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Does prestone antifreeze mix with any color?

Antifreeze is an essential fluid for vehicles that operate in cold weather climates. It helps prevent the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing, which can cause severe damage. Prestone is one of the most popular brands of antifreeze/coolant available. But does Prestone antifreeze mix with other colors and brands? Keep reading to find out.

Prestone makes antifreeze in several different colors, most commonly green, yellow, red, pink, blue, gold, and orange. The color is added to the antifreeze as a way to identify the type and properties of the fluid. However, the question remains – can you safely mix Prestone antifreeze of different colors in your cooling system?

The short answer is yes, Prestone antifreeze can be mixed with other colors as long as they are the same type of fluid. However, there are some caveats to keep in mind.

Prestone Antifreeze Types

Prestone currently makes three main types of antifreeze/coolant:

  • Prestone LongLife Antifreeze/Coolant – typically green or yellow
  • Prestone Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant – typically red or gold
  • Prestone Heavy Duty Antifreeze/Coolant – typically orange or blue

Each formula is designed for specific vehicle types and applications. The key thing to know is that you should only mix colors within the same antifreeze type. Mixing between types is not recommended.

Mixing Colors Within Types

Let’s take a deeper look at mixing colors within each Prestone type:

Prestone LongLife Antifreeze/Coolant

The standard Prestone LongLife antifreeze comes in green or yellow colors. Both provide 150,000 miles of protection for most vehicles. The colors simply help identify the fluid but have no impact on performance. Green and yellow LongLife can be safely mixed together.

Prestone Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant

Prestone Extended Life antifreeze provides 300,000 miles of protection and comes in red or gold colors. As with LongLife, the color is just for identification and has no bearing on function. Red and gold Extended Life antifreeze can be mixed.

Prestone Heavy Duty Antifreeze/Coolant

For heavy duty diesel engines, Prestone makes an antifreeze that meets or exceeds ASTM D6210 requirements. It is sold in orange or blue colors. Again, the color is primarily for identification purposes and does not change the properties of the fluid. Orange and blue Heavy Duty antifreeze can be intermixed safely.

Mixing Different Types

While mixing colors within the same Prestone type is fine, it is best to avoid mixing between types. For example:

  • Do NOT mix standard green LongLife with red Extended Life
  • Do NOT mix orange Heavy Duty with yellow LongLife

The reason is that each Prestone type has different formulations designed for specific applications. Mixing between types dilutes the additive packages and can reduce effectiveness and corrosion protection. Always check your owner’s manual if you need to top off or change fluid types.

Mixing Prestone with Other Brands

Can Prestone antifreeze be mixed with other major antifreeze brands? In most cases, yes – as long as you match the type of fluid. For example:

  • Prestone LongLife can be mixed with other standard ethylene glycol coolants like Zerex G-05 and Valvoline ZEREX Original Green.
  • Prestone Extended Life is compatible with other hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT) antifreezes like Zerex G-05 and Havoline Extended Life.
  • Prestone Heavy Duty can be mixed with other nitrited organic acid technology (NOAT) heavy duty coolants.

Again, always check your owner’s manual if you need to top off with a different brand. The formulations should be matched as closely as possible.

Mixing Ratios

When mixing Prestone antifreeze types or colors, you should generally not exceed a 70/30 mix. For example:

  • 70% Prestone Extended Life red
  • 30% Prestone Extended Life gold

Or:

  • 70% Prestone LongLife green
  • 30% Prestone LongLife yellow

This 70/30 mix ratio maintains the corrosion inhibitor package while allowing some minor mixing. Do not exceed 50/50, and avoid mixing with generic antifreeze without additive packages.

Using Full Strength vs. Premix

Prestone makes antifreeze in full concentrated form, as well as 50/50 premixed formulations already diluted with distilled water. Use the following mix ratios when adding full strength concentrate to a 50/50 pre-mix:

Full Strength Concentrate 50/50 Premix
25% (1 part) 75% (3 parts)
33% (1 part) 67% (2 parts)
50% (1 part) 50% (1 part)

These ratios will still provide freeze protection and maintain the correct antifreeze concentration.

Flushing the System

If you need to change Prestone types entirely, best practice is to flush the entire cooling system first. This removes any old antifreeze and prevents cross-contamination. Follow these steps:

  1. Drain the existing antifreeze from the radiator.
  2. Fill the system with clean water and run the engine to circulate.
  3. Drain the flush water completely.
  4. Check thermostat and hoses for any remaining coolant.
  5. Refill with the new Prestone antifreeze type.

Thoroughly flushing the system helps avoid any fluid incompatibility issues and provides maximum protection.

Conclusion

In summary, the main rules for mixing Prestone antifreeze are:

  • Only mix colors within the same type (LongLife, Extended Life, Heavy Duty).
  • Avoid mixing different Prestone types together.
  • Match Prestone types when mixing with other major brands.
  • Use a 70/30 mix ratio for topping off and minor mixing.
  • Flush the entire system when changing antifreeze types.

Following these simple guidelines will prevent any coolant incompatibility and help your antifreeze provide maximum freezing and corrosion protection. Always refer to your owner’s manual if you have any questions about antifreeze selection and mixing.