What Is VW G12 Coolant - Do I Have To Use It? (2023)

Regular car maintenance is vital to keeping the vehicle running as it should. Knowing what type of coolant to use is essential if you want to keep up with the regular maintenance schedule. That’s why it’s important to know the differences between VW G12 coolant and other types.

In this guide, we cover the basics of VW G12 coolant. We also show you if you must use this type or if you can use a different variety. Finally, we explain how to choose the right coolant for your vehicle.

Table Of Contents show

What is VW G12 Coolant?

G12 is a pink or red coolant based on ethylene glycol and carboxylate. It doesn’t contain silicates and has a service life lasting from four to five years. G12 coolant is used in model years 1996 to 2001. The freezing point of this coolant is -50° C or -58° F with a boiling point of 118° C or 245° F.

The ethylene glycol percentage of G12 coolant is between fifty and sixty percent, allowing it to perform as well as possible. It also contains about five percent distilled water. There are other additives included, such as dye for better visibility.

(Video) What VW/ Audi Coolants Can & Can't be Mixed? (G12/G13) | AskDap

The downside to G12 coolant is that it doesn’t prevent corrosion. It only starts to fight against corrosion once the process has started. However, it is effective at getting rid of forming corrosion as it starts to form.

What is Engine Coolant?

Every type of engine coolant is made from a blend of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol with a unique blend of additives. Engine coolant flows through the cooling system and engine to remove heat from the hot motor. It also ensures that the coolant doesn’t freeze during the winter.

Just like motor oil, engine coolant also provides some lubrication to the internal components. When the consistency isn’t right or there’s not enough fluid, friction can occur.

In general, there are three types of antifreeze formulations: G11, G12 and G13. Each of these has its own properties and is used for a variety of applications.

RELATED: Can You Use Water Instead of Coolant? (Why You Shouldn’t)

G11 vs. G12 vs. G13 Antifreeze

1. G11

G11 coolant is produced from a classic silicate basis with inorganic additives. This is the coolant used on vehicles made before 1996. However, there are some cars with model years up to 2016 that can tolerate the use of G11.

G11 coolant is known for creating protection on the surfaces and slowing down corrosion. This antifreeze is green or blue in color. However, the shelf life of G11 is only up to three years, but the protective properties begin to degrade as it is used. Plus, this coolant doesn’t tolerate higher temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, making heat transfer lower.

(Video) How To Add Coolant G12 To Your Volkswagen

G11 isn’t good in a car with an aluminum radiator or block because of the lack of protection. You also want to avoid using low-end brands, such as Polarnik or Euroline. These brands have shown to mislabel the amount of protection offered.

2. G12

There are various types of G12 coolant, but the majority are colored pink or red. These formulations don’t contain silicates, making them based on ethylene glycol and carboxylate compounds. However, the newer formulation means that the anti-corrosion properties are only selective, working where there is already corrosion occurring.

G12 is usually sold as a concentrate, so you will need to mix and dilute it with the appropriate amount of distilled water. You can find this ratio on the label.

There’s also G12 + antifreeze, but nothing is much different. The color of this coolant is red, but it is supposed to be better for the environment. G12 ++ also exists and its purpose is to be longer lasting. This formulation offers an improved mixture of carboxylated compounds.

RELATED: How to Add Antifreeze To Your Car (7 Steps)

3. G13

This newer form of antifreeze is purple. With a hybrid antifreeze, there’s a similar composition but a different ratio of the organic and silicate compounds. This coolant provides more protection.

You will use G13 on the newer model cars. Plus, it’s recommended to change this antifreeze every five years.

(Video) Topping Off Audi VW G13 G12 Coolant Antifreeze


Can Antifreeze Be Mixed?

Whether you are told to use VW G12 coolant or another type, the top question always heard is – can I mix two types of antifreeze together? In some cases, this might be possible, but several factors must be considered. To determine what can and cannot be mixed, you must understand the composition and purpose of each antifreeze type.

The most obvious difference between coolants is the color, but that’s just about appearance. What’s most important is how the composition differs. G11 uses ethylene glycol and an inorganic base. It can be mixed with anything that’s compatible with this base.

G13 contains a propylene glycol base. It’s meant to be more environmentally safe, so it doesn’t mix as well with some others. If you can avoid mixing antifreeze, that would be best. It’s always wiser to stick with what should be used in your vehicle. However, here are a few guidelines if you find yourself in need of mixing a small amount of coolant.

  • G11 will not mix with G12.
  • G11 could be mixed with G12+ or G13 in some situations.
  • G12 doesn’t mix with G12 +.

Unless you are 100% positive that mixing the coolant is okay for your vehicle, you should avoid the practice. By veering away from what the manufacturer recommends, you could cause damage to the cooling system and radiator. Worst case scenario is that you damage the engine or water pump. These are both repair bills you don’t want to deal with, especially when we are discussing the price of a bottle of coolant.

RELATED: Can you Mix Different Types of Coolant? (Which Types?)

How to Choose the Best Coolant

Whether you are using VW G12 coolant or something else, it’s always best to stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can find these in the owner’s manual or speak with your local dealership service department. There’s also a chance that the coolant type is listed on the reservoir tank, where you will fill up the antifreeze.

(Video) Volkswagon Polo (6R/MK5) G12 Coolant Antifreeze Flush/Change

On top of purchasing the right type, you can choose from fully concentrated coolant or pre-mixed. Unless you are in an extreme hurry, you get the best deal from buying the concentrated coolant. You get more product for the money and you only need to mix it with the appropriate amount of distilled water. Plus, mixing the coolant yourself allows you to make the solution best for your car and region. If you are in a cold climate, you might need a more concentrated formula, while those in hot climates will need less.

As you choose between brands, choose something that gets good reviews. You might pay a little more to get a better brand, but the protection of your car’s engine and cooling system is worth the additional cost.

Additionally, when you choose coolant, make sure you take a look at the shelf life. If you plan to store the coolant, it’s necessary to store it properly to keep it in good condition. Rotate coolant in your shed when you use it, so the older product is being used before that which is newer. If you are ever in doubt about what coolant you should be using, seek the help of a professional.


Categories:Coolant, Maintenance


Can I use regular coolant in my VW? ›

So what kind of antifreeze do you use in your VW? It is highly recommended that you don't use any kind other than the specific Audi/VW G13 or G12 approved antifreeze. Regular, store-bought antifreeze often has chemicals in it that can wear down gaskets and other parts in your system.

What coolant is compatible with G12? ›

As reaction of the mixture problems between G11 and G12, the G12+ was designed. It can be mixed with G11 and G11 coolants.

Can I use water instead of G12 coolant? ›

Technically speaking yes you can use plain water in your cooling system but it isn't recommended as a long term solution and certainly not in extreme weather conditions.

Do Volkswagens need special coolant? ›

Blauparts recommends topping off your expansion tank with the same type of coolant that is currently in your VW cooling system. This ensure the purity of your cooling system. Use ONLY Audi VW G13, G12++, G12+, or G11 approved VW coolant antifreeze specifications.

What happens if you dont use the right coolant? ›

Using the wrong engine coolant can gradually lead to corrosion and damage to the water pump, radiator, radiator hoses and cylinder gasket. This can lead to damage to the engine in the worst case.

What is VW G12 coolant? ›

Valvoline G12++ Coolant Concentrate is a concentrated product based on monoethylene glycol and contains Si-OAT corrosion inhibitor technology to protect against limescale, corrosion, foaming, etc. As modern engines have high operating temperatures, they can easily reach damaging temperatures.

Can I top up VW coolant with water? ›


However, its far better to use regular water than to let your coolant level drop too low, if that is all you have. An alternative to shop bought coolant is to use distilled water.

Can I put water in my Volkswagen coolant? ›

The short answer is no; you can't mix tap water with engine coolant. Antifreeze should not be mixed with water replacing your engine coolant.

What happens if you don't use distilled water in coolant? ›

If you use only tap water inside the radiator, your engine and radiator can start building up deposits of minerals from the water that can damage it. Distilled water is safer but it can also rust and corrode from the water, mineral or tap.

Can you put Prestone coolant in VW? ›

Yes. Prestone is an OAT coolant/antifreeze but also contains anti-corrosion ingredients to protect your cooling system. It can be used in all cars effectively, offering the same levels of protection, and without any damage. We offer a guarantee that Prestone is suitable for all cars and engine materials.

Is Prestone coolant good for Volkswagen? ›

Features. Prestone European Vehicles (Violet) antifreeze+coolant - Ready To Use (50/50 Prediluted) is specially designed to work with Audi 2008 and newer, Volkswagen 2009 and newer, Porsche 2010 and newer, Mercedes 2014 and newer.

Is red antifreeze G12? ›

Radiator Antifreeze Red is a concentrate based on 1.2-ethanediole (mono-ethylene glycol), radiator protection and heat exchanger agent for operation both, summer and winter with permanent frost and rust protection (for all-season use).

Can I put whatever coolant in my car? ›

Well, you use the coolant that is specified in your owner's manual. If you just need to top it up, the recommendation is still the same, however it is unlikely to cause any serious problems if you add a litre of a different type of coolant, as long as you follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.

What happens if you accidentally mix green and orange antifreeze? ›

The green and orange coolants do not mix. When mixed together they form a gel-like substance that stops coolant flow, and consequently, the engine overheats.

Can you use just water for coolant? ›

While you can drive the car for a short time using water in place of the coolant, it won't effectively protect your engine. This means its essential to get the problem that caused a low coolant level fixed as soon as possible, and the radiator filled with a 50/50 ratio of coolant to water.

What type of antifreeze do I put in my Volkswagen? ›

Use ONLY OEM Approved Audi Volkswagen G11, G12+, G12++, or G13 VW coolant antifreeze. Do NOT use regular store-bought coolant, which typically doesn't correspond with the specifications of a VW cooling system. Inferior coolant has an adverse reaction within a VW cooling system.

Is Dex Cool G12? ›

NO, While they are both are OAT { Organic acid technology } antifreeze/coolants Dexcool requires the use of 2EHA and G12 basically forbids it use.

Why is VW coolant red? ›

The indicator lamp flashes red. Engine coolant temperature too high or engine coolant level too low. Do not drive on! Stop the vehicle as soon as possible and when safe to do so.

Can I just top off coolant? ›

Top off the coolant reservoir

If the coolant level is low in the reservoir, you can refill it to the max fill line but do not overfill it. The coolant mixture expands when it heats up and needs the extra room. Keeping your coolant at the correct level is one of the ways to keep your radiator good working order.

Can I top up my coolant with a different brand? ›

It is strongly recommended you do NOT mix different brands of propylene Glycol, as many brands have their own chemical formulation to their products that can sometimes cause some messy accidents when mixed, or increase the wear and tear on the engine when combined.

Why does my Volkswagen say check coolant? ›

When you see the coolant light turn on, it means your system isn't working or there isn't enough fluid. You should pull over immediately if the light, which is red and looks like a thermometer with waves underneath it.

How long does G12 coolant last? ›

Coolant Concentrate G12, G12+ is an extended life antifreeze which should be replaced every 5 years or every 250.000 km for passenger vehicles or every 1.000. 000 km for trucks and commercial vehicles. Original Equipment Manufacturers' (OEMs) recommendations should be followed when replacing coolant.

Does G12 coolant need to be diluted? ›

It's OK to mix with G12 (or G12+ or G12++) according to the parts department at the franchised dealer where I bought mine. It does need to be diluted and you can read some instructions on the back of the bottle - it gives you the relevant dilutions according to the temperatures that you want to protect against.

How long does VW coolant last? ›

In general, you should have your coolant replaced every 30,000 to 50,000 miles or if you have any performance issues, as outside factors can affect your Volkswagen's coolant.

Is rain water distilled? ›

It is possible, therefore, for us to drink untreated rainwater. This is because rainwater is pure, distilled water evaporated from the sun - nothing else. However, when rainwater falls from the sky, substances from the air and land melt into the rainwater.

Is Boiling water the same as distilled? ›

No, they aren't the same. Boiled water is simply water that has had the temperature increased until it reaches its boiling point. This kills a host of bacteria that can make a person sick. Distilled water is water that has been stripped of all impurities, including minerals and microorganisms.

Is tap water distilled water? ›

You may be surprised to learn that distilled water is a form of filtered water. However, distilled water is filtered and purified in a much different way than tap water. Distilled water is created through a process in which the water is boiled and the steam that it produces is condensed.

Can you mix Prestone with G12? ›

Industry Leading Protection From Engine-Damaging Rust & Corrosion including our most advanced Prestone Cor-Guard® technology. Universally works with all fluid colors; All OAT, POAT, HOAT & IAT; G05®, G11®, G12®, G12++®, G13®, G30®, G40®, & GG40®.

What coolant can you not mix? ›

Can You Mix Orange and Green Antifreeze? It's never a good idea to mix two different colors or types of antifreeze. Mixing two formulas won't cause any dangerous reactions or explosions, but it could turn your coolant into a sludgy chemical mixture that won't be able to flow properly through your cooling system.

Does it matter what brand of coolant I use? ›

Different vehicles require different coolants. There are varieties for every type of vehicle, from diesel engines to American, Asian and European vehicles. Each one is specifically formulated to keep its designated engine type running in extreme temperatures.

Can I use Prestone instead of Dex cool? ›

Prestone Extended Life 5/150 Antifreeze/Coolant meets all requirements for GM Dex-Cool extended life antifreeze/coolant, and as such has been assigned Dex-Cool license number DC-002.

Can you mix VW G12 and G13 coolant? ›

G13 mixes well with G12++, also with G11, G12 and G12+ but there is a loss of corrosion protection.

Which is better G12 or G13 coolant? ›

Summary: The G13 has the same exceptional cooling and antifreeze performance as G12++, but it is manufactured using glycerin. Glycerin is much less harmful to the environment than glycol. The G13 is also excellent for cooling and protection against corrosion and chalk deposits.

What color is VW G12 coolant? ›

Volkswagen uses a specific Audi/VW G13 or G12 approved antifreeze. The exact kind that your particular model uses should be stamped on the expansion tank, as well as listed in the owner's manual. Volkswagen coolant is always pink or purple in color. Use the same color that your vehicle already has if you're topping up.

Is it OK to mix red and blue antifreeze? ›

Never mix different types of coolant.

What vehicles use red coolant? ›

Red. If you have a red coolant in your cooling system, you have an Extended Life Coolant. This coolant is recommended for use in Toyota, Scion, and Lexus. It can be used in any engine requiring an OAT engine coolant.

Can I use G13 coolant instead of G12? ›

G13 mixes well with G12++, also with G11, G12 and G12+ but there is a loss of corrosion protection.

Is G12 coolant the same as Dex cool? ›

NO, While they are both are OAT { Organic acid technology } antifreeze/coolants Dexcool requires the use of 2EHA and G12 basically forbids it use. 2EHA is superior Corrosion inhibitor in cases where concentrate antifreeze/coolant is mixed with hard tap water.

Can I mix Volkswagen coolant? ›

Coolants can be mixed, as described in the chart, but it is always a best practice to change the coolant due to reduced corrosion protection when coolants are mixed. Coolants can be mixed, as described in the chart, when adding / topping off fluid levels.

What is the difference between VW G12 and G13 coolant? ›

The G13 has a purple/violet colour and has the same exceptional cooling and antifreeze performance as G12++. The main difference: it is manufactured using glycerin instead of glycol. Glycerin is much less harmful to the environment than glycol.

What happens if you use regular antifreeze instead of Dex-cool? ›

When mixed, these two products will react forming a gel that can prevent your engine from cooling properly. It can even damage multiple components of your cooling system which then must be flushed or replaced which is expensive. For that reason, the best thing for your Chevy or GM vehicle is to stick with Dex-Cool.

Can I use Prestone instead of Dex-cool? ›

Prestone Extended Life 5/150 Antifreeze/Coolant meets all requirements for GM Dex-Cool extended life antifreeze/coolant, and as such has been assigned Dex-Cool license number DC-002.

Can I use water instead of Dex-cool? ›

This is why coolant is so important and maintaining the system with the proper fluids is vital. Water by itself can't do the job of antifreeze due to its lack of boiling and freezing point range and its inability to protect your vehicle's engine. Plus, it doesn't absorb heat as effectively.

Can I put European coolant in my car? ›

Well, you use the coolant that is specified in your owner's manual. If you just need to top it up, the recommendation is still the same, however it is unlikely to cause any serious problems if you add a litre of a different type of coolant, as long as you follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.


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