The Difference Between DEX-COOL Coolant & Regular Coolant

by Jason Aberdeene
itstillruns article image
Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

DEX-COOL is a specific type of antifreeze, found in select brands of coolants, created using organic acid technology. The manufacturers as well as General Motors have claimed that DEX-COOL can extend the service life and function of your vehicle. Despite this, DEX-COOL has been linked to manifold gasket failures in certain General Motors engines.


DEX-COOL varies from other coolants in that it is made up of different materials. Regular antifreeze is composed of water mixed with methanol and ethylene glycol. These products are mixed and placed into your cars engine to allow higher boiling points to prevent your car from overheating. DEX-COOL, as well as other organic acid antifreezes, are not glycol based. Instead, DEX-COOL is created out of a combination of different phosphates and silicates as well as the organic acid technology itself.


To differentiate DEX-COOL coolant from regular coolants, the manufacturers often produce the coolant in a different color. Regular coolant is often green while DEX-COOL is orange or red. With respect to regular coolant, the green color is utilized to interact with rust and corrosion, letting you know visually when the coolant inside your vehicle needs to be replaced. Due to the orange color of DEX-COOL, it is harder to visually tell when the coolant must be replaced.

Engine Materials

In addition to the specific composition and color of the two coolants, DEX-COOL is designed specifically to interact with aluminum engines. Unless a previous owner has used traditional green coolant in your vehicle, using DEX-COOL for an aluminum engine will help minimize corrosion. While traditional green coolant is designed to change color due to corrosion, it does not change color due to corrosion occurring in aluminum engines. As a result, your aluminum engine will continue to corrode without a change in coolant color.


Due to the structural differences between DEX-COOL and regular coolant, it is important not to mix the two types of coolants in your car. Mixing can cause sludge to form and potentially lead to engine failure. If you are looking to switch between the two coolants, you will have to wait until the original coolant is thoroughly flushed through the engine. Despite this, performing a flush does not always remove the unique silicates found in DEX-COOL. As a result, you may have to stay with one coolant for the duration of your engine's life.

More Articles

article divider