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RV Antifreeze Vs Car Antifreeze

Writen by Tom Hank

Fact checked by Joseph Varney

Winters are the best time to roam around, go on adventures, or enjoy some family time in your RV. The problem arrives when your motorhome starts reacting weirdly during the low temperatures. If you want to take care of that, an RV antifreeze is your solution. But do you know what exactly an antifreeze is? Or the difference between RV antifreeze vs. car antifreeze?

Here we will be talking about the difference between these two solutions, and whether you can use the same product for both purposes or not. So you will know if you are wasting your money by keeping them separate or you are doing it wrong by keeping it the same.

We will also be covering some common questions on RV antifreeze that may cross your mind while selecting the solution and using it.

Table of Contents

RV Antifreeze vs. Car Antifreeze

Which RV antifreeze is best

When the temperatures are low, the liquid present in your vehicle tends to freeze. It can stop the working of the automobile and make it useless during the winters. If the situation gets severe, it can cause permanent damage to the vehicle by bursting out of the pipes. This is where antifreeze comes to your rescue.

Antifreeze keeps the liquid from freezing so that it does not cause any damage to the vehicle. With these, you can use your automobiles as usual, irrespective of what season it is. Plus, it reduces the maintenance cost that you may have paid if the liquid froze due to the temperature.

Now to know the difference between car antifreeze and RV antifreeze, it is crucial to see the variation in their structures. So here is a little comparison.

RV And Car Structures

The primary contrast in the structure of a car and RV is the type of liquid they use. In your car, the only liquid you need the take care of is the fuel. On the other hand, your RV has an entire plumbing system that is used to supply the water for various purposes.

So the area that requires winterization in your car is its engine. In contrast, your RV needs to be winterized for its plumbing system. This is where the whole difference in antifreeze comes into account.

Difference In Antifreeze

The antifreeze used in your car is designed entirely for the purpose of keeping the fuel from freezing. So it contains components that are toxic in nature. If you use it in your RV, it will make the water unfit for consumption. That simply dissolves the entire purpose of using an antifreeze solution.

But to solve the problem, you can use the RV antifreeze solutions that are designed specifically for the motorhome. It is not toxic in nature and does not affect the water present in your RV.

Generally, the RV antifreeze mixture is known as the pink solution. It is pumped into the vehicle’s plumbing system and keeps the liquid from freezing so that it does not harm the narrow pipes of RV.

These pipelines are not costly, which is the reason why people avoid buying RV antifreeze. However, they do not know that the replacement cost for these pipelines can rise, up to a few hundred dollars. That is why it is a good deal to opt for the antifreeze.

Purpose Of RV Antifreeze


As mentioned earlier, antifreeze solutions help in saving vehicle liquids from freezing in extremely low temperatures. In the case of RVs, the concerning liquid is water, and you need to focus on that.

The RV antifreeze solutions are generally alcohol-based. So when it is pumped into the vehicle’s pipelines, it helps increase the freezing point of the water. This way, the water does not freeze even when you take your RV in places like Alaska.

Remember, the antifreeze can change the taste of the water. It happens because you are putting it inside the pipelines. If you want to avoid this, you can drain it out entirely from the pipes so that it does not affect the taste of the water.

Also, this proper drainage allows you to use the solution even in the freshwater tank. If you are new to winterization RV.

The Importance Of RV Antifreeze

You can easily find people who say they do not need to winterize their RV as they do not go to freezing temperatures. Some of them also use the compressed air method to do the job.

But the question here is, why should you avoid using an RV antifreeze? You never know when the temperature goes out of hand, and then you will have no option left. Plus, winterization your RV with antifreeze is not costly as compared to the costs of repair.

It is always better to take suitable precautions before the situation gets worse. Therefore, instead of spending your money on repairing, you can get the RV winterized on time. It will save you hundreds of dollars.

If you are worried about the ruined water taste problem, we have already mentioned the solution to that. So it is the best option to get your RV winterized with antifreeze to keep it safe, especially when the winters are approaching.

Not All RV Antifreeze Are Same


If you think that your query has been solved here, then you may be slightly wrong. The reason being, not all types of RV antifreeze are the same. So even if you know the difference in RV antifreeze vs. car antifreeze, you may still be confused about how to buy the prior one.

If you ask someone about RV antifreeze, they will tell you to buy the pink solution. It is because all three types of it are there in the color pink. But you should know the difference in composition so that you can choose the correct one for the right purpose.

  • Propylene Glycol Based RV Antifreeze: The name suggests its composition, which is non-toxic. It is used in the pipelines to expand the seals that are present inside the toilet and faucets.
  • Propylene or Ethanol Blend RV Antifreeze: Just like the previous one, this one is also non-toxic in nature. It is used in plumbing systems to dry out seals present in it.
  • Ethanol Based RV Antifreeze: Usually, experts do not recommend this product as it is alcohol-based and is highly flammable. Plus, it might make the water taste and smell bad.

The Color Of Antifreeze

Almost all types of RV Antifreeze are pink and slushy. However, you may find a blue variant in these. The difference in these two is generally the temperature rating. The pink antifreeze will provide you with a -50F while the blue antifreeze can be used for -100F.

Most people find the pink one most useful, which is why it is the most popular RV antifreeze. You can opt either according to the temperature rating requirement.

Using It For A Long Time

Another factor that decides the cost of antifreeze is whether it can be used for a long time or not. The reason for the same is one-time use solutions need to be bought every year or even every time of use. But you are at benefit here because you can make use of RV antifreeze for a really long time.

However, the antifreeze solution should be kept sealed adequately throughout the year. Else it will get ruined. You should also check the shelf life of the solution that is mentioned in its box to avoid using an expired product.

In addition to this, you should not try to dilute the solution with water. It will make antifreeze less concentrate and will not work appropriately.

Final Word

To conclude the entire topic, we can say that winterization is one of the most crucial things you need to do to keep your RV safe. Plus,

  • You should keep your car antifreeze and RV antifreeze separate as they are used for different purposes.
  • There are several RV antifreeze solutions.
  • You should opt for a suitable RV antifreeze solution according to different purposes.
  • There are different colors of RV antifreeze that can be chosen for different temperature ratings.
  • You can keep the same RV antifreeze solution for a long time. However, you should keep it sealed adequately so that it does not get ruined.
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