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Does Antifreeze Expire? (Explained)

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Antifreeze can come in various colors depending on the brand and type. Many people store it in their garage, but does antifreeze expire?

In this article, we will take a closer look at the shelf life of antifreeze, and discuss its proper storage.

antifreeze being poured into coolant tank

Can Antifreeze Expire?

The short answer is yes, antifreeze does expire. The expiration date can vary depending on the specific product, it can also degrade faster if not stored correctly.

Does Pure Ethylene Glycol Expire?

Pure ethylene glycol, the most common type of antifreeze, can last for up to 10 years or more when stored properly.

However, this is a general guideline and the actual shelf life may vary depending on the manufacturer and product.

Ethylene glycol that has not been mixed with water may have an indefinite lifespan and virtually never degrade, providing it is stored correctly.

Does a 50/50 Mix Expire?

A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water (coolant) may also have a shelf life of up to 10 years or more when stored correctly.

However, this mixture could degrade faster than pure ethylene glycol due to the presence of water.

Does Antifreeze Have a Shelf Life (Expiration Date)?

The expiration date (shelf life) is not the same as how long it takes to degrade. The shelf life is how long it can be stored for before losing effectiveness, but it could take longer to fully degrade.

Yes, antifreeze does have a shelf life, it’s important to pay attention to the expiration date (sometimes called the “use by” date) on the specific product.

Once a container of antifreeze is opened, the shelf life of the product can be shortened and possibly degrade faster due to foreign bacteria or matter entering the container.

How to Store Antifreeze Properly

Below are some tips on how to store antifreeze properly to ensure safety and extend its shelf life.

  • Store in its original container: It’s best practise to keep the antifreeze in its original container to prevent air and debris entering it.
  • Keep in hard to reach places: Keep antifreeze away from children and pets. Store it in a place that’s difficult to reach, such as the top shelf or a locked cupboard.
  • Keep in a dark and cool place: Antifreeze should be stored in a dark, cool place such as a garage or cupboard, this can help prevent degradation from to light and heat exposure.
  • Label the antifreeze container: Clearly label the container with the name and expiration date.

How to Know if It’s Still Useable

You can tell if antifreeze is still useable by checking the color and consistency of the liquid.

Fresh car antifreeze should be a bright, clear color, when old or expired it could be dark and cloudy in appearance.

Tip: You can use coolant test strips to find out when to replace it.

What Happens if You Use Expired Coolant?

Using expired coolant could lead to a number of issues. The liquid may have become contaminated with foreign particles or bacteria, which may lead to corrosion or damage to the engine.

Expired coolant that has degraded may not be as effective at regulating engine temperature or protecting against freezing, which may lead to damage, overheating, or even engine failure.

How Long Does It Last Once Opened?

You should use antifreeze within 1 year of opening the container, although this can vary depending on the product and storage conditions.


Antifreeze does have an expiration date and can degrade over time. Check the expiration date or “use by” date on the product, store it in a dark, cool, hard to reach place, in its original container.

Using expired coolant can lead to a variety of problems, it’s best to replace it before it reaches its expiration date.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer.He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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