Antifreeze Colors Explained (And What Happens If You Mix The Wrong Ones)

Modern coolant colors aren’t meaningless, but they also don’t tell us much about the actual liquid. Different automakers and automotive fluid suppliers use various colors when it comes to coolant. Toyota’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coolant, for example, is either red or pink. On the other hand, purple coolant is typically found in German car brands like Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche. You may even encounter two brands with the same color but different antifreeze solutions. Likewise, you may find two brands with opposite colors that have the same chemical composition. 

While the original coolant color code is still in place for some brands, you can’t choose your car’s coolant based solely on its color. Today, coolant color depends more on the manufacturer than its chemical composition. If your car uses IAT, you should only fill its radiator with IAT coolant. Likewise, if your vehicle takes OAT, you should fill the radiator with quality OAT coolant. The same goes for all of the other various coolant types. Always consult your vehicle owner’s manual, a trusted mechanic, or an auto parts store to ensure that you fill your radiator with the proper product.


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