What Is the Normal Coolant Temperature for a Car?

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What Is the normal coolant temperature for a car? This is one of the questions car owners often ask in order to know when their car is overheating.

Well, normal coolant temperatures vary from car to car, but the normal range is between 195-220 degrees Fahrenheit for most cars.

We’re going to find out more in this post. Let’s get started!

What is a Coolant?

A car coolant, also known as antifreeze, is a fluid-like substance that protects the engine from overheating in extreme heat or freezing in the extreme cold by maintaining the average recommended operating temperatures.

It also serves as a lubricant for the engine’s moving parts, thereby regulating the heat generated by these parts. This function also helps in preventing overheating.

Automotive coolants are all glycol-based, and the most common coolants consist of a mixture of ethylene glycol with additives and some water. Another common variety consists of propylene glycol and water.

Coolant is mostly used in hotter/tropical weather, while the antifreeze is used in colder/temperate climate.

Read Also: Why Your Car May Overheat While Driving in Cold Weather

What Is the Normal Coolant Temperature for a Car?

What Are the Types of Coolants

As stated earlier, the normal coolant temperature for a car is usually between 195-220 degrees Fahrenheit.

Deviations from this range are usually bad for the engine. When the coolant temperature for a car goes higher than 240-degree Fahrenheit, it usually indicates that the engine is overheating.

An overheating engine should be a cause for concern because driving a car with an overheating engine for even just a short distance can put the vehicle’s essential components, such as engine block, cylinder head, and other internal parts, at risk of destruction.

Advancements in automobile technology have made it easy for drivers to detect a glitch in the car’s cooling system.

Unlike the older models, modern vehicles have a gauge that continually displays the coolants’ temperature reading. It is now up to the driver to pay attention.

What Are the Types of Coolants?

Different cars require different coolants. The type of coolant used is determined by the engine type, country of manufacture, and even vehicle age.

There are different coolants for diesel and petrol engines, American, Asian and European cars. Each coolant type is specifically formulated to keep the designated engine type running in extreme temperatures.

Knowing the different coolant/antifreeze types is imperative, so you do not use the wrong one for your car engine. The three types of coolants that are routinely used to service vehicles are listed below.

1. Inorganic Acid Technology Coolant (IAT)

This coolant is the conventional coolant that was used on older car models for so many years.

The IAT coolant tends to lose its qualities faster as it is inferior to the newer coolant formulas. The IAT coolant needs to be changed every two years or every 24,000 miles.

As opposed to the 5-year lifespan of its contemporaries. A clear indication of its inferiority when compared to the others.

2. Organic Acid Technology Coolant (OAT)

General motors mostly use the Organic Technology Coolant, which is of higher quality than IAT coolants. They require a change after five years or 50,000 miles and are available in colors ranging from dark green, orange, pink, and blue.

3. Hybrid Organic Technology Coolant (HOAT)

Hybrid Organic Coolants are a hybrid of Inorganic Acid Technology Coolant and Organic Technology coolant.

This coolant type is the coolant of choice for newer model vehicles. It also requires the same time change interval as the OAT coolant unless otherwise specified by your dealership or mechanic.

How Do You Know the Right Coolant For your Car?

The best way to know the right coolant for your car is by going to your dealership or car service center.

Each car brand and model have a specific coolant type for it, and you can only know when you take it to a professional.

You do not want to make the mistake of putting the wrong coolant type in your car as it may not perform the function it was designed to perform, thereby putting your entire engine at risk of freezing or overheating.

If you think you can do without your mechanic or dealership’s help when it comes to putting coolants in your car, make sure you read the coolant label and your car’s user manual correctly. The type of coolant to be used is always in there.

The different colors of coolants can be confusing. This is why you are advised to read what the coolant bottle says and not just rely on the color.

Different coolant producing brands may produce coolants with colors different from what you are naturally used to. Do not fret. Check your car user’s manual to know your car’s exact coolant requirement.

You must keep notes on the coolant you used and the time you used it. This comes in handy when it is time for you to flush your engine a few years down the line.

If your car is an older model car, you should check your vehicle’s coolant level every time you fill-up the fuel tank. If you need to change the coolant immediately, locate the coolant reservoir in the car’s hood. It is not the radiator.

The coolant reservoir is usually a translucent white color and has a hose that is connected to the radiator. Pour in the recommended coolant type for your car until it reaches the fill range line.

If your car always needs are coolant replacement, then the reservoir may likely be leaking.

Read Also: Major Causes of Overheating Car

Can Water Be Used as A Coolant?

Can Water Be Used as A Coolant

Yes, water can be used as a coolant in tropical climates. It has the advantage of being low cost and accessible. It also transfers heat quicker and more efficiently than coolants.

It is not advised that you use just water as a coolant because readily available tap water typically has dissolved solids.

These minerals can concentrate and leave deposits in your engine. These deposits, which corrodes surfaces, are almost impossible to remove.

Distilled water is the only water that should be used as a coolant, and this is only if the engineers recommend it. This is the part where you recheck your owner’s manual.

Distilled water, although it doesn’t contain harmful minerals like tap water does, is as guilty in the oxidation of steel and cast iron, whereas coolants have corrosion inhibition properties.

Another factor to consider is the fact that water evaporates quickly. So, you may not know when the water in the coolant reservoir completely evaporates, especially during long trips. This puts your engine at the risk of overheating.

What Can Cause High Coolant Temperature?

The most common cause of high coolant temperature is a bad thermostat or a radiator blockage due to rust.

A flawed cooling system, such as a failing water pump and a loose fan belt, can cause a rise in the coolant’s temperature.

If the other things mentioned above are functioning optimally, you may have to check whether your top cylinder gasket is leaking. It is most unlikely since the problem is usually from more superficial things.

If you drive an old car or use water as a coolant without an actual coolant, you will most likely need a new radiator.

Coolants are also rust inhibitors. When the inside of your radiator rusts, the rust becomes a thin insulating blanket that could reduce heat transfer.

This reduces your radiator’s heat exchange capacity by up to 50%, which in turn increases the coolant temperature of your car.

Read Also: Why a Car May Overheat in Traffic


The importance of maintaining a normal coolant temperature cannot be overemphasized.

A normal coolant temperature is essential for your car to function correctly, especially in hot weather conditions.

You must keep the coolant temperature within the recommended 195-220-degree Fahrenheit range.

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