Safe Alternatives for Motorcraft Orange Coolant

Dexcool is a great alternative to Motorcraft Orange and Prestone is the most widely available, but any Dexcool-rated coolant like those made by Zerex and Peak can be used as well.

Is Motorcraft Orange the Same as Dexcool?

Dexcool coolants differ from Motorcraft Orange in a few ways. Motorcraft Orange has an ethylene glycol level of 40-50%, while Dexcool has a concentration of 30-60%. Diethylene glycol levels in Motorcraft Orange range from 1-5%. There is a range of 0-5% in Dexcool. Dexcool also has an anticorrosive agent added to it that is not present in Motorcraft Orange.

It may seem like the wider range of ethylene and diethylene glycol and the addition of an anticorrosive may cause issues of functionality, but Dexcool-approved coolants are considered safe to use. If you need a substitute, get a Dexcool coolant.

How Much Does Dexcool Coolant Cost?

You pull a gallon jug off the shelf and ring it up at the counter. Come to find out you’ve even saved a few bucks. The cost of Dexcool varies by brand but is generally under $25 or more. You can easily pay for Motorcraft Orange coolant.

Brands of Dexcool you might see at the store include:

  • Peak: Peak Dexcool costs about $18
  • Prestone: Prestone Dexcool costs about $17
  • Zerex: Zerex Dexcool costs about $18

Call that an $8+ savings for a safe, easy-to-find substitute. Not only is it the right choice in a pinch, but it also makes sense to switch over just for the savings. It can add up over time, especially if you drive a lot. Save $8-10 for every coolant change, which should be every 30,000 miles, and you’ll notice.

What are the Differences Between the Different Colors of Anti-Freeze?

So, with all the different types of coolant out there, it’s easy to get a bit turned around. What’s the difference? Are they interchangeable? Is it really that bad to use the wrong color coolant?

Here are the two most common colors of anti-freeze you’ll likely encounter, and how they differ from one another:

  • Green: Ethylene glycol-based, and has a sweet smell that makes it a potential hazard if used around pets and children.
  • Orange: Most orange coolants are Dexcool, which, like green anti-freeze, is ethylene glycol-based but has an additive that extends the life of the product.

Green and Orange coolants are intended for general use and are compatible with many makes and models. Some others are designed for specific makes of automobiles.

Here are some others you may see at the store:

  • Pink: An extended life coolant used in Japanese cars like Toyota and Scion.
  • Euro Pink: Another pink coolant designed for use in European cars like Audi and Volkswagen
  • Yellow: Hyundai and Kia recommend using yellow coolant in their cars.
  • Gold: Designed for use in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles.
  • Euro Gold: Meant for a wide range of European cars like BMW, Smart, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.
  • Blue: Another long-life coolant, blue is designed for use in Nissans, Mazdas, Mitsubishis, and Inifinitis

What Happens If You Use the Wrong Anti-Freeze?

Let’s say you didn’t check and grabbed the wrong one. What happens if you use it in your car? That depends on a couple of things. Some coolants have additives that don’t mix well with parts in certain vehicles. Adding pink, say, when you should use orange, can really mess up your cooling system.

Is Mixing Different Colors of Coolant Bad?

Did you grab the wrong coolant off the shelf and are now considering pouring it into your reservoir to top it off? Think again, or you might damage your vehicle by doing so. Mixing some coolants can form a gel that will gunk up your lines and cause the cooling system to function improperly if at all. This leads to overheating and can damage your car’s mechanics.


If you’re in a pinch and need coolant for your car on a hot day or a long drive but can’t find Motorcraft Orange anywhere, go with a Dexcool-approved coolant. They’re typically orange, so they’re easy enough to pick out of a wide selection. Plus, they’re a bit cheaper and perfectly safe to use in any car that takes Motorcraft Orange.

Definitely check to see what kind of coolant your car needs before getting any. Even if you flush the reservoir and lines, adding the wrong coolant can be bad for your car. Mixing different types of coolants is also a no-no, and can gel up, causing damage to your car.