s not that if you put some other type of coolant in your vehicle, it will not work. But, if you try to mix coolants with different colors, you will probably ruin the thermal characteristics of your coolant. That’s because these mixtures do not contain the same chemical formula.

That’s why many types of coolants exist. For example, green antifreeze, blue antifreeze, yellow antifreeze, red antifreeze, and more. Now we are going to check the most common ones and learn more about them.

Green Antifreeze

Green antifreeze is one of the most common types of antifreeze used in the US. It has been used for more than 70 years. The green type of antifreeze is an ethylene glycol-based product and it is very distinguishable by its green coloring. However, this type of antifreeze is not known for its durability and it should be replaced every 3 years or every 40,000 miles.

Its color helps a lot to identify when the cooling system has leaks. So, if you notice a few green drops on the ground. You will make an instant assumption that your antifreeze has started leaking. In this case, you need to check the reservoir. This is just to make sure that you fill it up so your car to not overheat.

This antifreeze is also a potential hazard if it starts leaking on the ground. That’s because many animals find the smell and color tasty, and they end up poisoning themselves. This poisoning can be fatal and you should be aware of this if you have a pet.

The usage of green coolant (or green antifreeze) in new cars has been discontinued and the vehicles were switched to other types of coolants.

Yellow Antifreeze

These types of antifreeze are made out of organic components. Namely the propylene glycol. This new solution was introduced back in 1995 by General Motors.

This type of antifreeze is advertised as long-lasting antifreeze. Although, many shops have claimed that his antifreeze is only good for 5 years, more or less. Yet, it is far more durable than the old ethylene-glycol solutions that were used in the past, referring to the blue and green antifreeze.

One characteristic of yellow antifreeze is that is less poisonous to the environment and is also safer to handle.

This antifreeze is used in vehicles that are produced from 1995 or newer. You can easily recognize the yellow antifreeze that is based on propylene glycol by its characteristic coloring. This antifreeze is a perfect option if you own a vehicle that is 10 to 15 years old. The yellow antifreeze is also known for its affordable price as well. Making it perfect if you plan to flush your system every year.

Yellow Antifreeze

Red Antifreeze

The red antifreeze or G-12 as it’s known is the most widely used solution today. This type of antifreeze is a hybrid solution that has many useful compounds inside that increase the lifetime of the cooling components. It’s especially so for cooling hoses where the previous solutions were notorious for damaging these parts.

This solution is claimed to have a 5-year interval per change and will last for many miles. Also, if you want to extend the life of your cooling components, it is a good idea to make a switch to the G-12. But, don’t forget to avoid mixing this coolant with other types of coolant, because if you do, it will lose its characteristics and possibly damage your hoses.

This type of antifreeze is used by many European carmakers like VW and Audi. Plus, it is quickly gaining traction in the US as well.

50/50 Antifreeze

The coolant mixture ratio is important to get the right amount of coolant in your vehicle. For example, let’s say the coolant is too thin and is mostly water. In that case, it may not have the same characteristics as a properly mixed coolant.

Or in another scenario, if the coolant concentrate level is too much, it’s going to corrode your hoses and it may cause them to crack or leak. That’s why getting the right mixture when you are getting a yellow antifreeze is the way to go. But what is the right mixture?

The right mixture of coolant is 50/50. That means 50% water and 50% antifreeze concentrate. This concentrate should be dissolved in water and mixed very well. If your cooling system has a 4L capacity you should mix 2L of concentrate and 2L of water.

Luckily for you, there are a lot of coolant brands that offer a premixed coolant. You only need to pour the coolant into your cooling system and you are good to go. But remember that when you are replacing coolant, you should remove all the air from the system. And how you should perform that before you add your yellow antifreeze, we are going to discuss next.

Where To Put Antifreeze

Replacing your antifreeze DIY is probably one of the easiest jobs out there that you can do as a beginner mechanic. You probably don’t want to take your car to a mechanic’s shop for a simple job such as flushing your antifreeze with new yellow antifreeze. This will cost you a lot. And, you will not have the ability to work on your car. That’s why replacing your coolant at home is worth doing, if you can.

For this job, you are going to need yellow antifreeze. A premixed solution will be great. You will also need a vice grip to remove the clamps to flush the old coolant. Or, use a screwdriver if the clamp is attached by screws. You are also going to need jack stands to access the car from underneath. Then you are good to go and you can begin working on your car.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 1

This step involves jacking the car in the air and then placing a big bucket underneath the car. This will help you collect all the old coolant that was in the car. You don’t want a big mess in your driveway.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 2

Take the cap off the top of the radiator. Then, unbolt the clamp that is on the bottom of your radiator that connects the hose. And let the fluid leak from the system. It’s going to take a minute or two to get this job done.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 3

Now it’s time to attach the hose again to the radiator. Make sure that you tighten up the clamp securely because you don’t want the fluid to leak from your system.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 4

After you secured the hose, now it’s time to fill the system with new yellow antifreeze. Make sure that you fill the system to the max level and start the car with the radiator cap open.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 5

Run the car like this for a couple of minutes and make sure that all the air is out of the system. Don’t be afraid to give it a few revs. This will make sure that no air bubbles are left inside the system. When the coolant level goes down fill it up again at the below max level and leave it to work until no air bubbles escape.

Yellow Antifreeze, Top-Up And Replacement: Step 6

Yellow Antifreeze

Take the car for a spin around the neighborhood and make sure that it runs well with the new coolant. Check the undercarriage for leaks and make sure that everything seals properly. Then you are good to go for another 5 years.

This is a simple tutorial that works on every car. No matter the make and model because all cooling systems work pretty much the same. Just be sure that the coolant you flush out is cold to avoid burning yourself with boiling coolant.

Also, a big bucket will be handy to collect the coolant. If the coolant is still dirty, another flush after 500 to 1000 miles will be good to clean your system from the old dirty coolant. This is because a flush may not be enough to clean it thoroughly. There is still dirt and debris in the engine and the radiator. So, flushing the coolant a few times will make sure that your coolant is nice and clean.

How Much Is Antifreeze

The cost to replace yellow antifreeze depends much on how you want to perform this work on your car. The antifreeze itself is not that expensive and you can perform this work at your garage or a friend’s garage. This way, you will only have to pay for a new coolant (with some help in learning how to put antifreeze in your car). And that is between $10 to $30.

If you decide to go to a workshop, you can expect to pay between $150 to $300 for this work. This is the case because shops are expensive. They usually require $50 to $100 per hour to finish the work. Depending on the amount of work needed, you will have to pay for that rate. This is usually around $150 for this kind of work. Replacing your yellow antifreeze is not that frequent work after all, and antifreeze is usually replaced every 5 years.

Yellow Antifreeze: Some Facts And Scenarios

This section is dedicated to the most common questions that are asked when people have some kind of problem with their cooling system and antifreeze. We collected the most frequent questions and we have answered them so you have a good idea of how to fix your problem.

1. My Antifreeze Reservoir Keeps Getting Empty

When your reservoir tank gets empty it means that you either have a leak or a blown head gasket. If you have a leak, you can inspect your hoses and see if there is a leak. Also, inspect your radiator as well. Radiators can develop leaks if it’s badly damaged.

Another thing that can also cause the expansion tank to get empty is a blown head gasket. The coolant can escape from three routes. This would be either in the combustion chamber, outside of the block, or inside the oil gallery.

If it goes into the combustion chamber, you will notice white smoke coming from the exhaust. This is a clear sign when a car burns coolant.

Also, if the coolant leaks outside the engine block you will notice leaks coming from the side of the engine where the gasket goes.

If the coolant goes into the oil, you will notice a white sludge when you check the oil with the dipstick. This sludge means that you have to act quickly and your engine’s lubricating capability is not there anymore. This results in the wearing and tearing of the engine components.

2. Can You Use Water As Coolant

Yes, you can run your car on water. But it is not recommended to run a car on water. This is the case because water does not have the thermal characteristics of a coolant and is prone to boiling.

Using water is going to cause many overheating issues with your car. And you don’t want that. Get a canister of yellow antifreeze mixture and flush your water with this yellow antifreeze. This will guarantee you that the car is going to be properly cooled and your engine will not tend to overheat.

Running the engine on water only can be one of the causes of developing a head gasket issue. If the temperatures are too high in the engine, the gasket will easily burn and cause problems.

3. How Long Does Coolant Last In A Car

If your antifreeze is old, I would not recommend running your car with this fluid. I’m saying this because as the fluid ages, it loses its cooling capability. This is going to result in poor cooling capability and the engine could freeze during the winter.

This old fluid is probably heavily contaminated with debris. This debris is from the rust in the radiator and plastic from the hoses. If you have old fluid, the best thing to do is to flush the system a few times to bring the coolant in check and make that yellow antifreeze look clear without any debris inside.

Yellow Antifreeze: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered everything you need to know when it comes to antifreeze or coolant, as it is called. The coolant is one essential fluid that maintains acceptable temperatures in your car and prevents your engine from overheating or freezing.

There are a couple of types of coolants that we discussed and we mentioned some of them. The most important thing is to not mix coolant from a different colors. If your engine has yellow coolant, you should leave it as it is, don’t pour green or blue, or red. This will possibly damage your cooling ability.

We also shared a good tutorial on how you can flush your coolant in your garage with a few tools and we also answered a few frequently asked questions when it comes to antifreeze or coolant.

FAQs On Yellow Antifreeze

If you’re still curious to learn more about yellow antifreeze, our FAQs here might help…

Is Antifreeze Coolant

Oftentimes, most people tend to interchangeably use coolant and antifreeze when mentioning their car’s cooling system. Although their end goal is similar – that being to cool down your car – they’re not the same thing. Antifreeze is a base liquid or ingredient, typically made from ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. However, antifreeze alone isn’t enough to cool down your car, as it has to be mixed with water to become a good conductor of heat. This (normally) 50-50 mixture of part antifreeze and part water is what becomes coolant. This way, a combined coolant mixture has good heat conduction and is able to resist boiling or freezing much better.

What Color Is Antifreeze

Originally, most antifreeze solutions were green or blue in color. But recently, antifreeze solutions can be found in all sorts of colors, including yellow, pink, red, or even orange, and more. The color itself is a result of the formulation used to create it. Some antifreeze uses the old-school IAT (inorganic acid technology), while others are made with OAT (organic acid technology). The latter is a much more modern formula that could help inhibit rust. Even newer still, there’s HOAT (hybrid organic acid technology), that combines the best of IAT and OAT. Granted, it’s advisable that you pick the specific formulation of antifreeze that your owner’s manual recommends.

How Much Coolant Do I Need

The amount of coolant that a car can hold will vary from one vehicle to another. Ultimately, it depends on what engine it uses, as racier engines that create more power would need more coolant to cool them down. As such, you can notice how a smaller, less potent 4-cylinder engine might hold anywhere from 6 to 7 quarts of coolant. Meanwhile, a giant V8 muscle car engine might require upward of 16 quarts or more. On top of that, the exact amount you’ll need will also differ depending on what you’re planning to do with it. Should you want to flush out the entire cooling system and fill in coolant from scratch, you’ll need much more than just a simple top-up.

Can You Mix Antifreeze

In general, it’s a bad idea (or merely pointless) to mix different antifreeze colors or formulas together. At the very least, mixing antifreeze formulas together would cancel out the benefits that a particular solution might provide. For example, OAT or HOAT-type antifreeze solutions have numerous benefits such as inhibiting rust in a car’s cooling system. Thus, adding IAT-type antifreeze solutions into either an OAT or HOAT mix would essentially cancel those advantages out, and would bring no benefit to either one. And, in some rare but extreme worst-case scenarios, the two different antifreeze solutions might even gel inside your radiator, which isn’t good.

How To Check Antifreeze

There are a couple of ways to check your car’s coolant/antifreeze. Firstly, make sure that your engine has cooled down sufficiently, as boiling-hot coolant might gush out if you’re not careful. Now, head over to your car’s radiator (near the front of the engine compartment), and pop open the radiator cap. Then, check the underside of the radiator cap. If there’s any brownish sludge stuck on the underside of the cap, it’s an urgent sign that you’ll need to have it replaced soon. If the coolant inside the radiator itself has a similarly sludgy consistency and brown coloration, it’s also a sign that you’ll need to change it. Just to make sure, you can then repeat these steps with the coolant reservoir, near the engine itself.

You may also like

Leave a Comment