Are All Antifreeze Formulations the Same?

Antifreeze is mixed with water to form a coolant for internal combustion engines. It can be purchased as a concentrate or as a pre-mixed solution with distilled water (engine coolant).

July 15, 2020

Mixing Antifreeze Formulations

In case you opt for the concentrate product, you’ll need to mix antifreeze with water, depending on the required temperatures. More information are available on the product labels. Engine coolant is available in an array of colors, each signifying a different type. With so much choice, it can be difficult to know which is best for your car. These are the differences you need to know.

Types of Engine Coolant

Engine coolant mixes with water, raising the boiling point to stop your car from overheating. Coolant also reduces the risk of corrosion in the engine. Purchasing the type best-suited to your vehicle is important for optimum performance. As a general guide, these are the types of engine coolants and the vehicle makes that they are best suited to. Keep in mind that color can vary and you shouldn’t choose your coolant based on color code alone.


  1. IAT : Probably the most important additives in motor oil affect the way oil flows through your engine. Viscosity can be defined as a liquid’s ability to resist flow. How thick (or thin) it is. Honey and tar are considered to have high viscosity; gasoline and water have low viscosity. The motor oil in your engine has to protect when the engine is cold and when it is hot.

    That can be a 200-degree Fahrenheit swing or more. When it is cold, oil is thicker (has a higher viscosity) than when it is hot. Viscosity drops as oil warms up. That means oil that works the way it should at normal operating temperature (around 200 degrees F) would be far thicker when it is cold, when your engine is most vulnerable. An engine is most susceptible to damage when it is first started, especially on chilly days.

    To combat that condition, oil makers include viscosity index improvers, additives that raise the viscosity of motor oil as it warms up. That way, oil can be thin enough for cold-weather startup and thicken up to the correct viscosity as your engine heats up. You have seen these “multi-weight” oils on a store shelf with codes such as 5W-30 or 0W-20. 5W-30 oil is a 5-weight oil when cold (“W” stands for winter) and a 30-weight oil when warm. This is made possible by viscosity index improvers.
  1. Detergents: Engines dating back to a time when non-detergent motor oils were standard had a tendency to cake up with coatings of impurities and sludge. For that reason, motor oils that contain detergents should not be used in old, original engines.

    Otherwise, the detergents will wash away the deposits that are likely filling gaps between engine components and seals. And that causes leaks. But a modern engine should not have that problem.
    Detergents in the oil used for today’s engines helps to disperse sludge that can build up over time. The detergents are used to neutralize oil impurities that can coat vital engine components
  2. Viscosity Index Improvers: Probably the most important additives in motor oil affect the way oil flows through your engine. Viscosity can be defined as a liquid’s ability to resist flow. How thick (or thin) it is. Honey and tar are considered to have high viscosity; gasoline and water have low viscosity. The motor oil in your engine has to protect when the engine is cold and when it is hot.

    That can be a 200-degree Fahrenheit swing or more. When it is cold, oil is thicker (has a higher viscosity) than when it is hot. Viscosity drops as oil warms up. That means oil that works the way it should at normal operating temperature (around 200 degrees F) would be far thicker when it is cold, when your engine is most vulnerable. An engine is most susceptible to damage when it is first started, especially on chilly days.

    To combat that condition, oil makers include viscosity index improvers, additives that raise the viscosity of motor oil as it warms up. That way, oil can be thin enough for cold-weather startup and thicken up to the correct viscosity as your engine heats up. You have seen these “multi-weight” oils on a store shelf with codes such as 5W-30 or 0W-20. 5W-30 oil is a 5-weight oil when cold (“W” stands for winter) and a 30-weight oil when warm. This is made possible by viscosity index improvers.
  3. Detergents: Engines dating back to a time when non-detergent motor oils were standard had a tendency to cake up with coatings of impurities and sludge. For that reason, motor oils that contain detergents should not be used in old, original engines. Otherwise, the detergents will wash away the deposits that are likely filling gaps between engine components and seals. And that causes leaks. But a modern engine should not have that problem. Detergents in the oil used for today’s engines helps to disperse sludge that can build up over time.

    The detergents are used to neutralize oil impurities that can coat vital engine components

  1. IAT: Inorganic Additive Technology - Usually recommended for classic vehicles - Usually green in color
  1. OAT: Organic Acid Technology - Usually recommended for GM, Saab, and VW models - Usually orange, red, blue or green in color
  1. HOAT: Hybrid OAT - Usually recommended for Ford and Chrysler models - Usually yellow or orange in color
  1. HOAT (-P): Hybrid OAT Phosphate-Free - Usually recommended for BMW, Volvo, Tesla, and Mini models - Usually turquoise in color
  1. Si-OAT: Hybrid OAT Phosphate-Free - Usually recommended for BMW, Volvo, Tesla, and Mini models - Usually turquoise in color
  1. P-HOAT: Phosphate HOAT - Usually recommended for Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, and KIA models - Usually pink or blue in color


Antifreeze/Coolant: The newest addition to the product range

Antifreeze/Coolant products have been added to the product range, with 5 new products in the product portfolio to meet the customer needs in hot and cold conditions. These include ready mix and concentrate products. For more information, please consult the E-catalogue.

Refill Your Engine Coolant

Different cars are best-suited to different coolants. Check your vehicle handbook for model-specific antifreeze advice. Tip – If you’re not certain that your new antifreeze is the same as the last one that you used, drain any remaining old antifreeze before refilling. Mixing different antifreeze types can produce unwanted chemicals.


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