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Can You Use RV Antifreeze in a Car? A Comprehensive Guide
Can you use RV antifreeze in a car? It’s a question that we get all the time here at the shop. And the answer, as with most things automotive, is: it depends. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about using RV antifreeze in a car. From why you might want to do it, to how to do it safely, to what kind of problems you might run into if you don’t do it right. So whether you’re just curious about using it in your car or are actually ready to take the plunge and try it out, read on for all the info you need!
RV Antifreeze Is For The Plumbing, Not The Engine
RV antifreeze is designed to protect your plumbing from freezing temperatures, not your engine. In fact, using RV antifreeze in your car’s engine can do more harm than good.
If you’re looking for a product to use in your car’s engine to protect against freezing temperatures, you should use a product that is specifically designed for that purpose such as Engine Ice or Arctic Freeze. These products are made from safe ingredients that will not damage your engine like propylene glycol can.
First Things First – What is Antifreeze?
Antifreeze is a liquid that is used to lower the freezing point of water, preventing it from freezing in cold weather. It’s usually made of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol and comes in various colors, although most modern antifreezes are green.
While you might be tempted to top off your car’s radiator with RV antifreeze because it’s cheaper, we don’t recommend it. Here’s why:
RV antifreeze is made for RVs, which have different cooling systems than cars. The chemicals in RV antifreeze are also more corrosive than those found in car coolants. This can cause corrosion and leaks in the car’s cooling system.
RV antifreeze also has a different boiling point than car coolant. This can lead to overheating, especially in hot weather.
So, while you might be able to get away with using RV antifreeze in the car in a pinch, it’s not the best idea. If you need to top off your radiator, use car-specific coolant instead. Your engine will thank you for it!
Chemicals You Can Find in Antifreeze
There are a variety of chemicals you can find in antifreeze, and each one serves a different purpose. The most common chemical found in antifreeze is ethylene glycol. It is used as a coolant because it has a very low freezing point (-12°C). It’s also used in car radiators because it has a high boiling point (197°C).
Other chemicals you might find in antifreeze include:
- Propylene glycol: This is another type of glycol that’s often used as an alternative to ethylene glycol. It has a lower toxicity level, making it safer to use. However, it also has a lower boiling point (188°C) and freezing point (-59°C).
- Sodium chloride: This is a salt that’s used to lower the freezing point of water.
- Calcium chloride: This is another type of salt that’s used for the same purpose as sodium chloride.
- Magnesium sulfate: This is a chemical compound that’s often used as a coagulant. 
Car Antifreeze Isn’t the Same as RV Antifreeze
While car antifreeze and RV antifreeze might look the same, they’re actually quite different. Car antifreeze is designed to protect your engine from freezing in cold weather, while RV antifreeze is designed to keep your plumbing from freezing in cold weather.
It is also propylene glycol-based, while most car antifrees are ethylene glycol-based. This means that RV antifreeze is less toxic than car antifreeze, and it’s actually safe to drink in small amounts (although we don’t recommend it).
So, can you use RV antifreeze in a car? The short answer is no. RV antifreeze won’t protect your car engine from freezing, and it could actually damage your car’s engine if used over time. 
Motorhomes Also Use Motor Antifreeze – In The Engine
RV antifreeze is also used in the engine of a motorhome. It’s important to use the right type of antifreeze, as using the wrong type can cause damage to your engine.
You should always check with your motorhome manufacturer to find out which type of antifreeze they recommend for your specific model.
If you’re unsure about which type of antifreeze to use, you can always ask a professional mechanic for advice.
There are two main types of RV antifreeze – propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. Propylene glycol is the most common type of RV antifreeze, as it’s less toxic than ethylene glycol.
Ethylene glycol is more toxic, but it’s also more effective at protecting your engine from freezing.
If you decide to use propylene glycol antifreeze, you should ensure that it’s diluted correctly. If it’s not diluted correctly, it can damage your engine.
You should also be aware that propylene glycol can cause skin irritation, so it’s important to wear gloves when you’re handling it.
Winterizing the RV With Antifreeze
When winterizing your RV, you need to ensure that all the water is drained from the plumbing system. This includes the fresh water tank, grey water tank, and black water tank.
You should also drain the water heater and any other appliances that use water. Once all the water is drained, you can then add RV antifreeze to the plumbing system.
Adding RV antifreeze to the plumbing system will help protect it from freezing and bursting during the winter months.
Once you’ve added RV antifreeze to the plumbing system, you need to run all the faucets and flush all the toilets until the water coming out is pink in color. This will ensure that all the pipes are protected from freezing.
You should also add RV antifreeze to any drains in your RV, such as the shower drain and sink drains. This will help prevent sewage from backing up into your RV if the pipes freeze. 
Once you’ve winterized your RV with antifreeze, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t use any of the plumbing fixtures until spring. This includes flushing the toilets and running the faucets.
What happens when you mix RV and car antifreeze?
RV and car antifreeze are not interchangeable. RV antifreeze is made with propylene glycol, which is safe for human consumption, while car antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which is poisonous. If you accidentally mix the two, it’s important to flush your system and replace all the fluids immediately.
In addition, RV antifreeze has a lower freezing point than car antifreeze, so it’s not effective in protecting your engine from winter weather. If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s best to stick with car antifreeze.
Why do we need Antifreeze anyway?
RV antifreeze is a glycol-based coolant that is used to help prevent your engine from overheating. It does this by transferring heat away from the engine and into the surrounding air. Glycol-based coolants are also able to withstand higher temperatures than water-based coolants, making them ideal for use in RVs.
There are two main types of RV antifreeze: propylene glycol and ethylene glycol. The most frequent type of RV antifreeze is propylene glycol, which is safe for use in both automobiles and recreational vehicles. Ethylene glycol should only be used in RVs as it is toxic to animals and can cause serious health problems if ingested.
Anti Corrosive Coolant
One of the main benefits of using RV antifreeze is that it’s an anti corrosive coolant. This means that it helps to prevent rust and corrosion from forming on the engine. Corrosion can cause serious damage to your engine, so it’s important to do everything you can to prevent it.
RV antifreeze, like other organic antifreezes, has several advantages over water-based coolants. It is more resistant to high temperatures than water-based coolants, and perfect for use in RVs. If you’re looking for an RV antifreeze that can be used in both cars and RVs, propylene glycol is the way to go. However, if you’re only using it in an RV, ethylene glycol is perfectly fine.
Antifreeze coolant is a mixture of water and glycol.
This combination lowers the freezing point of water, which is why it’s used in vehicles – to prevent the engine from freezing up. It also raises the boiling point of water, so that it can withstand higher temperatures without evaporating.
Organic antifreeze is made from plant-based glycols, such as propylene glycol or corn sugar.
It’s a newer type of antifreeze that’s considered to be more environmentally friendly than the traditional kind (which is made from petroleum products).
Organic antifreeze is also less toxic than traditional antifreeze, so it’s safer for animals and children who might accidentally ingest it.
However, organic antifreeze is more expensive than traditional antifreeze, and it doesn’t last as long.
RV antifreeze is an inorganic antifreeze, which means it’s not corrosive. That’s why it’s safe to use in your car. But, you should still take some precautions.
First, make sure you’re using the right kind of RV antifreeze.
Second, don’t mix RV antifreeze with water. It won’t work as well and could damage your engine.
Third, always follow the instructions on the bottle. RV antifreeze is powerful stuff and you don’t want to use too much or too little.
Fourth, be careful when disposing of RV antifreeze. It’s poisonous, so don’t pour it down the drain or throw it in the trash. Take it to a recycling center or hazardous waste facility.
RV antifreeze is a great way to keep your car from freezing in the winter. Just make sure you’re using it safely and following all the instructions.
There’s also a new type of antifreeze on the market: hybrid antifreeze. Hybrid antifreeze is a mix of propylene and ethylene glycol. It’s safe for humans and pets, but it’s also more effective at preventing freezing.
If you’re not sure which type to use, ask your mechanic. And, as always, follow the instructions on the bottle.
Most people think that if you can use RV antifreeze in a car, then you can also use it in any other engine. This isn’t necessarily true. While RV antifreeze will work in a pinch, it’s not the best long-term solution for your car.
The reason for this is because RV antifreeze can to be used in both water and glycol-based cooling systems. Glycol-based coolants are more common in cars, while water-based coolants are more common in RVs.
As a result, using RV antifreeze in a car can lead to corrosion and deposits forming on your engine parts. Over time, this can cause serious damage to your car’s engine.
If you’re in a bind and need to use it in a car, be sure to flush the cooling system completely as soon as possible for removing any harmful deposits that have formed.
In general, it’s best to stick with using the type that’s specifically designed for your car.
How do you know what antifreeze to use and what color?
If you don’t have your owner’s manual, you can also check the label on the coolant reservoir under the hood of your car. This should tell you what type is currently in your car and what needs to be added.
As for color, there are three main types of antifreeze: green, red, and yellow. Green antifreeze is the most common and is typically used in cars with aluminum engines. Red antifreeze is usually used in cars with cast iron engines. Yellow antifreeze is a newer type of antifreeze that can be used in either type of engine.
What is the difference between RV antifreeze and regular antifreeze?
RV antifreeze is a type of propylene glycol, which is less toxic than the ethylene glycol found in regular automotive antifreeze. It’s also designed to be non-corrosive, so it won’t damage your RV’s plumbing system.
However, because it’s not as effective at preventing freezing, you should use RV antifreeze if the RV will be exposed to freezing temperatures for short periods of time. If you’ll be camping in an area with prolonged freezing weather, you should use regular automotive antifreeze instead. 
Another difference is that RV antifreeze is usually pink or red, while regular automotive antifreeze is usually green. This is purely a cosmetic difference, and you can use either type of antifreeze in your RV’s plumbing system without any problems.
Can you use RV and marine antifreeze in a vehicle?
The simple answer is yes, you can. In fact, it’s often recommended as a way to extend the life of your car’s cooling system. It is designed to withstand lower freezing temperatures than standard automotive antifreeze, so it can help protect your car’s engine from damage during extreme cold snaps.
However, if you’ve decided to use it in your automobile, there are a few things to consider. First, ensure that you’re using the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Different types of vehicles require diverse types of antifreeze, so using the wrong kind could actually do more harm than good. Second, be aware that RV and marine antifreeze usually contains propylene glycol, which can be harmful to animals if ingested. If you have pets, make sure they can’t get to the antifreeze while it’s in your car. 
Overall, using it in a car is a great way to protect your engine during extreme cold weather. Just make sure you’re using the right type of antifreeze and keeping it out of reach of pets.
Is Caravan antifreeze the same as car antifreeze?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Caravan antifreeze, also known as recreational vehicle (RV) antifreeze, is similar to car antifreeze in that it is used to protect against engine freezing and overheating. However, there are some important differences between the two products that you should be aware of before using RV antifreeze in your car.
First, caravan antifreeze typically contains propylene glycol, while car antifreeze usually contains ethylene glycol. Propylene glycol is less toxic and hazardous for children and pets. Second, caravan antifreeze often has a higher concentration of glycol than car antifreeze, which means that it can provide better protection against freezing and overheating.
Finally, caravan antifreeze is typically pink or red in color, while car antifreeze is usually green. This color difference is important because it helps you to easily identify which product is which. If you accidentally put caravan antifreeze in your car, it could damage the engine and cause other problems.
What is the difference between marine antifreeze and automotive antifreeze?
The most common type of automotive antifreeze is green, and it’s made with propylene glycol. Marine antifreeze is usually pink or red, and made with ethylene glycol. The two types of coolant are not interchangeable, so ensure you use the right one for your vehicle.
Automotive antifreeze is designed to protect your car’s engine from freezing in cold weather and overheating in hot weather. Marine antifreeze is designed to do the same thing, but it also has to be able to withstand the harsh conditions of salt water. That’s why marine antifreeze is more expensive than automotive antifreeze.
If you’re using your car in salt water, you might be tempted to use marine one because it’s more expensive and therefore must be better, right? Wrong. Marine antifreeze is actually corrosive to aluminum, so it will damage your car’s engine if you use it.
Useful Video: The Basics of R.V. Antifreeze – Gear Up with Gregg’s
So, can you use RV antifreeze in your automobile? The short answer is no. It is made with propylene glycol, just like automotive one, but it also contains formaldehyde, which is toxic. So, even though RV antifreeze will protect your car’s engine from freezing and overheating, it’s not worth the risk of poisoning yourself.
If you’re looking for a safe and effective antifreeze for your car, stick with the automotive kind. It’s less expensive and it won’t harm your engine.
Thanks for reading!