What is antifreeze?

Before learning the importance of antifreeze, it’s important to understand what it is. Antifreeze is a form of glycol that is added to water to create what is commonly referred to as coolant.  This half-and-half mixture of antifreeze and water serves a variety of important functions when it comes to keeping your vehicle operating smoothly. The glycol component is typically comprised of either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol.  

The difference between these two types of antifreeze is less in terms of how they function and more in terms of safety. Propylene glycol is a newer alternative that is significantly less toxic. This is an important improvement since ethylene glycol has been notoriously known for tempting animals and small children with its sweet scent and flavor despite its highly toxic - and even deadly - nature.

Why is antifreeze important?

Antifreeze is critical because it keeps engine temperatures from rising too high or dropping too low - no matter how hot or cold weather or operating conditions might be. The active ingredients in antifreeze (and therefore coolant) help reduce the freezing point of water and increase the boiling point of water to keep your fluids from turning to ice or boiling within your engine system.  

If you fail to maintain your coolant, you could quickly be looking at damaging expensive vehicle components like your: water pump, radiator, cylinder head, connector rods, head gasket, and more.  Because of this, antifreeze might be considered the most important fluid in your vehicle, so it’s important to keep up on your antifreeze maintenance.

How often should I change my antifreeze?

Checking your owner’s manual is the best way to know how frequently your antifreeze should be changed since it depends on the vehicle more often than not. Some models recommend every 3 years while others might not recommend it for up to 5 years or more.  There are also different recommendations in terms of mileage for different makes and models. Paying attention to both the year and mileage limits - especially if you drive a significant amount of miles in a year’s time, is the safest route to go. Your owner’s manual is also important for knowing exactly what kind of coolant your vehicle needs when it does come time to change your coolant.


How do I dispose of my old antifreeze?

Used antifreeze contains heavy metals that must be disposed of with care. Having your antifreeze changed by an automotive repair shop is the easiest way to ensure your used antifreeze gets disposed of safely, but if you choose to change your antifreeze yourself there are still a variety of options available to you. 

Your state’s Department of Waste Management website will list collection centers where you can recycle or dispose of antifreeze. You can also contact local automotive repair centers for advice on how to dispose of hazardous chemicals like antifreeze in an appropriate manner.  The important thing is that you do your due diligence to make sure it ends up in the appropriate place and not down the drain or in your local storm sewer.

Indiana Solid Waste Management District and Household Waste Programs


Now that you understand the importance of antifreeze and coolant products, contact us for more information on high-quality coolant products to keep your personal vehicle or commercial fleet running smoothly.