Coolant Types for the Pontiac Vibe

by Solace Powell
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containers of anti-freeze and coolant for cars. products image by L. Shat from

General Motors advises that Pontiac Vibe owners use only DEX-Cool engine coolant in the car. Since 1996, all GM vehicles leaving the factory have been factory filled with the Dex-Cool OAT coolant. According to the Pontiac Vibe manual, the coolant in the vehicle should last for five years or 500,000 miles, which ever occurs first. Using unapproved types of coolant or mixtures in a Vibe could result in damage to the car’s cooling system.

Dex-Cool OAT Coolant

General Motors and Texaco had developed a Dex-Cool brand of OAT specifically for use in GM Motors. It’s color is orange to distinguish it from other brands. OAT coolant contains no silicates and no phosphates. It’s blend is composed of at least two organic acids. Organic Acids are a specific class of inhibitors with slow acting, life long properties. Texaco Havoline Dex-Cool is sometimes sold under the Goodwrench label. General Motors recommends using a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze with clean drinkable water. This mixture will not damage the aluminum parts.

Unapproved Mixtures

Adding only water to the cooling system can be dangerous. Water and other liquids such as alcohol will boil at a lower temperatures. Additionally, the vehicle’s coolant warning system is designed to detect only the correct coolant mixture. The system’s overheat warning system will not recognize the engine when it overheats if the wrong mixture is applied. Incorrect mixtures could even cause the engine to catch fire. Adding too much water can cause the engine to freeze and crack. The radiator, heater core and other coolant system parts may be damaged.

Additives and Alternate Coolants

Using extra inhibitors or additives in the cooling system can also damage the vehicle. While the Vibe's correct coolant mixture provides freezing protection to -34 degrees Fahrenheit and boiling protection to 265 degrees Fahrenheit, different products may provide different protection. Any coolant other than the approved coolant can cause premature engine, radiator or heater core corrosion. The life of the engine coolant also may be reduced with incorrect mixtures. Any damage cause by unapproved coolant mixtures will not be covered by the vehicle warranty.

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