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Author Topic: Did you like it when manufacturers started selling a 50/50 anti-freeze/water mix? Back to Topics
Champion Author

Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 3:48:54 AM

I personally hated it. I found that manufacturers charged the same price or more for the mix, when you actually expected it to go down some.

Also, if you flush your car's coolant yourself with a hose and water, there might be pure water left in engine pockets that does not drain out, so the 50/50 mix makes it impossible to achieve a final 50/50 mix if you add that at the end. What you need is 100% anti-freeze to balance out the water, and a tester. Either that, or know exactly how much water is left in the engine passages.
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
Champion Author Los Angeles

Joined:Nov 2012
Message Posted: Jan 13, 2013 6:32:08 PM

No choice
Champion Author Newfoundland

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Dec 4, 2012 4:59:30 PM

No, since the similar price to full strength coolant means poor value overall. Better off with good quality product such as DexCool and mix it with deionized water. I have not had an overheating or cooling problem, so far.
Champion Author Maryland

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Dec 4, 2012 3:50:34 PM

much cheaper to buy the straight stuff and distilled water at the grocery; dw is also better for ironing.
Champion Author Kansas

Joined:Jan 2012
Message Posted: Nov 30, 2012 9:52:17 AM

I mix it myself. so I can have two gal for one. What I dont care for is long life, green, dex-cool what can be mixed and what can not and now they have any color. Just make one long life and stay with it like phone chargers in the car. just make one plug for all..
Champion Author Arkansas

Joined:Jul 2011
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2012 12:22:52 PM

more water, less chemical and 4 times the price
Champion Author Detroit

Joined:Jul 2011
Message Posted: Oct 7, 2012 12:19:07 PM

Does anyone remember it is called Coolant as well as antifreeze? It also contains things to reduce corrosion, reduce evaporation, lubricants, and a host of other things that would be better suited when mixed to 50/50; to reach the specific density spec'd by OEM and SAE.

And 50/50 mix is cheaper, but not by much. I keep it for refill, but look for the pure stuff after flush and replace.

By the way, have the fluid recycled please. Don't pour it down the drain or on the ground.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2012 8:41:53 PM

Hello once again mileena202. Each of your posts prompts me to reply as they usually contain something important.

The first off topic response is to your concern about the dealer putting water in your washer fluid reservoir. Shame on them! If your Toyota Sienna has one reservoir for both the front and rear washers, you will need to drain it before the freezing temperatures. The older mini-vans used to have two reservoirs. If yours has that arrangement, drain the one in which water was put in. Why? To prevent the tank from freezing and cracking from frozen water expansion and to prevent harm to the electric pump which will either blow a fuse or burn out. If you have a single reservoir (usually under the hood) drain it and the fluid hose to the rear of the vehicle. The dealership should never have put plain water in your vehicle! Make sure to do this before the cold weather arrives.

Now, once again back to your topic. You should not fear a 70/30 mixture, if you need it. Herbie lives in Canada -- he does need it. I don't know about maintroll as there are many Lexingtons in this country. Back to 50/50 -- yeah. Take care.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2012 8:24:02 PM

Hi eccerr0r. Have you ever thought of being a Chemist? All we needed on your post was a Periodic Table of all the chemical elements :-) . I'm going to play the devil's advocate here and, since I know you, I think you will agree.

Pros of 50/50: No muss, no fuss. You don't have to figure out your vehicle's total capacity and "worry" about did you get every bit of old anti-freeze out. Also, as it has become apparent on this thread, there is little chance of clogged radiator/heater cores from municiple or well water. You save up to $2.00 a gallon over full-strength anti-freeze.

Cons of 50/50: You may wish protection below -34 degrees Farenheit. You are actually paying more for your anti-freeze because half of it is water, if your system takes more than one gallon (4 quarts) you must buy two gallons (full strength anti-freeze for the extra $2.00 and distilled water will make two 50/50 gallons making 50/50 anti-freeze much more expensive).

eccerr0r, one other enhancement of anti-freeze in addition to prevention of a freezing and engine corrosion is lubrication of both the thermostat and the water pump bearing (limited) in addition to preservation of the many rubber components (e.g. hoses and gaskets). Take care - MGY
Champion Author Fort Collins

Joined:Apr 2011
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2012 6:29:49 PM

I hate it, I want "pure" antifreeze and I'll mix myself. I'm not anal retentive and it's not hard to get close to 50-50 by just gauging how much you put in of each. Not only this, the 50/50 is not any cheaper than finding 100% - I've gone to getting Walmart 100% Ethylene Glycol over getting Prestone 50/50.

And yes, antifreeze mixture is indeed that, a solution, and if it were solids, it'd be an alloy. The two compounds in it, ethylene glycol and water, interfere with each other in forming a solid when cold. And yes I think the eutectic point is around 70/30 for freezing point depression, great for really cold climates.

However pure water (except for its corrosiveness to steel) makes the best coolant. It's not viscous and has immense heat capacity makes it very easy to transfer heat. That's why in hot clients, pure water plus some corrosion inhibitors makes the best coolant.

The 50/50 mix is only good for those anal retentive who must have exactly 50-50 in their car and worried going a bit over or under would make their car blow up.
Champion Author San Francisco

Joined:Mar 2012
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2012 5:14:25 PM

50/50 is cheaper than 100% antifreeze
Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 6, 2012 3:47:59 PM

Hi Titanic1985. Thanks for the info on anti-freeze. I have always tried to use a 50/50 mixture. For me, I would be scared to go up to 70/30, other than in very cold climates like Alaska or northern Minnesota, since I think the engine takes longer to heat up when you add more anti-freeze, and that means it does not operate at maximal efficiency for longer. I could be wrong, but that is what I think I remember from learning about it in the late 90's and early 2000's.

I am sorry about that faulty PDF you got with a virus, but I am glad you were eventually refunded. I guess I'll have to check the seller's reputation and feedback before buying such a version. That being said, I hope this thread gets back on topic.

And I do apologize for the following, but this is somewhat related to anti-freeze: the dealer just added plain water to my windshield washer fluid reservoir the other day, rather than a mixture with windshield washer fluid anti-freeze. Great for most of California, but if I decide to take a trip to Lake Tahoe or near the Oregon border in Siskiyou County, it could freeze. I should have gone back and complained, but I didn't, due to time restrictions and distance.

[Edited by: mileena202 at 10/6/2012 3:48:56 PM EST]
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 8:08:36 PM

Hi Herbie & Maintroll. After reading your posts regarding the use of 100% antifreeze (no water), I decided to recheck my knowlege since many things change. I found numerious articles stating the mixture should not exceed 70% anti-freeze and 30% water.

I went to the following websibe by Union Carbide, makers of Prestone anti-freeze. My initial statement was correct that a 50/50 ratio prevents freezing to -34 degrees Farenheit. The site has a table which shows the coolant capacity versus the amount of anti-freeze which does support the 70/30 ratio.

The statement reads "Typical antifreeze-to-water mixture is 50% and should never exceed more than 70% - 30% as freezing & boiling properties of the mixture do not improve significantly after that point." Here is the table showing the different mixtures and coolant capacity:

Anti-Freeze and Water Ratios

The lowest coolant freezing point on the chart is -84 degrees Farenheit and the addition of more anti-freeze actually diminishes the freezing point.

I found similiar information for other brands of anti-freeze.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 7:44:16 PM

Hi Mileena202. We're veering off topic a bit, but what you've posted is quite relevant and very accurate.

Yes, the service manuals on disk can be risky. I purchased one online and found it was a pirated copy, made in Germany and contained a virus. A second disk was sent with exactly the same issues. A refund was made by use of a third party involved in the transation and the site was shut down. So yes, there is a danger of defective, inaccurate or dangerous software. On the flip side, I ordered a genuine GM disk from Canada and had absolutely no problems. It can be a buyer beware issue.

The accuracy of any repair manual, whether it be a physical book or a digital media is only as accurate as the source document. Even factory produced manuals are often in error as changes are made to vehicles on an ongoing basis. Many dealer Technical Service Bulletins are updates to previously published data. I know the manufacturer of your vehicle has been making one-half year model changes since the 1970s for things as major as windshield sizes and clutch shafts. For your vehicle, you always must bring in the manufacture date and the VIN when ordering parts. This places DIYers at a disadvantage and even privately owned garages. Many dealerships have multiple medias costing hundreds of dollars each for components of vehicles (i.e. engine, body, electrical emissions etc.). Many of the GBs on this Topic know how to repair vehicles, but are hampered by documentation issues. It is great to have an OBDM II scanner, but try locating the component it declares as defective! It can be anywhere within the vehicle.

Finally, you mentioned fluid disposals. You did your very best to dispose of fluids. Our state just began accepting anti-freeze. Where did it go before now? What more could you have done? No, you are being too hard on yourself in your efforts. Vehicles are becoming harder each year for a DIYer to maintain. I'm sure every DYI GB has war stories similiar to yours.

Let's get back to your topic, ok?

Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 5:52:52 PM

Titanic1985, thanks so much for your kind comments.

I've been trying to get a genuine FSM (factory service manual) for my 2007 Sienna, but I am scared of the PDF versions you mentioned since you really don't know if they are genuine or made by someone else like Haynes, which is notoriously inaccurate. And my year of car is significant, since 2007 was the first year they offered the 3.5, 6-cylinder engine instead of the 4-cylinder one, so it has to be a real manual.

I am going to have to break down sometime and buy a Haynes or Chilton book though, because today I went to take off the fuse cover under the hood because 2 of my 3 DC power outlets in my car aren't working, and I haven't the slightest idea where the latches or whatever are and how to get them open. Pretty stupid I guess, but I learn once it's done the first time.

And I didn't know how to remove the door panel to replace a side-view mirror, so I just ended up tugging on it and I broke the plastic around the door handle latch. Ugh.

Regarding your comment of disposing of fluids, it can be difficult for automatic transmission fluid or coolant. I once took transmission fluid to AutoZone, and they just said dump it in with the oil. And when I did the coolant change long ago, I was flushing the trapped coolant out of the engine with a garden hose, and the water that came out was green, as expected, and slowly became a weaker green. But I couldn't stop until just pure water came out, and I wanted to be sure, so I let a lot of pure water come out. But by that time, the collection container had overflowed and coolant was all over the ground. My fault totally. I should have planned better. I did not want to carry gallons of clean water mixed with only a little anti-freeze with me to be disposed of, nor did I want to drain it in the ground, so I was not sure what to do.
Champion Author Lexington

Joined:Aug 2008
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 9:53:32 AM

We haven't used water in anti freeze in years now.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 9:34:42 AM

Hi Herbie. I see you've ventured off the Computer forum :-) . You said, "You wouldn't dare use anything but pure antifreeze around here." As I recall from reading the bottles, 100% antifreeze actually increases its lowest temperature before freezing. Has that changed? Take care - MGY

[Edited by: Titanic1985 at 10/5/2012 9:35:15 AM EST]
Champion Author Austin

Joined:Mar 2005
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 8:36:41 AM

Champion Author Houston

Joined:Jul 2008
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 7:55:30 AM

I still buy and prefer full strength.
Champion Author Scranton

Joined:Mar 2004
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 7:48:44 AM

GM Titanic. Thanks for the link. C-93
All-Star Author Wisconsin

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 5:04:45 AM

50/50 is all I use plus I have a filter on my trucks like agriculture equipment because when auto makers casted the blocks they couldn't remove all the sand deposits and that stuff causes premature wear on cooling components.
Champion Author Akron

Joined:Jun 2003
Message Posted: Oct 5, 2012 1:43:19 AM

I guess 50/50 is nice because of the extra convenience, but they still sell the regular stuff...
Champion Author British Columbia

Joined:Sep 2005
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 11:59:18 PM

Must be nice. You wouldn't dare use anything but pure antifreeze around here.
Champion Author Cleveland

Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:23:43 PM

doesn't bother me
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 6:29:30 PM

Hi calypso93. I had to research your question regarding the construction of plastic radiators. You are correct from what I researched. The new radiators are constructed with plastic tanks and aluminum cores. Depending on what article you read they may be repairable, but not if the core is damaged. Even the plastic repairs are questioned by some. Here is the best article I could find from eHow:

Plastic Radiator Contruction and Possible Repairs

Thank you for you question as I did learn something new. :-)
Champion Author Newfoundland

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 6:21:00 PM

No, and it's not good value since the price is almost the same. I buy only good quality coolant (DexCool these days) and deionized water and mix accordingly. Have never had an overheating or cooling problem, so far.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 5:29:52 PM

Hello again mileena202. You really should consider being a mechanic as you pay very close attention to details.

You've brought up two very important points. First, use the correct documentation. Even the Owner's Manuals are not always right. My 2008 Equinox was experiencing a low oil pressure problem when new. It was a defective oil sending unit but the manuals and Chevrolet stated only 4.0 qts. of oil. An advisory TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) restated it should be 4.5 qts. I've found the "shop manuals" can cost hundreds of dollars , but you can purchase the disks on the Internet for $20. They are in .pdf (Portable Data File format), so you just print out the pages you need to work on the vehicle. When they get dirty, torn, etc. just thrown them away.

The other item of note was disposal of used anti-freeze. South Carolina just began accepting it for recycling. Some just dump it on the ground or down the drain. It is fatal to dogs and small animals. It also pollutes ground water supplies (i.e. drinking water) and is hazardous to humans.
Champion Author Florida

Joined:Nov 2007
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 4:23:11 PM

Champion Author Scranton

Joined:Mar 2004
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 4:07:38 PM

Just curious if the "plastic radiators" are all plastic, or plastic tanks and metallic cores.
Champion Author Birmingham

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 2:58:44 PM

Bothers me not at all to be honest with you.
Champion Author Oakland

Joined:Nov 2011
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 1:27:53 PM

Hi Titanic1985. Thanks for your constructive post; I was able to learn some things.

I just wanted to point out that when I did do the coolant change myself, it was on my old 91 Chevy Cavalier back in 2004. On my newer Toyota, I let the dealer deal with that this year at 100,000 miles as they have a fluid exchange machine and professional mechanics.

On my old Chevy Cavalier, I did pull the thermostat as I replaced all the hoses at the same time (except heater core ones), and I also pulled the radiator (along with the transmission lines to the radiator) so I could more easily inspect it and backflush it with a hose. In the end, I used Prestone purified radiator water, which I found at Big Lots for only $0.29 a gallon(!) and Peak 100% anti-freeze. But in order to flush the system, I had to use regular water and a hose, and some was left in the engine compartment afterwards. I didn't have an air compressor to use, unfortunately. The good ones cost at least $900 (I also wanted to be able to use an air grinder and DA sander off the compressor without having to wait for the air tank to refill) and I couldn't afford that then, along with the connecting by an electrician to a 240-volt circuit breaker. And I was also renting, so it didn't make sense in that respect either. And they are big and cumbersome.

Also, changing the coolant for me was an all-day job, as I had to wait hours for the engine to cool before and after I flushed it since I didn't want to risk cracking the engine block by shocking the system with cold water. (I ran the engine to get the coolant hot since that holds more dirt than cold. I also ran the engine again to flush it and again to rinse out the flush, so it became hot again each time when I needed to add (cold) water and/or anti-freeze, so I had to wait hours again for the engine to cool) I wish I had had a hot-water hose and tap. And I wonder how professional mechanics add presumably cold anti-freeze to the still hot engine.

I also watched for air bubbles at the radiator opening as I ran the engine at the end, adding anti-freeze, testing its strength, and looking for leaks. Maybe it would have been better to have an mechanic do this, even back then, but I don't know if they really would have checked for something like this.

Finally, I forgot the capacity of my Chevy, but I do know my 6-cyl. 2007 Sienna hold 12.0 quarts of coolant. Strangely, when I did my coolant change on my old Chevy, I called the manufacturer to inquire of the capacity listed in the owner's manual included the overflow tank or not, and they didn't know. And the owner's manual, Haynes, and Chilton each listed different capacities. After that I just bought the paper-edition of the genuine Chevy Cavalier Factory Service Manual. More expensive, but a lot more accurate and detailed.

[Edited by: mileena202 at 10/4/2012 1:33:04 PM EST]
Champion Author Alabama

Joined:Jun 2009
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 1:22:21 PM

Premix coolant has been on the market for decades. Its mostly a scheme to raise prices but there is real benefit to using distilled water rather than that which comes from your hose. You can buy distilled water for about a buck a gallon at most any grocery store.
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 11:53:39 AM

Hi bluenvoy. You said "That's for the "I don't want to mix it" bunch." This is a true statement, but there is another issue.

Many, perhaps most, people add municiple tap water or well water when mixing full strength with water. This is not a good thing, especially well water, as they contain contaminents such as calcium which will block the very narrow radiator cores. In my garage days, I've taken many radiators out to have them "rodded" to allow coolant flow. As stated to mileena202, the newer radiators are plastic, so this method of correction is not possible. Also, today's vehicles have a very marginal cooling system. My 2012 Chevrolet Sonic says in the Owner's Manual that it is alright to have the temperature light come on during hot weather and hilly driving (huh?) and to pull over to allow cool down. You and I both know that stopping an engine and terminating coolant flow actually causes engine temperatures to rise. The electric fan will temper how high it goes.

The solution is to buy a gallon of distilled water, usually found in the pharmacy areas of stores, and mix that with full strength anti-freeze on a 50/50 basis. I learned about this back in 1978 with my Toyota Corona. It had a temperature guage and I noticed the normal temperature kept rising. A mechanic advised me of the problem after I swapped out the thermostat. I've used distilled water ever since and have never had a problem.

Your comment was right, but I bet most people using the 50/50 antifreeze never gave a thought to contaminated water. Take care :-) .

[Edited by: Titanic1985 at 10/4/2012 11:54:27 AM EST]
Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 11:32:37 AM

Hi mileena. Once again, another good topic :-).

A 50/50 mix usually provides protection to -34 degrees in the winter and enhances the pressurized cooling system's abilities during the hot summer months. Your concerns regarding "left over coolant" does not radically affect the freezing point. There actually is a point where too much anti-freeze and not enough water lessens its effects and raises the freezing point.

You should not be flushing "your cars coolant yourself with hose and water." It is not effective or necessary on newer engines. Most (not all) of today's engines contain aluminum blocks and cylinder heads. The ONLY effective way to "flush your car's coolant" is to take out the thermostat and perform a high pressure reverse flush using water and compressed air throughout the entire engine. You cannot do that with an installed thermostat in the closed position and a garden hose!

One of the reasons for older rusting cast iron engine blocks was that they were an open system. Older engines did not have a coolant recovery tank, just a radiator overflow rubber tube. Working on the same principle as today's vehicles they would discharge antifreeze through the overflow tube, onto the street. When the engine cooled down, it would draw air, not a recovery tank filled with anti-freeze back into the system. Air space in the cooling system would promote the formation of rust. We would always warn customers that if a pressurized reverse flush were done to an older engine with rust, it may reopen leaks sealed by contaminates. We also found customer's didn't always tell us they used Barrs Leak to seal leaks. Sometimes they would put in two containers of Barrs Leak and actually block the smaller diameter heater core. Reverse flushing would undo the "seal" and the leaks would return. The only true repair was removal of the radiator or the heater core and either replace it or have them repaired. Many of today's radiators are plastic, so repairs are not an option.

Mileena202, your major concern (I do know you have a Toyota Sienna) should be draining a coolant system and trapping air within the engine when refilling. This can produce a "hot spot" which can severely damage an engine. Some manufacturers recommend having a dealership (or I would say a mechanic with knowledge) do this. My best advise to you is to stop using a water hose and carefully read the Owner's Manual on this topic. You should also be aware that putting cold water in a hot aluminum (or even cast iron) can crack the block. That would mandate a very expensive repair.

Cooling systems are not what they used to be. They typically run 195 degrees versus the older cars which had 165 degree thermostats. Changing a thermostat to a lower temperature will adversly affect engine performance as the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) carefully monitors engine temperature for many functions, including enabling overdrive in an automatic transmission. Also, the days of a four gallon cooling system requiring two gallons of anti-freeze are only present in larger engines found in trucks.

We also now have electric thermostatically controlled fans instead of the convention clutched fans or those that ran continuously via belts. Two points of this discussion. The electric fans were introduced to increase fuel economy. The second point is NEVER work around an engine with loose fitting clothing or the battery connected (unless necessary) as the electric fans can turn on without warning and with the ignition switch in the "off" position. There is extreme danger here!

I will address a post by bluenvoy which you should also read. He has also addressed another "issue". Take care :-) . MGY

[Edited by: Titanic1985 at 10/4/2012 11:35:08 AM EST]
Champion Author Mississippi

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 11:16:03 AM

I've got a couple of gallon jugs available. I'll get it full strength and dilute it myself
Champion Author Nashville

Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 9:27:22 AM

That's for the "I don't want to mix it" bunch.
Champion Author Winnipeg

Joined:Apr 2011
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:28:50 AM

Have to agree it's quite a price to pay for the water half.
Sophomore Author Virginia

Joined:Mar 2011
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:27:02 AM

Do not like the 50/50 mix. Simply put, they charge you a premium price for water.
Champion Author Boston

Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:10:54 AM

In an era of $4 gas, with anti-freeze lasting 50- to 100,000 miles I don't sweat the cost of anti-freeze. It's a lot cheaper than replacing a leaking radiator.
Champion Author Boston

Joined:Jul 2005
Message Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:07:21 AM

The last time I purchased Anti-Freeze was in a 55 gallon Drum. Not a 50/50
mix. Used the whole drum on one engine.
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