Is Coolant the Same As Antifreeze?

Get the answer to this and other questions.

When you’re talking about the liquid in your cooling system then yes, you can talk about coolant and antifreeze as the same thing.

Depending on where you take your car for repairs or servicing, you might hear mechanics refer to the liquid inside the cooling system as coolant or antifreeze, or both. That’s because they’re used interchangeably to describe the liquid in the cooling system that helps the engine run at the correct temperature.

The key difference in terms is simple; the engine needs to be cooled to the correct optimum temperature all year round, even in winter. So the engine needs ‘coolant’ 365 days a year. During cold weather, the coolant needs to have ‘antifreeze’ properties in it to prevent it from freezing. A good quality coolant will already have antifreeze ingredients, so you don’t have to change the liquid inside the engine for each season.

It can be confusing that it has two names – and to add to the confusion screen wash can also have antifreeze properties. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the liquids in your car and what they do.




At Prestone we refer to coolant/antifreeze, as it is one product. Coolant/antifreeze is a mixture of antifreeze agents and water which goes into your car’s cooling system to regulate the temperature. It stops it freezing in winter, but also prevents it from overheating all through the year. Together with the right motor oil, coolant/antifreeze is the most important liquid in your car. Without either, the engine can fail catastrophically. While it can be a good idea to do extra checks of your coolant/antifreeze in cold weather, your engine needs coolant all year round.

Other products, such as screenwash, might describe themselves as containing antifreeze or being able to melt ice, but it’s important to understand that this is separate from the liquid in your cooling system – mixing them up could be disastrous!

coolant antifreezer

What is coolant/antifreeze made from?

Coolant/antifreeze contains an organic compound called monoethylene glycol (MEG), an odourless, colourless, sweet-tasting liquid renowned for its antifreeze properties. When added to water in a car’s cooling system, ethylene glycol lowers the freezing temperature and raises the boiling point, so that the liquid circulating through the engine bay can continue operating regardless of the season or weather conditions.

Mono ethylene glycol (MEG) is toxic to humans and animal so when you use coolant/antifreeze, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s safety advice and instructions, particularly when you’re disposing of the product.

What protection does Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze offer?

Prestone’s ready to use coolant/antifreeze is pre-mixed to offer the best protection against extreme temperatures, from -37°C to +129°C, so you can rest assured that, no matter how extreme the conditions get, you can always keep on driving. Our patented formula has been tested in the most extreme and challenging conditions found on Earth, so we know that it can perform when the going gets tough.

coolant antifreezer

One of the main benefits of Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze is that it is guaranteed to work in any car and can be mixed with any other type of coolant in the cooling system. Ours is the only formula which can be safely mixed with other coolants without causing clogging or expensive engine failure, making it perfect for topping up between service intervals. Because Prestone is suitable to replace any coolant in any car, it’s also perfect for when your car needs a coolant service.

As well as preventing freezing and overheating, Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze also offers exceptional protection against corrosion and scale build-up, the major cause of cooling system problems. In fact, 60% of all engine failures can be attributed to using poor quality coolant. Prestone also contains Bitrex to prevent children and animals from eating it.

If you’re not sure which type of coolant/antifreeze is best for your car, choose Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze, which is guaranteed to work perfectly in any car, regardless of the make or model.

Reliable, efficient and time-tested; Prestone products are put through their paces in the most extreme conditions, so they’re guaranteed to offer brilliant performance and protection. For more information, click here to visit the Prestone homepage.