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Does Coolant or Antifreeze Go Bad?

The cooling system is a vital system in our automobiles – it keeps the engine safe and operable by stabilizing its temperature. A key part of the system is coolant/antifreeze. Over time, the solution will break down and become less effective at cooling. 

Can Coolant Expire in the Bottle?

When you buy coolant at an auto supply shop, it typically has a shelf life of 1-5 years, depending on the product. The manufacturer is required to put an expiration date on the bottle, so don’t worry if you forget. Always look at the expiration date before adding the solution to your car.

Can Coolant Expire in a Car?

Coolant degrades over time in your engine. As it flows in and out of the engine, it can pick up metals, dirt, and debris. Most automakers recommend flushing your coolant every 30,000 miles. Dirty coolant can corrode cooling system components and cause leaks. Old and ineffective coolant can also have a reduced boiling point, which can lead to engine overheating.

Signs of Bad Coolant

  • Thick or sludgy appearance
  • Discolored fluid
  • Sweet, syrupy smell (sign of a leak)
  • Engine overheating