How long does coolant last in a car? Here’s the answer

The role of the cooling system is to maintain the optimum operating temperature in the engine. The mechanically driven water pump constantly passes coolant through the engine’s pipes and ducts. The coolant releases the heat accumulated in the engine through the airflow into the front radiator.

So, how long does coolant last?

The car’s coolant lasts, in general, 40000 to 50000 km (24000 to 31000 miles) or between 2-5 years depending on the coolant type and color. During the overhaul, you should check the coolant level in the tank and perform a visual inspection for impurities. Turbidity and a change in hue indicate foreign inclusions in the coolant or a change in the properties of the composition.

The following signs indicate the need to clean the cooling system and replace the coolant:

  • Frequent overheating and boiling of the coolant
  • Continuous operation of the internal combustion engine at a critical temperature
  • Interruptions when starting a hot engine
  • Change in the response of the rheostat and problems with the operation of the pump.

In such situations, or if the color of the coolant becomes reddish, the cooling system should be cleaned immediately and the coolant replaced.

After passing a certain mileage or identifying problems in the cooling system, you need to go for car maintenance. Are you wondering how long does coolant last in a car? Continue reading to find a comprehensive answer.

What are the factors that influence the coolant’s lifespan?

Guided by information from car manufacturers on the frequency of changing car coolant, it is necessary to make amendments, taking into account the individual characteristics of each car. When addressing this issue, it is necessary to take into account the following:

  • Type of fuel.
  • Operating conditions of the vehicle.
  • Total mileage of the car.
  • The technical condition of the car.
  • The type of oil used (semi-synthetic, synthetic, or mineral).
  • The engine capacity.
  • For the most part, how the car is used affects the coolant change period.

Does 50-50 antifreeze water influence how long the mixture lasts in a car?

Your car’s coolant is supposed to absorb heat to keep the engine away from overheating and protect your car from freezing during the winter season.

Pure antifreeze does freeze at about 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -17° C, but when mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio, the freezing point drops to -50 degrees Fahrenheit or -45.56 °C.

Most car manufacturers understand this, and that is why they advise car owners to use a 50/50 antifreeze and water mixture. Using 50-50 antifreeze water increases the time that mixture lasts in a car, but not significantly

Does driving aggressively influence the coolant’s lifespan?

If you adopt more aggressive driving will not interfere with your car’s coolant lifespan.

How long does coolant last depending on its color?

Another confusing aspect is the existence of radiator fluids of different colors. The color convention was introduced for several reasons:

  • To provide a clear and simple indication in the event of refilling or changing the coolant
  • To provide a better quality of the cooling system.

Of course, each color has a specific meaning and a different chemical composition, making it suitable or unsuitable for specific car models.

Pink Coolant

This is among the modern fluids that are used as coolants. The pink coolant is made using an organic technology based on carboxylic acid and is compatible with the G12.

You can use the pink coolant liquid as a compliment or a complete renewal to achieve better efficiency. The lifespan of the pink coolant depends on the operating conditions, although the average lifespan is supposed to be 5 years or 130000 miles (210000 km).

Purple coolant

This is a synthetic, high-performance radiator coolant that reduces the heat of your car’s engine by reducing the radiator fluid tension to improve heat transfer and it’s compatible with G13 which is a newer antifreeze type used in modern cars.

It prevents the formation of the scale deposits in a radiator hence fostering optimum coolant flow. The purple coolant liquid has an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years or 150000 miles (240000 km).

Green coolant

It is an ethylene glycol-based liquid containing silicates mainly chosen by Renault, although more rarely, it can be found in some Nissan, Citroen, and Hyundai engines.

All in all, it is a liquid that is not in demand on the market. Typically this liquid has a light green color that tends to yellow, so be very careful not to get confused. Depending on the environment where your car is operating, you should change the green coolant after every 3 years.

Red coolant

In 1997 the red liquid was introduced on the market, which has been more widespread in recent years and is used on all modern engines. One of the main differences this new liquid brings is its additives.

Unlike blue/green and yellow liquids, it contains only organic additives (without silicates and phosphates). It is identified with the abbreviation OAT, organic additive technology, or technology with organic additives. Red coolant fluid should last 2 years on average

Orange coolant

Typically a mixture of IAT (Inorganic Acid Technology) and OAT (Organic Acid Technology), the orange coolant lasts on average of 5 years or 150000 miles (240000 km)

Is coolant still in good condition if the car has not been driven for a long time?

Proper maintenance of your car’s engine also includes a periodic check of the coolant level and changes in its original appearance. Typically the sufficient amount is always between the MIN and the MAX marks.

It is also prudent to know that engine coolant may go bad if it stays for too long. The older fluid causes acid buildup after being contaminated by scaling and dust, resulting in a reduced freezing point and boiling resistance.

As such, it is advisable to replace coolant regularly to prevent your engine from overheating, freezing, or contamination

Are there any other aspects that influence coolant’s quality and lifespan?

When we talk about engine coolant, we refer to a mixture capable of regulating the temperature of the propulsion system so that it is neither too high nor too low.

To do this, the liquid must be able to resist both high and low temperatures simultaneously. The quality and lifespan of a coolant can be influenced by the following factors:

  • Additives dropping out
  • Contamination
  • Corrosion


In conclusion, the main purpose of the coolant is to keep the engine temperature constant and avoid overheating. In conditions of maximum efficiency, it guarantees the optimal dissipation of the heat generated by the motor: this means that the motor reaches the operating temperature more quickly and can work in an optimal thermal condition.

As soon as some chemical-physical characteristics of the coolant are missing, the fuel system could work at slightly higher temperatures and with potentially serious consequences both on the engine and on all the components of the cooling system

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