Different Types of Engine Coolant for Trucks – What to Use?

types of engine coolant for trucks

Engine coolant is a liquid that is used to remove heat from your engine. It is typically made up of water and antifreeze, and it circulates through your engine to keep it cool.

The best way to keep your truck engine running cool is to use the correct type of engine coolant.

But what are the different types of engine coolant? And which one should you use in your truck?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of engine coolant and help you decide which one is right for you. Stay tuned!

Why is Engine Coolant So Important?

Before we dive into the different types of engine coolant, let’s first talk about why engine coolant is so important.

Your truck’s engine produces a lot of heat when it’s running.

The truth is diesel engines of modern-day tend to emit more heat than their predecessors which is why they require much better cooling mechanisms than ever before.

The heat produced can be so extensive that it can damage the engine components if it’s not properly cooled.

Engine coolant helps to dissipate that heat and keep the engine running at a safe temperature.

When picking, it’s important to use the correct type of engine coolant in your truck so that it can properly do its job based on your engine requirements.

Different Types of Engine Coolant for Trucks

In general, there are three main types of engine coolants used for truck engines: water-based, glycol-based, and organic acid-based.

However with changing times, engine types, and requirements there are a few more available nowadays.

Here is a list of all these coolants and their different uses…

1- Water-Based Coolant

This is the most common type of coolant and it’s usually a mixture of water and antifreeze.

Water-based coolant is usually used in trucks that operate in moderate climates. It’s also the cheapest type of coolant.

The color can vary from green to yellow to pink, depending on the manufacturer.

2- Glycol-Based Coolant

This coolant is similar to water-based coolant but it uses glycol instead of water.

Glycol-based coolants are more effective at dissipating heat than water-based coolants. Its color is usually bright green or yellow.

These coolants and generally used in trucks that operate in hot climates.

3- Organic Acid-Based Coolant

This is the most recent type of engine coolant and it’s a mixture of water and organic acids.

These coolants are more effective at dissipating heat than glycol-based coolants. The color of this coolant is usually red or pink.

These are most effective for use in trucks that operate in extremely hot climates.

Besides the above, the types of antifreeze are based on the technology and composition used. These can be categorized as…

4- Inorganic Additive Technology

This type of engine coolant uses inorganic salts to protect against corrosion.

The distinctive green hue of this old-school coolant is recognizable, although it is no longer commonly employed in modern cars since it is less efficient.

While the latest crop of coolants can last up to five years on average, IAT coolant must be changed every two years on average.

5- Organic Acid Technology

A modern, superior coolant OAT comes in various colors, including orange, red, yellow, and occasionally purple.

This is a patented GM formula that may not be compatible with all other car manufacturers.

One of the primary advantages of utilizing OAT is that it can survive up to 50,000 miles, or five years before needing replacement.

6- Hybrid Organic Acid Technology

It’s made from OAT and, as a hybrid, aims to combine the best features of OAT and IAT.

HOAT is usually orange or yellow in color and is commonly used in automobiles produced by Chrysler and Ford.

This long-lasting coolant may be replaced every five to ten years.

difference between coolant vs antifreeze

Coolant vs. Antifreeze- Are They the Same?

Now that we’ve talked about the different types of engine coolant, you might be wondering what the difference is between coolant and antifreeze.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference.

Coolant is a liquid that helps to dissipate heat from the engine. Antifreeze is a type of coolant that also prevents the coolant from freezing in cold weather.

So, all antifreeze is coolant, but not all coolant is antifreeze. Make sense?

Which Engine Coolant Should You Use in Your Truck?

The type of engine coolant you should use in your truck depends on the make and model of your truck.

You can usually find this information in the owner’s manual.

Because most older vehicles used the same cooling system components – brass, rubber, and cast iron parts – the coolant solution was consistent across the countries.

On the other hand, today’s cooling systems differ from vehicle to vehicle, and they might include components made of copper, steel, magnesium, aluminum alloy, or even nylon.

And that’s the reason the type of coolant that is suited for your automobile is dependent on the make, model, year of manufacture, and country where it was constructed.

Today’s drivers, unlike in the 1960s, must be aware of the specific type of coolant that is appropriate for their vehicle.

A few best brands

If you are wondering who manufactures the best coolant for trucks and cars, here are a few top picks that can make choosing the one easier…

  • Valvoline MaxLife Engine Antifreeze
  • Havoline Xtended Life Engine Coolant
  • Shell Rotella ELC Nitrite Free Antifreeze
  • ACDelco Dex-Cool 50/50 Pre-Mix Engine Coolant
  • EVANS Cooling Systems High-Performance Waterless Engine Coolant

Changing the coolant

Once you know the type and brand of coolant you need for your truck, the process of changing your engine coolant is relatively simple.

  1. First, you’ll need to drain the old coolant from the system.
  2. Next, you’ll need to flush the system with water to remove any residue.
  3. Finally, you’ll add the new coolant and bleed the air out of the system.

For more detailed instructions, consult your owner’s manual or a mechanic.

Does the Color of Antifreeze Make Any Difference?

Yes, the color does matter because different types of engine coolant offer different levels of protection.

The different colors indicate what type of antifreeze it is.

For example, green coolant is usually an older technology IAT coolant, while orange or yellow coolants are HOAT.

The purpose of antifreeze is to protect your engine from corrosion and overheating.

It does this by raising the boiling point of the water in your cooling system and by preventing scale and corrosion.

How Do I Know if I Need to Change My Engine Coolant?

Remember, if you don’t change your engine coolant on a regular basis, it can lead to a number of problems.

The most common is overheating, which can damage your engine. Other problems include corrosion, scale buildup, and leaks.

All of these can lead to expensive repairs or even total engine failure.

There are a few ways to tell if you need to change your engine coolant.

One is to check the color of the coolant; if it’s dark, dirty, or rusty, it’s time for a change.

Another way is to check the level of the fluid; if it’s low, that means there’s a leak somewhere in the system.

Finally, you can have a mechanic check the pH level of the coolant; if it’s too high or too low, that indicates that the coolant is no longer effective.


Do new cars have antifreeze in them?

Yes, all new cars and trucks will have engine coolant in them.

The type of coolant will depend on the make, model, and year of the car, as well as the country where it was manufactured.

It’s important to check your owner’s manual to find out what type you have just in case you need them to be replaced later.

With that said, electric cars don’t require engine coolant, as they don’t have an internal combustion engine.

However, they still need a liquid cooling system to regulate the temperature of their batteries and other electronic components.

This system is usually filled with a glycol-based coolant, which can function as an antifreeze.

How often should I change my engine coolant?

The frequency with which you need to change your radiator coolant depends on the type of coolant you’re using.

Organic acid-based coolants, for example, can last up to five years or 50,000 miles.

Inorganic additive technology (IAT) coolant fluids, on the other hand, should be replaced every two years or 24,000 miles.

How can I dispose of old engine coolant?

The best way to dispose of old engine coolant is to take it to a recycling center.

Most auto parts stores, garages, and dealerships have recycling programs for used coolant.

You can also check with your local city or county government to see if there are any special regulations for disposing of hazardous waste.

Final Thoughts

Changing your engine coolant on a regular basis can save your engine from a number of problems.

The most common is overheating, which can damage your engine. Other problems include corrosion, scale buildup, and leaks.

The only thing you need to be aware of is what type of coolant is right for your truck.

So, be sure to consult your owner’s manual or a mechanic to find out.