green vs orange engine coolant

Green vs Orange Coolant: Differences Explained

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see our full disclosure policy for details.

For an engine’s cooling system, antifreeze or coolants play an important role in helping it work efficiently. Coolants make it difficult for your engine to freeze or overheat. So, it is important that you use the right type of coolant for your engine. This is where many drivers have a tough time. Which color of coolants should you use? Is the green one better than the orange? Is the color such a big deal?

Green and Orange engine coolant is considered to be a healthy clean coolant for the engine. All coolants serve the same purpose. Depending on the weather conditions, they either prevent overheating or freezing. Coolants also provide corrosion protection. Since the cooling system of your car is mostly composed of metals, using water can lead to corrosion. 

Engines can be prone to the formation of deposits or scales which affect the cooling capability of the system and cause your engine to deteriorate faster than it should. Engine coolants or antifreeze helps with this issue.

These days, many coolants on the market contain anti-foam additives. These anti-foam additives prevent foam from forming in the cooling system. This helps with preventing your engine from deteriorating fast and boosts engine performance.

What are Green Coolants?

As the name implies, green engine coolants refer to the coolants that work perfectly in older car engines. They are manufactured with a lot of copper and steel ingredients that make them suitable for the kind of cooling system in a car engine.

They come with their distinguishing features which include the addition of the popular Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT). IAT is a product of a mixture of a range of compounds, including silicones and phosphates.

The phosphorous compound serves as water softer, helping to remove lubricants, including grease and oil. On the other hand, Silicones serve as a metal cap, helping to seal the engine metals from the elements and moisture. The silicone compound also helps to keep the metals from general wear and tear.

Whether it is the synthetic polymers (Silicones) or the inorganic ore (PO₄³⁻), the IAT contains ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. The propylene or ethylene prevents your engine from high temperature (overheating). The idea behind IAT innovation is to ensure the protection of the cooling system and the engine. It’ll prevent rust, corrosion, and the effect of the elements.

What are Orange Coolants?

Antifreeze also comes in orange color. Like the green coolants, orange antifreeze is designed to protect your engine against corrosion, rust, and moisture. It is manufactured for newer cars that have a cooling system with nylon and aluminum components.

It is a mixture of carbohydrates, and these are popular as anti-corrosion and anti-rust compounds. Orange antifreeze is ideal for the metal parts of your cooling system. It doesn’t tamper with the non-metallic parts.

Green and Orange Coolants: Differences Explained


For green coolants, the major ingredients are phosphates and silicates. These chemicals help reduce the rate of corrosion. However, one thing to note is that phosphates can react with minerals present in water. This can cause scales to form.

Green coolants can come in either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. Propylene is usually the manufacturers’ favorite today because it is less toxic than ethylene glycol.

Meanwhile, orange coolants have carbohydrates present. Carboxylates are great at inhibiting corrosion, and they have an extra-long lifespan. The most interesting thing about carboxylates is that they only interact with metal surfaces that need protection. Green coolants instead just cost the entire surface of the cooling system.

Carbohydrates are very beneficial to modern engines. It is better at protecting aluminum at high temperatures and providing more effective heat transfers while prolonging their lifespan.


Many car owners usually ask if it’s a great idea to mix orange and green coolants. While both serve a similar purpose, it is a bad idea to mix both of them. Mixing them both will make the inorganic and organic ingredients to form a gel in the cooling system. This is bad for your engine because your engine cooling system needs a very fluid coolant, not sluggish gel. As a gel, the coolant will have a hard time flowing properly. 

This gel mixture can also cause the coolant to stop flowing. It can clog up the radiator, heater cores, and water jackets. It can also cause the water pump to overheat. If all these continue to happen, your car may end up with water pump failure. When this happens, your engine will start to overheat. If it is allowed to continue for long, your engine might suffer serious damage.

So if you’re still thinking of mixing both coolants, don’t do it.

Performance Measures

In terms of performance, there’s a difference between a green coolant and an orange one.

Green coolants use Inorganic Additive technology, and also features anti-corrosion additives. They have a lifespan of two to three years.

Orange coolants use Organic Acid Technologies. This is more modern technology. The additives present in orange coolants don’t just cool the engine, but they also prevent corrosion. They typically last longer than Green coolants.

Which One Should You Use?

The choice of coolant you should use for your engine depends on your engine build. You shouldn’t just go ahead and use whichever. 

Green coolants are specially designed for pre-2000 cars that have copper and steel in their radiators.

Modern cars use nylon and aluminum, and the orange antifreeze has been specially designed to deal with the new materials in modern car engine cooling systems.

Final Thoughts

Well, we hope you understand the difference between orange and green coolants. They both have similar functions but in-depth, there’s a difference between both of them. So, you should know the composition of your car engine cooling system to know which coolant is ideal. And you should never try to mix both of them to avoid serious engine problems. If you’re second-guessing which suits your car, contact a mechanic.

Similar Posts