Is It Safe Mixing Dexcool and Universal Antifreeze?

Among the coolants, Dexcool and universal antifreeze are the most used. At times you may think of mixing up the Dexcool & universal antifreeze when there are no or few options. 

But if you mix the Dexcool coolant with non-Dexcool coolants, it will cause the Dexcool to turn into a gel and become sludge. As a result, you may have to have more expensive repairs made to the cooling system. 

Now it leaves a curiosity to know more! So, to grasp more details about can you mix DEX cool with universal coolant, stay tuned!

What Will Happen If You Mix Dexcool And Universal Antifreeze?

Happen If You Mix Dexcool And Universal Antifreeze?

Dexcool is a specially formulated coolant for GM. For different GM applications up through the 2004 model year, Dexcool won’t blend with the universal coolant. 

So, you should not mix the Dexcool coolant with the universal antifreeze. These types of antifreeze are void of endorsement by GM. 

These two coolants form a gel-like product and prevent your engine from cooling properly. As a result, the engine can be overheated. 

Besides, mixing dexcool and universal antifreeze reduces the coolant integrity and can damage the different components of the coolant system of your GM vehicle. 

[Note: Mixing the green coolants with the Dexcool will reduce its effectiveness to 2 years/ 30,000 miles, whereas the normal effectiveness of Dexcool is five years/15,000 miles.]

So, you should avoid mixing up the universal antifreeze with the Dexcool. There are a few alternatives out there for the Dexcool. 

You can add these alternative coolants with Dexcool, thoroughly mentioned in the below section.

Read Also: Can You Mix Orange And Green Antifreeze?

What Antifreeze Are Compatible With Dexcool?

As you know, Dexcool specializes in GM vehicles and is not compatible with all coolants. 

So, in your user manual, it is important to check what coolants or antifreeze are compatible with Dexcool or your vehicle. 

In general, some most popular brands are compatible with Dexcool. These include the following: 

1. Prestone® Prime® DEXCOOL®

Prestone® Prime® DEXCOOL® preserves the engine parts for up to five years or 15,000 miles. 

Besides, it protects against corrosion, rust, and the scale of your vehicle’s cooling system. It manages the temperature of the engine and prevents freezing.

PropertiesPrestone® Prime® DEXCOOL®
Freezing point-34°F (-36°C)
Boiling point229°F (109°C)

2. Zerex G-05 Antifreeze/Coolant

Zerex G-05 Antifreeze/Coolant ethylene glycol-based coolant and fully formulated. It is specialized in light trucks, passenger cars, and heavy-duty vehicles. You can use it for both diesel and petrol engines. 

It also protects the components of the cooling system as well as protection. For protection from the deposits of hard water and scale, it has additives of deposit control.

PropertiesZerex G-05 Antifreeze/Coolant
Freezing point-36°C [50% V/V]
Boiling point162°C [undiluted]107°C [50% V/V]
pH7.5 – 11.0

3. Peak Global Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant

Peak Global Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant provides a lifetime guarantee of protection as long as you own your vehicle. 

Modern organic acid technology provides maximum protection against rust and corrosion damage. 

You can use it in any vehicle regardless of its model, make, and year of Asian, American, and European automobiles.

PropertiesPeak Global Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant
Freezing point-37 °C (-34 ºF)
Boiling point107 °C (224 ºF)
pH8 – 9

Read Also: What is Dexcool

Dexcool Vs Universal Antifreeze?

The difference between Dexcool and universal antifreeze is always a concern for the owner of the vehicles. Antifreeze has both pros and cons of its own. So, it is better to know the differences between them.

Dexcool is a modern type of antifreeze manufactured by GM in the 1990s vehicles. The main component of the Dexcool is ethylene glycol. Besides, it uses organic corrosion inhibitor additives in place of silicates.

Dexcool is specialized for lasting longer than universal types of antifreeze. It recommends replacing Dexcool every five years or after 15000 miles.

On the other hand, universal antifreeze is the traditional type of coolant made of propylene glycol. It uses inorganic compounds like silicates to prevent corrosion.

Universal antifreeze has a shorter lifetime and is recommended to change every two years or 24,000 miles.

Can You Switch From Dexcool To Universal Antifreeze?

You can switch from Dexcool to universal antifreeze in the condition of the manufacturer’s recommendation.

If you are using Dexcool in your vehicle and want to use any other coolants instead of it, first, you have to flush the system with whatever coolants you will use.

Because if you use any other coolants while you are using the Dexcool, it can have potential engine damage. So you should flush the system as described below:

Tools Required:

  • A hose
  • Desalinated water
  • Buckets or container


  • Drain all the old antifreeze in a clean bucket or container from your radiator. 
  • Now start the engine after adding fresh water to the radiator. Now let the engine run for a few minutes. 
  • When the temperature reaches operating temperature, turn off your engine and let the engine cool down completely. 
  • Repeat the above steps 1 or 2 times to ensure proper & total flush of the system. 
  • You can add the new antifreeze to the radiator now, following the manufacturer’s instructions for your vehicle.

Which Chemicals Should You Not Mix With Antifreeze?

As a general rule, you should not mix the green antifreeze with the red one. Although it will not directly impact the engine, the chemical interaction with each other and the final solution will become thick. 

As a result, the engine will have to overheat due to the lack of coolant transmission. Apart from these, there is a list of chemical substances you should not mix with antifreeze. Here are some of those substances.

  • Water
  • Motor oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Transmission fluid

Read Also: What Color is Dexcool

How Do I Know My Vehicle Needs Antifreeze Coolant Service?

Coolant prevents the engine from overheating and helps the engine to run at the optimal temperature in all climates. So, the perfect level of coolant and its functionality is likely to be a must. 

But how will you know that your vehicle requires the service of antifreeze? Here are a few effective ways to identify.

  • Prolonged cooling time of the air conditioning system 

When there is a low level of coolant, the air conditioning system will take too much time to cool down the interior of the vehicle. 

It will take a few minutes to cool, regardless of how hot the inside is. But if you notice that cooling the air conditioning takes more than 20 minutes, it can be an antifreeze issue. 

  • Unique smell

In case you can smell maple syrup in your vehicle, that means that your vehicle needs a coolant or antifreeze service. This unique smell is due to the leak in your vehicle’s cooling system. 

It is a red flag signal; whenever you notice this symptom, you should visit a mechanic to cancel your planned trip.

  • The rising temperature of the temperature gauge 

When the antifreeze or coolant is low or leaking from the system, the temperature of the temperature gauge gets higher and higher. 

So, it is also an important indication for the antifreeze or coolant service. 

What Are The Guidelines For Maintaining Engine Coolant?

Now, the discussion comes to the last but not the least point- maintenance of the engine coolant. Whether you are using Dexcool or universal antifreeze, you should- 

  • Inspect the condition of the antifreeze of your vehicle after every oil change.
  • Change the antifreeze at least after two years or 2500 miles, whatever comes first. 
  • If you notice the rusty color of your coolant, get the coolant changed because the rusty color indicates that the rust inhibitor of the coolant is broken and can no longer prevent rust. 
  • Get the coolant changed when it smells burned or the coolant feels gritty while touched. 
  • If needed, get help or consultation from your vehicle manufacturer or consult the professionals.

Read Also: Accidentally Put Water in Coolant

Frequently Asked Questions

Here, we will answer some of the queries that may creep into your mind after reading this article. So, to know more about the can you mix DEX cool with universal coolant, you may refer to the following answered questions.

Is Ford Orange coolant the same as Dexcool?

No, the Ford orange coolant and the Dexcool are different. The new Ford coolant is OAT and is not compatible with the Dexcool. So, you have to use the coolant that meets up the specification of your vehicle. 

Is Dexcool the same as coolant?

Dexcool is a GM-specialized coolant. Although it is not called antifreeze, it can work the same. So, you do not have to be concerned about replacing the Dexcool in the winter months. 

Can you mix Dexcool with green?

You should not mix the Dexcool with green coolants. It can degrade the coolant integrity and damage the components of your vehicle’s cooling system. 

Can you mix ethylene glycol with Dexcool?

Yeah, you can mix the ethylene glycol with Dexcool. The main component of the Dexcool is ethylene glycol, so you can mix the ethylene glycol without any issue. There will be no problem.

Can you mix OAT and Dexcool?

The OAT-type coolants are GM® Dexcool®, all brands made with Penray 2798 inhibitor technology, Texaco® Havoline®, and Prestone® Extended Life. You can mix up these coolants without affecting the performance of the coolant.

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