What is a Coolant?
Before you dive into the debate of orange vs green coolant, it is important to understand what a coolant really is. Like any other machine, a car needs a system that will protect it from getting overheated. If you’re living in a colder region, however, your car will need something to keep its engine from freezing.
A coolant performs both the jobs. It is an essential component of the cooling system of a car’s engine. Coolants have a variety of colors. So how do you know which color to use and why? Can you mix green and orange coolants? Let’s find out.
Difference between the colors
The many colors of coolants don’t exactly have different purposes. Essentially, no matter what color, a coolant will have two critical jobs to do: protect your engine from extreme temperatures, and corrosion. Depending on where you live, the coolant will keep your engine cool or warm.
Like we just mentioned, coolants not only control your car’s cooling system but also provide protection from corrosion. Since our cars’ cooling systems are made up of metal material, extra protection is critical. These engines are also prone to wear and tear, which can conveniently be avoided with the help of coolants.
To dig deeper into the orange vs green coolant debate, we must understand the technology behind the two colors. The major difference between each color is its chemical composition and technologies used. These are the two different technologies that these coolants use:
Inorganic Additive Technology and Organic Acid Technologies.
These names might be the biggest indicators of how the two technologies are different from each other. The green coolant uses Inorganic Additive Technology, while the orange one uses Organic Acid Technologies. Read ahead to find out more about the differences between the two and see if you can mix green and orange coolants:
The Green Coolant
The green coolant’s Inorganic Additive Technology is an older technology. What does inorganic mean here?
This means that this coolant does not have a carbon element, which is present in newer technologies. This technology was used for cars that were made before the 2000s. Machines and technologies are ever-evolving and are never stagnant. This means that as time goes on, there is a new version of technology to support newer machines.
Since older cars before the 2000s had radiators made up of copper and steel components, this coolant focused more on working as an anti-corrosive. A green coolant with Inorganic Additive Technology has a lifespan of two to three years, after which this has to be flushed and then replaced.
The Orange Coolant
The orange coolant is made up of Organic Acid Technologies. Since you now know more about green coolants, you might already have figured out how the orange one is slightly different. The technology used for this coolant is much more modern and updated so that it is highly compatible with modern cars. These cars have cooling engines that are not made of steel or copper like the older ones. To deal with this, newer technology uses the element of Carbon. Carbon in the Organic Acid Technology averts corrosion of the cooling system. It also helps in keeping the engine cool, so that it may not overheat.
The orange coolant has a hybrid version as well. This version is a combination of the two technologies and makes use of their best features. It has the cooling effect of Inorganic Additive Technology and the corrosion resistance of Organic Acid Technologies. This hybrid is available in many colors like yellow, pink, red, and blue. This will last for four to five years without being replaced and will run for 150,000 miles.
Aside from the technologies, the chemical compositions also play a huge role in separating one coolant from the other. A green coolant consists of silicates and phosphates. These two ingredients are excellent at performing their jobs. Their jobs are to deter corrosion inside the cooling systems of cars. Since nothing is ever perfect, there is a downside to the presence of phosphate in the green coolant. Phosphate tends to react with the minerals present in hard water. You might wonder why this could be a problem? Well, this reaction results in the creation of a scale in the car’s cooling system, which is destructive to the engine. On the bright side, the green coolant also includes elements of propylene glycol or ethylene glycol, which prevent freezing of the car’s engine.
Orange coolants are made up of carboxylates. This is a key element in preventing corrosion and increasing the longevity of the coolant in the car’s cooling system. Since carboxylates only react with the system’s metal surface that requires protection, it provides a better defense to the modern car engines. This also helps it sustain aluminum at higher temperatures.
Can you mix Green and Orange Coolants?
By now, the information you just went through will have given you the answer to this question. Can you mix green and orange coolants? Yes, you can, and many do. That is why they end up harming their car’s engines.
The two coolants are simply made up of different elements using different technologies. The different elements have different tasks to perform. Mixing organic and inorganic, green and orange coolants cannot have a positive outcome for your car’s cooling system. Mixing the two can create a gel. This gel can be slow-moving, while the engine requires a very runny coolant to perform its cooling function.
The affected consistency by mixing can obstruct the flow and even bring the process of coolant to a complete stop. Passageways will get clogged, which is the most essential to the car’s cooling system. The overheating will in turn impact heater cores, the radiator, and even the water jackets.
The water pump may fail if this continues. Why is it a problem if the water pump fails? This is a huge problem as the water pump generates the force that allows the coolant to move throughout the cooling system. Without it running, the engine overheats. The results of this can be destructive.
The cylinder heads can twist and head gaskets may blow up. This will result in the engine suffering from permanent damage. If this happened to your car, you may consider getting your engine fixed. However, the cost of rebuilding the engine is so high that people prefer buying new cars instead.
As it turns out, knowing more about what color your radiator fluid is can help you understand quite a few things about your car. Green-colored coolants indicate that your car has a steel and copper material engine. This also means you will need to replace your coolant more often. Whereas, if you have an orange-colored coolant, you know your car is well-protected for the next 5 years.
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