Back in the old days, we did things differently. Flushing a radiator consisted of three steps: drain antifreeze; pour from a jug of new antifreeze; add water from garden hose. Nobody wondered if they were using the correct antifreeze because there was only one kind! It’s no wonder drivers were excited to get 100,000 miles out of a car.
These days, our vehicles are much more sophisticated and also longer-lasting, and our procedures for repairing and maintaining our cars and trucks have kept pace. Whether you’re a DIY mechanic or you take your vehicle to a professional for service, you want things done the right way.
More Than Just Coolant
For many import automobiles, that means using the correct antifreeze or coolant. NAPA AUTO PARTS stocks the Altrom-Pentosin Pentofrost line of OE antifreeze products specifically designed for modern European and Asian vehicles. We spoke to Tom Finch, an expert on the topic, to find out why using the correct antifreeze is important.
“Apart from color, the biggest difference between the different types of antifreeze is in the inhibitor packages,” Finch explained. “Antifreeze has other additives, like dye to make it a certain color, and anti-foaming agents. But it’s these inhibitor packages that determine how the antifreeze reacts with different metals in the engine and cooling system.”
The right antifreeze prevents corrosion in the cooling system. It’s also compatible with rubber and plastic in the system, such as water pump seals. Using the right antifreeze is important because corrosion can lead to a clog. A clogged cooling system could cause an overheating event resulting in engine failure.
Even in less drastic circumstances, a heater core issue caused by corrosion can be costly to repair. Plus, Finch says not all cooling system-related issues will appear immediately, so damage could be occurring without the driver’s knowledge.
Finch recommends consulting your owner’s manual or asking your NAPA counter sales person for help in finding the right antifreeze for your year, make and model. NAPA sells eight Altrom-Pentafrost antifreeze types specially formulated for imports, with four specified for European vehicles and four for Asian cars and trucks. Consult the chart below to find the correct antifreeze for your import vehicle.
Mixing It Up
Some antifreeze comes pre-diluted with water, but others are concentrated and should be mixed with water. Finch warned against using tap water to dilute concentrated antifreeze, especially in locations with hard water. Instead, he recommended deionized water or more widely available distilled water, which is sold at most grocery and discount stores. Finch also warned of using the wrong antifreeze or mixing colors.
“It’s just dye that gives an antifreeze color, but those dyes are added to help keep you from using the wrong antifreeze in your vehicle,” Finch said. “It shows you which product has the right inhibitor packages for your vehicle.”
Finally, Finch said that flushing and replacing your antifreeze is an important maintenance item.
“The additive packages in antifreeze do wear out,” Finch explained. “They don’t last forever, so you do have to change it to refresh the inhibitors. Check your owner’s manual for a recommended interval. If you can’t find one, 60,000 miles is probably safe.”
Altrom Pentofrost Antifreeze for Asian Japanese & Korean Cars & Trucks
|Antifreeze type||Color||Specified For:||NAPA #|
|PENTOFROST A1 (Concentrate)||Red||Lexus (1990-2004)|
|PENTOFROST A2 (Concentrate)||Green||Hyundai (1990+)|
Mitsubishi (1990+ and Lancer based models to 2011 – no Raider)
|PENTOFROST A3 (50/50 Pre-Diluted)||Blue||Acura (1990+)|
Mitsubishi Raider (2006+ and all Lancer based models to 2012+)
|PENTOFROST A4 (50/50 Pre-Diluted)||Pink||Lexus (2005+)|
Altrom Pentofrost Antifreeze for European Cars and Trucks
|Antifreeze type||Color||Specified For:||NAPA #|
|PENTOFROST NF with silicates (formerly called LONGTIME ANTIFREEZE G11)||Blue, Bright & Clear||Audi (up to 06/1996)|
BMW (all years)
Dodge Sprinter (all years)
Jaguar (up to 1997)
Land Rover V8 & Diesel
Mercedes-Benz (all years)
Mini (all years)
Porsche 924, 928, 944, & 968 (all years)
Range Rover V8 & Diesel (1990-2005)
Saab (up to 2000)
Volkswagen (up to 06/1996)
Volvo (all years)
|PENTOFROST SF without silicates (formerly called LIFETIME ANTIFREEZE G12)||Pink & Clear||Audi (after 06/1996 up to 2005); Spec. TL 744 F|
Jaguar (1997 on)
Land Rover Freelander, Discovery, Defender(1998 on)
Porsche Boxster, 911, Cayman & Cayenne (1996 on)
Saab (2001 on)
Volkswagen (after 06/1996 up to 2005); Spec. TL 744 F
|PENTOFROST E (Concentrate – H-OAT/ with silicates)||Violet||All Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche models (2006 on)||AIC 8113106|
Keeping your antifreeze fresh and clean is important for any vehicle, import or domestic. Be sure you’re using the right antifreeze to ensure the best performance and reliability from your engine’s crucial cooling system.
Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on correct antifreeze for import vehicles, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.