What’s the difference between coolant and antifreeze?

I needed to put more coolant in my car today, but when I went to the store I saw that there was both antifreeze and coolant—I’ve always thought those were the same thing. What’s the difference between coolant and antifreeze?

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Answer provided by
Andrew (Andy) Biro
Answered on Apr 13, 2022
The main difference between coolant and antifreeze is that antifreeze is an ethylene glycol-based liquid whereas coolant is a diluted mixture of antifreeze and distilled water.
Coolant and antifreeze are technically two different things, even though they have the same basic function—keeping your engine cool—but the reality is that they are very similar.
Antifreeze in its pure, concentrated form cannot be used as-is and must be diluted with water before it can do its job properly. Once antifreeze has been mixed with water—usually at a 50/50 ratio—it becomes known as coolant and can be used in your vehicle.
Most auto shops offer the option to buy antifreeze by itself, to be diluted at home by the buyer, or as a pre-mixed coolant.
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