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You may have some RV antifreeze lying around in your house and you are wondering; can you use RV antifreeze in a car? This article has the answers.

Can you use RV antifreeze in a car? Can using RV antifreeze in your car damage it? Is it safe to use RV antifreeze in a car?

You can’t use RV antifreeze in a car. While both types of antifreeze are designed for almost the same purpose, their roles are quite different. RV antifreeze lacks the anti-boiling properties found in car antifreeze. So, using RV antifreeze in a car can cause overheating, leading to costly damage.

In this guide, we will take a closer look at whether you can add RV antifreeze in a car. We will explore what RV antifreeze is, the different types available, as well as how to choose the right one for your vehicle. And by the end of the article, you will have a clear idea of which type of antifreeze to put in your car.

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Internal combustion engines, such as those found in cars generate a considerable amount of heat. And this heat can reduce the engine’s performance and efficiency. To minimize this issue, internal combustion engines usually come with a cooling circuit, designed to dissipate part of this heat.

This cooling circuit or system features a combination of different elements and parts. They include a water pump, electric fans, temperature sensors, pipes or hoses, expansion tank, radiators, as well as the coolant, which is also known as an antifreeze.

During the heat engine’s third operating time, extremely high temperatures are generated in the combustion chamber. And this heat has to be dispersed to the atmosphere, thus helping to regulate the engine’s operating temperature.

And this is where the engine coolant or antifreeze comes in. It’s designed to protect a vehicle’s engine from overheating. The coolant also plays a secondary role in lubricating all the moving parts in the engine that it comes into contact with, thus helping to protect against damage to the piston timing, the head gasket, water pump and the cylinder.

Antifreeze also helps to prevent the water circulating in your engine from freezing when temperatures drop. Simply put, it helps to maintain optimal temperatures within your car’s engine.

Types of Anti-freeze Coolants

There are several types of antifreeze-coolants out there, with each coolant designed for a specific engine or purpose. They include:

Anti-Corrosive Coolant

This type of coolant comes with several anti-corrosive additives, designed to prevent corrosion from taking place in the cooling system’s components. Different anti-corrosive coolants come with varying levels of concentration. And as you may expect, the higher the level of concentration, the better the coolant will perform or play its role.

Antifreeze Coolant

Antifreeze coolant is mainly used during the cold season or in areas that experience cold climates throughout the year. As its name suggests, the antifreeze is designed to prevent the coolant liquid from freezing and solidifying in subzero temperatures. Antifreeze coolants come in various types. The most popular ones include:

Organic Antifreeze

Organic coolants feature ethylene glycol as the main antifreeze component as well as demineralized or distilled water. The coolant will protect the engine’s components against corrosion. Also, an organic antifreeze coolant tends to be biodegradable, meaning its negative impact on the environment is minimal.

Besides being environmentally friendly, an organic antifreeze coolant also lasts longer than conventional coolants. Furthermore, it also leaves a lesser amount of solid deposits in the engine’s cooling system. Also, it tends to have a higher boiling point and a lower electrical conductivity, making it highly efficient.

Inorganic Antifreeze

Inorganic engine coolants are ordinary coolants. They are made of various substances like silicates. Over time, these silicates will degrade, leading to corrosion or breakdown in the cooling circuit. Also, inorganic coolants come with a lower degree of corrosion inhibitors.

Hence, they have a shorter lifespan, compared to their organic counterparts. So, if you are using inorganic antifreeze or coolant in your car, you will have to replace it faster than an organic one.

Hybrid Antifreeze

A hybrid coolant combines the most useful features of an inorganic coolant with those of an organic coolant. Hybrid coolants are composed of glycerin, ethylene glycol, antifoam as well as limescale additives.

They also feature a neutralizing reserve, designed to protect the engine’s refrigeration circuit. Some may also feature silicates, which may help to protect the engine’s aluminum surfaces.

Choosing the Right Antifreeze

Coolants are assigned different colors, which correspond with their characteristics. The standard colors that you will find in a coolant are green, yellow, and blue or sometimes pink. Each color denotes the coolant’s efficiency level. It’s also worth mentioning that a coolant’s freezing temperature is directly proportional to the quantity of ethylene glycol that it has.

For instance, if an antifreeze comes with 10% ethylene glycol, then it’s designed to temperature ranges between -40C and 1020C. If the concentration of ethylene glycol in the antifreeze is 25%, then you can use it for temperature ranges between -12.50C and 1030C. The highest concentration of ethylene glycol that you will find in antifreeze is 50%. Such a coolant can be used in temperature ranges between -370C and 1080C.

When shopping for antifreeze, you will come across different types and brands on the market. Also, they come at different price points, with some brands claiming their products are the best.

However, when it comes to buying antifreeze or coolant, you don’t simply choose the one marketed as the best on the market. Instead, you should choose the one that has been recommended for your vehicle’s engine.

The antifreeze that you should use will be indicated in the vehicle’s manual as well as in the expansion tank. To this end, make sure you use the specific brand or one with characteristics indicated on the manual or expansion tank. Using the wrong antifreeze can lead to several engine issues.

Also, you should never mix different types of coolants. For instance, you shouldn’t mix organic antifreeze with an inorganic one. Also, you shouldn’t mix the hybrid coolants with the inorganic or organic ones. Doing so can lead to problems within the refrigeration circuit.

Can You add RV Antifreeze in a Car

You may have purchased some antifreeze for your RV and you may be probably asking yourself whether you can add RV antifreeze in a car. The truth of the matter is that you cannot add RV antifreeze in a car.

As mentioned above, different types of antifreeze or coolants come with different features or characteristics. To this end, each RV is designed for a particular vehicle or engine.

And each type of antifreeze comes with specific lubrication and corrosion protection capabilities, for a particular type of engine. So, if you add the wrong type of antifreeze to your car, in this case, RV antifreeze, there will be serious consequences.

RV antifreeze is mainly designed for plumbing installations on a camper or RV. It doesn’t come with the boiling agents found in car antifreeze. So, adding RV antifreeze to your car can lead to considerable damage to your vehicle. Considering that RV antifreeze doesn’t have anti-boiling properties, your car may end up overheating.