Picking out coolant can be a difficult task if you don't know what you're looking for. When you have an off-road style vehicle such as a Jeep, it can be a little concerning if you are not sure that you've made the proper choice since it's such an essential part of the engine cooling process. We've gathered the answers to some commonly asked questions to help you along the way.
The three types of coolant are:
- Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT) - Best for older, classic vehicles. Not recommended for use in Jeeps.
- Organic Acid Technology (OAT) - Best for most Jeep models 2013 and newer.
- Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) - Best for most Jeep models 2012 and older.
Coolant may seem like it is a pretty universal topic, but it is important to select the correct formula of coolant for your Jeep model and engine. Selecting the proper type depends on a few factors. Below is some information for you to understand before you make your selection.
How to choose the right coolant for your car?
Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT)
Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT) is known as an old school coolant. Most will recognize it by its bright green color. However, you'll find that this is not used in today's vehicles because it is inefficient. It contains silicates and phosphate corrosion inhibitors to protect metal parts in the engine. While it will be found in many domestic vehicles made before the '90s, it is not found in many modern vehicles, and it is not recommended by Jeep to use this type of coolant in any Jeep model.
Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
OAT, or Organic Acid Technology, is a more modern, efficient coolant for today's vehicles. It does not contain any silicates or phosphates, but it has corrosion inhibitors that make it last for a much longer time.
Because it can wear on some metal parts, it is recommended to be flushed out every ten years or every 135,0000 miles (whichever comes first). This coolant type comes in orange, red, yellow, and even purple/blue.
This type of coolant can be used in different vehicle types and models and sometimes can even be used in older vehicles. In 2013, Jeep changed it's recommended coolant type for all Jeep models to this kind of coolant.
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) is a mixture of IAT and OAT coolant types. It is designed for use in newer vehicles. It does contain added silicates that increase protection on aluminum and aids in preventing corrosion. These additives also help to prevent rusting. HOAT coolants are available in various colors such as yellow, pink, blue, purple, and turquoise.
This coolant lasts for up to 5 years or 150,000 miles, at which point you would want to flush the system out and replace the coolant. This is the preferred type of coolant for many Asian and German car manufacturers and was the recommended type for Jeeps until 2012. In 2013, Chrysler decided to switch to OAT coolant type for it's longer service interval.
Why does my Jeep run hot?
Jeeps can overheat for some different reasons. While this is one of the more common issues with a Jeep engine, it can be hazardous. There are a few reasons that this could happen. It is crucial to find out what the original cause is as soon as possible. Putting off the diagnosis could end up being why you have to replace or rebuild your engine. This could potentially be a costly repair.
Having dirty coolant debris blocking airflow, a broken head gasket, broken cooling fan, gasket leaks, sticking thermostat, or a bad water pump are all things that could potentially cause overheating problems for your engine. Be sure to check out our article here that goes more in-depth on what could be causing this, and be sure to get it checked out by a mechanic.
How can I make my engine run cooler?
There are several small things you can do to help make your engine run cooler. The number one thing to look out for is to make sure that your vehicle's grill is clear of any debris or other obstacles. Having grill decor may be awesome aesthetically, especially on an off-roading Jeep, but it will not do anything to keep your engine clear of debris.
Some other steps you can take are using things to flush your radiator. Products like Radiator Flush & Fill will break up calcified deposits and allow your vehicle's cooling system to run more effectively. Another additive product you can try is WetWater. This is an additive for your coolant system and will help reduce temperatures up to 30 degrees.
Possibly the simplest thing you can do to keep your engine running cooler is to ensure that your vehicle maintenance is always kept up to date. Ensure your Jeep is always tuned up and operating efficiently as the first step to prevent overheating in your engine.
Does it matter what brand of coolant I use?
There are a few factors to consider when selecting the proper coolant and antifreeze. While one brand may have a more superior rating than another brand, the preferred brand will always be up to your own preference and who you ask for a recommendation. There are, however, other things you will want to consider outside of the brand name.
Choose the Correct Type
Keep in mind that there are different types of coolant/antifreeze. The different types all use different technologies in their formulas. Depending on the type of engine and your engine's age, the type of coolant does matter a great deal. Putting the wrong kind of coolant can lead to several problems with your cooling system down the line. Refer to your vehicle's maintenance guide to find out exactly what type of coolant is required for your model and engine type.
Concentrated or not?
One last thing to consider is whether or not you'd like to use a concentrated or diluted form of coolant. When it comes to a concentrated formula, you will have to dilute that with 50% of the solution and 50% water. If you purchase a pre-mixed coolant, you will not want to mix it with water.
Don't change coolant types
The mechanic's rule-of-thumb is to actively work to not change the coolant type that your vehicle was made with. Mixing different types of coolant can be troublesome for your cooling system and difficult to change and clean. Engines were made to operate with a specific coolant type, so it is always best to be sure you're sticking with the manufacturer's recommendation.
What color is Jeep coolant?
2013-2020 Jeeps require the use of OAT coolant. The colors for this type of coolant are orange, bright red, red, blue, and even dark green.
Before 2013, Jeeps required the use of HOAT coolant. Colors for this type of coolant are yellow, turquoise, pink, blue, or purple.
One thing to keep in mind is never to mix the two. You will get a sludgy brown color, and this is not good for your engine.
Can I change coolant myself (and how)?
Changing your own coolant is a viable option, even if you are not a master mechanic. If you know your way around a vehicle and have all the necessary supplies, then changing it yourself is a good alternative. Here are the basic steps:
- Park your vehicle on a level surface. Choose a hard surface with rags set up to help if you accidentally spill some of the liquids.
- Be sure your engine is cool. If you just moved it to a better working surface, give the engine proper time to cool before you begin. You'll need to let it rest between 30 and 45 minutes.
- Jack the car up. You will need enough space to comfortably maneuver yourself under it. Be sure that the jack is secured in all proper locations for your safety. It may also be wise to have someone with you in case you need any assistance.
- Make sure that you protect your eyes and hands. You should be using a pair of safety goggles and some gloves. Both of these should fit snuggly to ensure that they are secure.
- Set your radiator drain pan under the radiator drain valve. For assistance with where this is at, the owner's manual of your Jeep will guide you.
- Open the drain valve using a hand, wrench, or screwdriver. Some vehicles may have a drain cock that needs to be removed before you can open the valve. If needed, remove this first. Be sure to set it in a place where you will not lose it.
- Allow the coolant to drain completely. This process may be quick, or it may take a little time depending on how large or small your cooling system is. The antifreeze will continue to flow until all of it has been removed.
- Transfer the old coolant to a disposal container.
- Close the drain valve using the screwdriver or wrench. Close it tightly. If it is not tight enough, the radiator will leak.
- Perform a radiator flush.
- Now add your coolant. Be sure that if you've selected to use a concentrated formula, you need to mix it with water to dilute it.
- Air-bleed, if your vehicle is new enough to need it, prevents air pockets from forming and causing problems down the line.
Coolant types have changed over the years, making the selection process a little more complicated than it used to be. However, knowing what the differences are and finding the recommendation for your Jeep is important in making the final decision. Keeping your vehicle well maintained and keeping the fluids at a proper level will help make sure your Jeep runs at an optimal temperature. Check out our article here about how to check your antifreeze levels.