Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze?

Can you mix Dex-cool and universal antifreeze? No, you can’t! Read on to know more about the class-action lawsuit that resulted in many changes in the antifreeze that you use today.

It is natural for automobile engines to get overheated, and it is also essential that they remain cool for the engine to last longer. The car coolant is the best and only solution to this. Car coolants are colloquially also called Antifreeze. 

The coolant ensures perfect lubrication for all the moving parts of a vehicle, thus preventing any wear or damage to the gasket (mainly the head) water pump. It helps the piston maintain its timing and the cylinder remain intact.

Dex-Cool is an antifreeze manufactured by General Motors (GM). Universal Antifreeze is another variety of the same product. However, universal antifreeze and Dex-cool are not one and the same thing, and it is not a good idea to mix them. Read on as we discuss more on Antifreeze and Dex-cool specifically.


Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze


What is Dex-Cool? 

Dex-Cool is a coolant or Antifreeze from GM manufactured and sold since 1995. It is the brand name only and not a product that differs from other coolants. It is similar to Prestone, which is also an antifreeze/coolant. 

There is also no denying it is a unique type of Antifreeze and only a select brand of coolants have them. GM sold it to all their customers with the instruction that it is the best Antifreeze for their automobiles. 

GM claimed that it would keep the functions and vital parts of the vehicles in top condition and prevent any damage that other coolants might not be able to avoid.


Also read: Foamy Antifreeze – To Use Or Not To Use?


The Ingredients & Composition of Dex-Cool

Many materials make DEX-COOL unique from many other coolants. Methanol and ethylene glycol form part of water-based Antifreeze. These ingredients are combined and inserted into the engine to protect your car engine from overheating. 

It is achieved by increasing the resistance of the vehicle parts to higher temperatures. Other Glycol-based coolants are odorless and colorless. But these ingredients do not form part of Dex-Cool, although they are commonly found in other antifreeze. 

Various phosphates combine along with silicates to produce Dex-Cool.


Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze


Problems Flagged by Dex-Cool Users

Even though Dex-Cool is a very popular antifreeze available in the market today, there are some issues that the users face with this coolant. Some of the problems faced by Dex-cool users are:

  • Corroded radiators
  • Clogged radiator caps 
  • Eroded water pumps

GM claimed that the antifreeze will ensure the protection and longevity of vehicle parts and is long-lasting compared to other coolants. They also said that it is sufficient to change once in five years or after running a minimum of 150,000 miles, whichever occurs earlier. However, as the problems above suggest, all was not great with Dex-Cool.

Can Dex-Cool Be Used With Any Other Coolant?

If you are wondering if Dex-cool can be used along with any other coolant. You would be disappointed to know it is not advisable. The reasons are as below:

  • Using it with other coolants is sure to degrade the integrity of the coolant 
  • It would cause damage and repairs to the entire coolant system in the automobile
  • It would shoot down the five-year and 150,000-mile guarantee (by GM) to two years and 30,000 miles, respectively.


Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze


What Happens If You Mix Dex-Cool And Regular Antifreeze?

It should be noted that other antifreeze coolants and Dex-Cool are incompatible. Even though they can operate together for a short period, long-term usage can lead to forming a substance that resembles a Gel. 

The Gel-like substance becomes extremely destructive to numerous cooling system components. As a result, using only Dex-Cool for a Chevrolet or GM car is the best option. 

However, other options do exist. 

Several coolant manufacturers now sell alternatives that are not Dex-Cool and yet can be mixed with it without risk of contamination. One should carefully examine the instructions in the instruction booklet and the tag label on the coolant you intend to use.

So How Do We Use Dex-Cool effectively?

  • There are many authorized and authentic dealers selling Dex-Cool, including Shell, Prestone, etc. If one buys another coolant, they must double-check whether the specifications align with the GM6277M. 
  • In case you wish to replace the existing coolant with Dex-Cool, it is advisable to completely drain out the old one by wheeling your vehicle to a good garage. If remnants of the old non-Dex-Cool are still present, and you accidentally mix it with Dex-Cool, the consequences would be dangerous, as mentioned earlier.
  • Dex-Cool, as discussed, has a different structure compared with other coolants. Its design helps maintain aluminum-constructed engines. Dex-Cool can minimize corrosion in aluminum-type engines. 
  • Other coolants, green coolants, change their color when the vehicle parts start corroding. It is this indication that helps essentially as far as corrosion is concerned. But this kind of identification fails with an aluminum engine. The green coolant never changes color, and this is where Dex-Cool was failing GM customers.

GM had to pay heavy compensation due to the class action suit, and they accepted the responsibility of replacing or repairing the automobile for their customers. They are still selling the Dex-Cool with warnings about proper usage and disclaimers. 


Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze


Frequently Asked Questions

#1. What happens if you use green coolant instead of Dex-Cool?

To distinguish Dex-Cool coolant from other types of coolants, the makers often use a different hue for it. Dex-Cool is typically orange or red instead of the conventional coolant’s green. 

The green color of ordinary coolant interacts with the formation of rust or corrosion, thus alerting you to replace the existing coolant in your automobile. Dex-Cool’s bright orange color makes it difficult to identify the replacement time, thus complicating the process.

#2. Does GM still use Dex-Cool?

The problems of the past are done away with. The earlier issue of the Gasket getting spoiled due to its interaction with the Dex-Cool has been solved. Many of the vehicles manufactured by GM do require the Dex-Cool.


Can You Mix Dex-cool And Universal Antifreeze


A Few Final Words

One needs to look into the core issue too. The coolant might be running low as there might be a leak that has gone unnoticed. Such ignorance would pave the way to major repairs and a breakdown ultimately. 

Also, if you are planning to use dex-cool, we suggest that you see the usage instructions provided by GM to ensure that you do not damage your vehicle parts further. 

Thank you for reading, we hope this was an interesting read, especially since there was a class action lawsuit that happened because of the problems with Dex-Cool and other antifreeze. Thankfully, all that is in the past now.

You might also like to read: What Does Antifreeze Smell Like?

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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