What Color Is Prestone Antifreeze: A Comprehensive Guide

Prestone antifreeze comes in a variety of colors, each signifying a different type or formula. The most common Prestone antifreeze colors are green, yellow, red, pink, orange, blue, and gold. The color serves as an easy visual identifier of the antifreeze’s intended use and properties. Understanding what each color designates can ensure proper application and prevent potential engine damage.

Green – Original Formula

The green coloration is the original Prestone antifreeze formula first introduced in 1927. It signifies a conventional ethylene glycol-based formula that provides freeze protection down to -34°F. Green Prestone has a service life of 2 years or 30,000 miles in most vehicles. It includes corrosion inhibitors to protect radiators, cylinders, and gaskets from erosion. Green Prestone makes up over 60% of the brand’s antifreeze sales. It works well for most everyday passenger vehicles as a general-purpose coolant and antifreeze. The green dye aids mechanics in identifying leaks and offers the ability to differentiate between diluted and concentrated levels.

Key Features:

  • Ethylene glycol formula
  • -34°F freeze protection
  • 2 year / 30,000 mile service life
  • Corrosion inhibitors
  • Compatible with all coolant colors

Yellow – Extended Life

Yellow Prestone indicates an extended life formula capable of lasting 5 years or 150,000 miles. It still relies on a conventional ethylene glycol base but incorporates proprietary corrosion inhibitors called Alugard. The additive allows the antifreeze to retain its rust-preventing abilities over an extended duration. The yellow coloration distinguishes it from the standard green and alerts users to its enhanced longevity claims. It meets or exceeds specs for all major US automakers and provides freeze protection down to -34°F. The extended performance reduces the need for frequent coolant flushes and maintenance.

Key Features:

  • Ethylene glycol formula
  • Alugard corrosion inhibitors
  • -34°F freeze protection
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life

Red – High Performance

Red Prestone denotes a high-performance formula built for heavy-duty use in SUVs, trucks, performance cars, and off-road vehicles. It includes advanced corrosion inhibitors called Cor-Guard to handle high-temperature operation. The formula withstands freezing down to –34°F and boiling up to 265°F. The red color clearly distinguishes the antifreeze as a high-performance blend. It is blended with virgin base products and exceeds specs for domestic and import cars and light-duty trucks. Red Prestone has a recommended flush interval of 5 years or 150,000 miles.

Key Features:

  • Ethylene glycol formula
  • Cor-Guard inhibitors
  • -34°F freeze / 265°F boiling protection
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life

Pink – Extended Life Organic Acid Technology (OAT)

Pink Prestone uses an advanced organic acid technology (OAT) formula providing long-lasting corrosion protection for aluminum and metal alloys. It does not rely on conventional ethylene glycol, utilizing a carboxylate salt instead. The formula extends service intervals to 5 years or 150,000 miles. Its non-silicate, non-phosphate design allows for compatibility across makes and models. The pink color clearly identifies the antifreeze as a OAT-formula for simple identification. It meets vehicle specifications from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, VW, and others.

Key Features:

  • Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
  • Non-silicate, non-phosphate
  • Aluminum and alloy corrosion protection
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life

Orange – Extended Life Fully Formulated

Orange Prestone uses a fully formulated, extended life antifreeze. It contains the necessary additives and inhibitors to be used straight from the container without dilution. The ethylene glycol formula provides -34°F freeze protection and 5 year / 150,000 mile service intervals. The orange coloration clearly distinguishes the antifreeze as a pre-mixed, ready-to-use coolant. It meets the specifications for all major US automakers and features aluminum corrosion protection. The simplified usage helps prevent improper mixing and dilution issues common with concentrates.

Key Features:

  • Pre-mixed 50/50 blend
  • Ethylene glycol formula
  • -34°F freeze protection
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life
  • Aluminum/alloy corrosion inhibitors

Blue – Extended Life IAT

Blue Prestone uses a hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT) formula designed for long-lasting corrosion protection in modern engines. It does not contain silicates, phosphates, borates, or nitrites. The carboxylate salt blend allows service intervals of 5 years or 150,000 miles. The blue dye identifies the antifreeze as HOAT-formula for fast identification. It provides freezing protection down to -34°F and meets or exceeds specs for all major automakers. The non-silicate, non-phosphate design offers aluminum and alloy corrosion prevention.

Key Features:

  • Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)
  • Non-silicate, non-phosphate, non-nitrite
  • Aluminum and alloy corrosion protection
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life
  • -34°F freeze protection

Gold – Dex-Cool Compatible

Gold Prestone identifies it as a Dex-Cool compatible formula approved for GM vehicles. Dex-Cool relies on organic acid technology (OAT) for extended corrosion protection. The gold color clearly signifies it is designed specifically for GM cars requiring Dex-Cool antifreeze. It provides 150,000 miles or 5 years of performance and protects against rust and scale deposits. The formula is free of silicates, phosphates, and borates. Gold Prestone meets GM specification 6277M and provides freezing protection down to -34°F.

Key Features:

  • Dex-Cool compatible formula
  • Organic Acid Technology (OAT)
  • Non-silicate, non-phosphate, non-borate
  • GM specification 6277M compliant
  • 5 year / 150,000 mile service life

Choosing the Right Color

When selecting Prestone antifreeze, match the color with your vehicle’s recommended formula:

  • Green – Most domestic vehicles
  • Yellow – Extended life for most vehicles
  • Red – Heavy duty/high performance engines
  • Pink – European makes requiring OAT (VW, Audi, BMW, etc.)
  • Orange – Pre-mixed, fully formulated
  • Blue – Newer vehicles recommending HOAT formulas
  • Gold – GM vehicles requiring Dex-Cool

Consult your owner’s manual if unsure. Mixing incompatible formulas can cause corrosion, scale deposits, and sludge build-up over time.

Usage and Maintenance

Mixing Ratios

Concentrated Prestone antifreeze should be diluted 50/50 with distilled water before pouring into the radiator. The exceptions are orange Prestone, which is pre-mixed, and gold Dex-Cool formulas that are meant to be used full-strength. Adding more than 50% antifreeze can actually decrease protection against freezing while increasing the likelihood of overheating. Follow recommended dilution ratios for optimal performance.

Flushing Intervals

Different Prestone formulas have varying recommended flush intervals:

  • Green – 2 years or 30,000 miles
  • Yellow/Red/Pink/Blue – 5 years or 150,000 miles
  • Orange – 5 years or 150,000 miles
  • Gold – 5 years or 150,000 miles

Periodic flushing helps remove built-up sediment and replenishes additives. Neglecting scheduled radiator flushes risks corrosion, engine damage, and reduced performance.

Identifying Leaks

The colored dyes make spotting antifreeze leaks straightforward. Look for colored streaking on hoses, fittings, and underneath the vehicle. Pressure test systems if the reservoir level drops with no external leaks evident. Any loss of color may indicate dilution and the need for a flush.


Does color affect performance?

No, the color is purely for identification and does not impact chemical properties. However, different colors represent distinct formulas that are engineered for specific applications.

Can different colors be mixed?

It’s best to avoid mixing different colors. Combining incompatible technologies (OAT, HOAT, etc.) can reduce effectiveness. Stick with the formula recommended for your vehicle and flush thoroughly before switching.

Does Prestone leave residue in the radiator?

Over time sediment can build up in any antifreeze formula. Regular flushing at recommended intervals helps remove deposits and maintain a clean system. Make sure to use distilled water when diluting concentrated antifreeze.

Why is it bad to use too much antifreeze?

Exceeding the 50/50 coolant-to-water ratio can adversely impact freeze protection and cooling system corrosion prevention. It also raises the chance of overheating by decreasing water content. Follow dilution guidelines on the back of Prestone bottles.


Prestone’s colored dyes give users an easy visual reference to identify the intended formula and application. While they all provide freeze protection and corrosion inhibitors, the different colors denote specific coolant technologies, service intervals, and vehicle compatibilities. Proper usage of the right antifreeze color improves performance and prevents unnecessary wear and repairs. Consult owner’s manuals, follow mixing guidelines, and flush systems regularly to get the most out of Prestone antifreeze.

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