Not everyone pursues the mechanic’s trade and understands all the ins and outs of vehicle maintenance. But it is important for all vehicle owners to be empowered to do what they can for their vehicles in-between visits to the mechanic or Utah auto repair shop.

Antifreeze may seem simple enough. You check the levels. You buy some. You pour it in. Right? Wrong. Not all antifreeze is compatible. You need to buy the right antifreeze for your vehicle.

If you purchase the wrong kind, you can erode the water pump, shorten the lifespan of the antifreeze, or cause corrosion. The ethylene glycol in antifreeze never runs out, but the various types of corrosion and rust inhibitors get used up.

Some of today’s cars use organic acids, a new type of inhibitor. These forms of antifreeze come in red or orange. Check with the shop or consult your auto manual to determine if this is the right type for your car. These newer types of antifreeze can last 5 years or 150,000 miles.

But if you pour organic acids into a vehicle that does not have an aluminum radiator, you will be in trouble. If your vehicle has been using yellow/gold or green antifreeze, stick with that, even if you are adding a cooling system part made of aluminum. But again, check your manual to make sure you get the right one, as there are even differences within the same color class.