You might be asking yourself, can you mix orange and green antifreeze. This is a question that many car owners ask and it’s a good one. The short answer to this question is no, you should not mix these two different types of coolants.
But why can’t you? Today you will learn more about these two different types of antifreeze and what may happen if you mix them.
What Is the Purpose of Antifreeze?
Before you learn why you shouldn’t mix orange and green antifreeze, let’s take a look at why your car needs coolant in the first place.
Antifreeze is a liquid that is added to a vehicle cooling system. This cooling system is designed to do two main functions. These functions include cooling your car’s engine when it reaches a certain temperature and keeping your engine block from freezing during colder months.
When your vehicle is in operation, antifreeze is constantly flowing back and forth from your radiator to your engine block. This keeps your car cool so that it doesn’t overheat while you are driving down the road.
On the other hand, when the outside temperature drops below freezing, the chemical properties in the coolant keep your engine from freezing up.
What’s The Difference Between Orange and Green Antifreeze?
The difference between orange and green antifreeze comes from their chemical makeup. Each utilize different technologies that are designed for different purposes. Below you will learn more about these technologies, which will help you determine which type of coolant is right for you.
Inorganic Additive Technology (Green Antifreeze)
Green antifreeze relays on Inorganic Additive Technology. This technology is designed for cars made before the year 2000. In the past older cars had radiators that contain steel and cooper Inorganic Additive Technology is needed to prevent corrosion. Inorganic Additive Technology contains no elements of carbon, which can be corrosive to older model cars.
Organic Acid Technology (Orange Antifreeze)
Orange antifreeze utilizes Organic Acid Technology to help protect your engine from temperature extremes. Being organic, this type of coolant does contain elements of carbon. But for newer model cars, this is completely fine. Since newer vehicles have radiators made from nylon and aluminum, they won’t become damaged by carbon.
Now let’s talk about the lifespan of each type of antifreeze.
Green antifreeze, as you have already learned, is designed using older technology. Because it uses nonorganic additives, it will need to be changed more often. Failing to change green antifreeze more frequently can cause damage to your cooling system. The average lifespan of green antifreeze is two years. After that time, it will need to be changed.
Orange antifreeze will last much longer than its green counterpart. You should expect to change orange coolant after five years of use. This longer lifespan makes car ownership a little easier on the pocket.
What Can Happen If You Mix Them?
If you combine green antifreeze with orange antifreeze, bad things can happen to your car. When mixed, these coolants form a gel-like substance that can clog up your cooling system. As a result of being clogged, your car may run hot, which can cause engine damage. Depending on the situation, your engine may even need to be replaced. As you probably already figured out, an engine replacement could set you back thousands of dollars.
In addition to clogging up your cooling system, damage to the radiator can occur in older cars. If orange coolant is introduced to cars made before 2000, chances are corrosion will take place.
What Should You Do If You Have Already Mixed Them?
If you have already made the mistake of mixing orange and green antifreeze, you need to take action fast. The longer the mixture is allowed to remain in your cooling system, the more damage is done. The first step that should be taken is contacting a professional auto mechanic. They will be able to help you determine what you should do about your situation.
Most mechanics will recommend that you have your car towed to their location. This will prevent the mixture from damaging your vehicle further. Driving it to the auto repair shop is not recommended. Some mechanics that offer mobile services will come to your location.
Once your mechanic has had a chance to look at your car, they will likely flush out the cooling system. They will make sure that all the mixture has been removed from your vehicle before going forward. Next, they will check to see if any damage has occurred. Your cooling pump and radiator may need to be replaced.
When all repairs have been completed, the mechanic will add the proper coolant to your car.
As you can see, mixing orange antifreeze with green antifreeze can cause damage to your vehicle. When adding coolant to any car, make sure which type is required. During so might save you thousands of dollars.