Can You Use Water in Place of Coolant?

The cooling system is in charge of keeping your engine at a stable temperature. Coolant fluid is pushed throughout the engine to draw excess heat away from the motor. Coolant, or the antifreeze mix, has chemical properties that prevent overheating and corrosion. Over time, your coolant may run low, which will cause your engine to run hotter than usual.


In order to calm your engine down, you will need to top your vehicle off with coolant before bringing it to an auto repair shop for inspections. Normally, if coolant is low, it means there's a leak within the system. But what if you don't have coolant fluid on hand? Could you use water?


Water is considered safe to use in place of coolant but only temporarily. After all, coolant is simply a 50/50 blend of water and antifreeze. The antifreeze is mixed in to raise the water's freezing and boiling points to withstand harsh conditions. We say it is a temporary solution because water has its drawbacks. 


Adding too much water can actually damage the system since the ratios won't be proportional. When you dilute the antifreeze, it can lower boiling and increase the solution's freezing point. You will want to get a fluid flush soon after to avoid damage. Another con of using water as a coolant is that it can cause rust and corrosion quicker.


While water may be a quick grab, it should only be used to hold you off until you can get your vehicle to a trusted repair shop. We invite you to Harrell Automotive for cooling system services and repairs. You can count on our expert mechanics to locate any leaks and refill your cooling system with adequate fluid. Please give us a call or visit soon!