Can You Mix RV Antifreeze with Regular Antifreeze? | Debunking Myths, Revealing Facts




This reminds me of a time when I was preparing my camper for winter.

My question was, Can you mix RV antifreeze with regular antifreeze? Since I happened to have some RV antifreeze and standard antifreeze in my vehicle. I was attempting to reduce complexity while preserving the resources I had.

Can You Mix RV Antifreeze with Regular Antifreeze

RV Antifreeze with Regular Antifreeze

I mean, combining the two might be a good idea, wouldn’t it? The best way for me to describe it is as an attempt to combine oil and water. They are just incompatible. A standard engine antifreeze won’t mix well with the RV antifreeze that’s specifically formulated to protect the pipes in RVs.

Asking questions and gaining knowledge is always a wonderful idea, isn’t it? This ensures that our excursions remain risk-free.

Key Point

  • RV antifreeze and regular antifreeze are not buddies – they should not hang out together.
  • Using the right type for the right system keeps your RV and your car happy, with no mix-ups.
  • Safety first – RV antifreeze is like a cozy blanket for your RV’s water lines, while regular antifreeze is like a tough guard for your car’s engine.

Can You Mix Rv Antifreeze With Regular Antifreeze?

So, can you mix rv antifreeze with regular antifreeze? No, you should not mix RV antifreeze with regular antifreeze. Antifreeze for recreational vehicles is like having a helpful neighbor: it keeps the freshwater tank and the gray tanks from freezing up during the winter. Common ingredients include propylene glycol and ethanol, both of which are non-toxic and won’t harm your water supply in any way.

Can You Mix Rv Antifreeze With Regular Antifreeze.

The sort of antifreeze you put into your car’s engine, known as automotive antifreeze, is more akin to a sturdy bodyguard. Sure, it prevents things from freezing, but it also prevents things from boiling over and shields the engine from scale and rust.

Mixing them? It would be the same as asking a kind neighbor to fill in for the bodyguard. You can’t expect RV antifreeze to withstand the intense heat of an engine and provide the kind of protection you need for your vehicle. Here is why:

RV antifreeze and regular antifreeze are different:

  • There is  a difference between RV antifreeze and regular antifreeze. RV antifreeze is made of ethanol and propylene glycol.
  • Regular antifreeze is made of water, methanol, and ethylene glycol.
  • Automotive antifreeze is toxic and is designed for hearty engines, not plastic holding tanks.

Mixing RV antifreeze and regular antifreeze can be dangerous:

  • Mixing RV antifreeze with regular antifreeze can create an aggressive acid that makes your antifreeze useless.
  • If this happens, flush all the chemicals out and replace them with a pure one.

Motorhomes require separate antifreeze solutions:

  • You’ll need separate antifreeze solutions for your engine and your RV’s plumbing.
  • You should evacuate all the system water before applying RV antifreeze to the RV.

Although the regular antifreeze has additives that the RV stuff doesn’t, so you’d be diluting its power to keep your engine safe.

Reason Not To Mix Rv Antifreeze With Regular Antifreeze

Oh, hey there! So, you’re curious why mixing RV antifreeze with regular antifreeze isn’t a good idea, right? Well, let me break it down for you in a way that’s super simple to grasp.

Different Freezing And Boiling Points

The reason we don’t mix RV and regular antifreeze is because they’re like oil and water – they just don’t mix well. 

RV antifreeze and automotive antifreeze have different freezing and boiling points. This means they behave differently in cold and hot conditions. 

It’s like one is made for a snow day, and the other is made for a sunny day at the beach. Mixing them can mess up how well they protect against freezing or overheating.

Mixing Types

Problems may arise when several types of antifreeze are mixed. It would be the same as if, instead of milk, you poured orange juice over your cereal. 

Nothing about it is proper. They may not provide enough protection for your RV or vehicle when combined. Also, it may cause a cascade of bizarre chemical reactions that endanger the same systems they claim to safeguard.

Corrosion Inhibition

Corrosion inhibitors are unique components found in both kinds of antifreeze. Imagine them as the armor that shields the inside of your car from the damaging effects of rust and corrosion. 

However, the protectors used by RV antifreeze and car antifreeze are different. When you combine them, it gives the impression that the bodyguards aren’t sure who they’re guarding. Rust and corrosion protection may be compromised as a result.

Toxicity Concerns

One major issue is safety. Ingesting even a small quantity of automotive antifreeze, particularly the kind that contains ethylene glycol, may be dangerous. As an alternative, RV antifreeze often contains propylene glycol, an eco-friendly and safer option. 

This is something you should give extra consideration to when working on your RV’s water system. Just like you need a CDL to drive an RV for safety is proposed. So, It’s important to keep anything poisonous away from your freshwater tank.

Warranty And Manufacturer Recommendations

Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is like following a recipe to make sure your cake comes out perfectly. 

Using the wrong type of antifreeze can void your warranty. That’s like not getting your security deposit back because you painted the walls a crazy color.

And oh! Before I forget, you asked about putting RV antifreeze straight in your radiator or in the black tank, right? 

Well, Can I put 50 50 antifreeze straight in my radiator? It’s like asking if you can wear flip-flops in the snow. It’s not the best idea because your car’s radiator needs the right mix for the best protection. And Can I put RV antifreeze in black tank? It’s a great way to protect the valves and seals from freezing, kind of like putting on a warm coat for your RV’s plumbing.

So, mixing RV and regular antifreeze is a no-go. Stick to the right type for your ride or home-on-wheels,  antifreeze brands, and you’ll keep everything running smoothly.

What Are The Consequences Of Mixing These Two Types Of Antifreeze?

Not a good plan, to be honest. If you try to combine oil and water, you’ll get something that doesn’t go down well. So, without further ado, let’s examine the consequences of combining various kinds of antifreeze.

What Are The Consequences Of Mixing These Two Types Of Antifreeze

Poor Cooling

Envision yourself attempting to quench your thirst on a scorching day with a lukewarm slushie. That is the result of using a mixture of antifreeze in your vehicle’s engine. Mixing these two substances, pink antifreeze and propylene glycol rv antifreeze reduces their cooling effect. 

Since the antifreeze is unable to remove the heat, the engine temperature increases. Your vehicle is perspiring profusely, and there seems to be no way to alleviate this problem. Keeping the engine cool is essential for worry-free exploration, so it’s a must-have if you enjoy living in an RV.

Hazardous Solution

Mixing antifreeze types is like making a potion without knowing the recipe. Some ingredients just don’t play nice together. 

You end up with a chemical mess that’s bad for your engine and the environment. It’s a bit like when you’re trying to clean your RV’s fresh water tank but accidentally mix the wrong cleaners. 

Suddenly, with residual water, you’ve got a hazardous solution on your hands that could harm the water lines or even your health.


An automobile that is overheating is screaming, “I’m having a breakdown!” When the cooling system is overwhelmed by the combination of antifreeze and untreated water, the engine temperature increases dramatically. 

This is particularly problematic if you are on a lengthy journey or trying to locate a place to leave your recreational vehicle. Imagine arranging the ideal picnic only to have the sun decide to unleash its scorching rays on top of everything. Not enjoyable for everyone.

Engine Damage

Your car’s engine is like its beating heart. This is like giving it junk food: different kinds of antifreeze mixed. 

It will lead to major health problems in the long run. Just to name a few, there is wear, corrosion, and blockages. With each mile you put on your automobile, it seems like its lifetime is becoming shorter. 

Even more so when you’re far from any kind of assistance or dump station, no one likes dealing with a breakdown.

Thick Chemical Mixture

Antifreeze may thicken and become sticky when different varieties are mixed. Attempting to complete a marathon while carrying a large load is akin to this. Nobody benefits from the extra effort required of your car’s cooling system to circulate this muck. 

It would be difficult for your vehicle to maintain a cool temperature if this viscous combination clogs the works. Do not do this if you want to use your car as your mobile home or to locate an ideal RV parking location.

Reduced Corrosion Inhibitors

Rust and corrosion inhibitors are common ingredients in antifreeze. However, if you combine two kinds, you may say goodbye to any advantages. 

Comparable to a shield that is partially perforated,  it will provide less protection. This might lead to a shorter lifespan for your vehicle’s engine and water system, and it will certainly cause extra maintenance issues for RV residents.

Viscosity Increase

The flow is negatively affected when mixed antifreeze thickens. Think of the engine’s cooling system as a little straw straining to sip a milkshake. 

I mean, really, how much will pass through? Here, it is the case. The engine struggles, overheats, and degrades more rapidly. Finding a spot to park your RV might be particularly challenging if you’re often on the go.

So, what about mixing RV antifreeze with water or toilet chemicals? Well, can you mix RV antifreeze with water? A little water is okay to dilute antifreeze, but too much changes the freezing and boiling points, messing with protection. 

And can you mix RV antifreeze with toilet chemicals? Generally, it’s safe, but always check the labels to be sure. 

Like locating the optimal area to leave your recreational vehicle or filling up your freshwater tank, both mixtures have their uses. Keep your ride comfortable and your excursions enjoyable by always aiming for a safe path.

Are There Any Situations Where Mixing Them Might Be Acceptable Or Necessary?

Mixtures are used in many aspects of daily life, including cooking, cleaning, medicine, and industrial processes. For example, when cooking, different ingredients are mixed to create a dish.

Now, when you’re prepping your RV for a trip or to park it for a while, you’ve got different types of antifreeze to think about. There’s the regular antifreeze, which is usually for your car, and then there’s RV antifreeze, which is a whole other ball game.

Imagine you’re getting your RV ready for winter. You wouldn’t want any of the water lines or your fresh water tank to freeze and crack, would you? 

That’s where RV antifreeze comes in. It’s different from auto antifreeze because it’s non-toxic and safe to use in systems that might get into your drinking water. 

Auto antifreeze, ethanol antifreeze with ethylene glycol, is a no-go for drinking water because it’s toxic. But RV antifreeze, often made with propylene glycol, is much safer for this.

Now, there’s a thing about RVs – they have these special tanks, like the black tank for waste and gray tanks for used water from sinks and showers. 

But hey, what about mixing antifreeze types? 

Generally, you want to stick to the right type for each system. Propylene glycol antifreeze is your friend for the RV’s water system because it’s safe and doesn’t mess with your water quality. 

Also, it’s designed to protect against freezing without the nasty side effects of the toxic stuff.

And when it comes to those extra questions, like “Can you mix rv antifreeze with windshield washer fluid?” or “Can you mix RV antifreeze with bleach?”, it’s tricky. 

You really shouldn’t mix chemicals without knowing how they’ll react. Each has its purpose, and mixing could mess with their effectiveness or, worse, create harmful reactions.

So, when prepping your RV, use the right type of antifreeze for each part of your vehicle.

What Is The Difference Between RV and Automotive Antifreeze?

RV antifreeze is non-toxic and is used in the plumbing systems of RVs and boats. Automotive antifreeze is toxic and is used in the engine cooling systems of cars. 

FeatureRV AntifreezeAutomotive Antifreeze
CompositionTypically made from propylene glycol or ethanol.Usually made from ethylene glycol.
PurposeDesigned to protect RV plumbing systems from freezing.Designed to prevent car engine freeze-up and overheating and to protect the cooling system from corrosion.
ToxicityGenerally non-toxic (especially propylene glycol-based); safe for use in drinking water systems.Toxic if ingested; harmful to humans and animals.
Freezing PointVaries, but designed to prevent freezing at temperatures well below 0°C/32°F.Lower freezing point to protect engines even in very cold temperatures.
UsageUsed in RV plumbing systems to protect pipes and fittings from freezing damage.Used in the cooling systems of cars and other combustion engines.
Environmental ImpactPropylene glycol-based antifreeze is considered more environmentally friendly and biodegradable.Ethylene glycol-based antifreeze is toxic to the environment and requires proper disposal.
ColorOften pink or red to distinguish it from automotive antifreeze.Typically green, but can also be orange, yellow, or pink, depending on the additives and type.

Types Of Antifreeze That Is Safe For Rv

So, without further ado, let’s explore RV antifreeze and see what’s suitable for your trailer home. It’s similar to picking out the proper insulation for your RV’s pipes when the weather turns cold. Freezing and cracking in your RV’s water pipes is something you want to avoid. What a disappointment!

Types Of Antifreeze That Is Safe For Rv

Propylene Glycol-Based Antifreeze

Propylene glycol antifreeze is like a kind neighbor: it’s safe and mild for your recreational vehicle. So, insist of asking do you mix RV antifreeze with water just buy this.

Being eco-friendly and safe for use in your fresh water tank makes it a nice choice. Visualize a comforting embrace enveloping your RV’s water lines, ensuring a secure fit free of harmful energy. 

Also, it protects your water system from wear and corrosion, making it seem like a superhero. Also, don’t freak out if any ends up in your freshwater tank by mistake. There’s not much of a fuss for you or your RV.

Ethanol-Based Antifreeze

Ethanol-based antifreeze is like that strong, no-nonsense friend. It gets straight to the point – keeping your RV’s water lines from turning into ice sculptures. 

But it comes with a “handle with care” tag. It can be tough on rubber seals and might invite some unwelcome guests, like corrosion, into your water system. 

It almost works, but it warns you to be careful since it might have negative side effects. However, some like it while getting their RV ready for a night of chilly sleep.

Bio-Based And Non-Toxic Antifreeze

Consider this one the antifreeze equivalent of an environmental crusader. Designed to protect your RV’s water pipes from harm without compromising the environment, this product is crafted from all-natural materials. 

It’s friendly, and harmless, and will even grin at your gray and black aquariums. This is perfect for you if you’re the eco-conscious kind who likes to go slow. 

Knowing you’re not making a mess is like having tranquility in a bottle.

Splash RV and Marine Antifreeze

SPLASH is like that reliable buddy who’s always ready for an adventure, whether on land or sea. It’s versatile, tackling both your RV and boat with equal gusto. 

Preventing freeze-ups is important, but being environmentally conscious is even more so. 

Going on a road trip or surfing with the knowledge that your car is safe and you’re helping the environment is a win-win. No matter where your adventures lead you, it’s like having a buddy who has your back.

RecPro RV Antifreeze

RecPro is like the quiet hero of RV antifreeze. It’s designed to keep your water lines safe from the cold without making a big fuss. 

It’s got your RV covered, from the water heater to the fresh water tank, ensuring everything stays liquid, even when it’s freezing outside. 

Think of it as the silent guardian of your RV’s water system, always there, always protecting, no drama.

Prestone RV Antifreeze

Prestone is like the wise old sage of antifreeze. It’s got years of experience under its belt, protecting RVs from the ravages of winter. 

You may have faith in it since it is an expert at preventing water pipes from freezing. You can rest easy knowing that your recreational vehicle is in excellent hands with Prestone, which is more than just antifreeze. 

When you have a reliable professional guiding you through the difficulties of winterizing your recreational vehicle, it’s like having an extra set of hands.

PEAK Antifreeze

PEAK Antifreeze is like the all-rounder athlete who excels in every sport. It’s tough on freeze-ups but gentle on your RV’s system. 

For all your plumbing needs, including the fresh water tank, water heater, and more, PEAK is the company to call. 

The ability to adapt to whatever the winter season brings is like having a multipurpose athlete on your squad. Rest certain that your RV will be protected from the chilly weather with PEAK.

Star Brite Rv Antifreeze

Star Brite shines bright as its name suggests. It’s not just about preventing your RV’s water lines from freezing; it’s also about ensuring they stay healthy and corrosion-free. 

In addition to keeping you warm in the winter, it also makes sure you look and feel amazing, so think of it as a protective buddy. Star Brite ensures that your recreational vehicle’s water system is both safe and treated like a VIP.

How To Use Antifreeze In Rv?

Okay, then, I will show you how to use RV antifreeze. During the winter, everyone knows that it’s crucial to protect their recreational vehicles. Fortunately, antifreeze is on your side. It’s the same as putting on a warm coat for your RV to keep it from becoming chilly!

How To Use Antifreeze In Rv

Step 01: Winterize

Winterizing your RV isn’t a big scary task. It’s all about making sure your RV is ready to face the cold without any issues. You start by draining all the water out. Then, you fill up the system with RV antifreeze. This is not the same stuff you put in your car, by the way. 

I’m talking about a special kind that’s safe for the pipes in your RV. It’s like choosing the right kind of warm clothes for winter – you gotta pick the right antifreeze.

Step 02: Add Antifreeze To Drains

Applying antifreeze to your drains is the same as sealing up every crack and crevice that might be vulnerable to frost. 

Dispose of some down the sink in every room: kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. If there is water in your pipes, this procedure will prevent it from freezing and creating a major problem. It’s crucial and simple as pie.

Step 03: Open Valves

Opening valves is kind of like opening windows on a warm spring day. But instead of letting air in, we’re making sure all the antifreeze gets where it needs to go. 

You open the valves to let the antifreeze flow through all the water lines. It’s a simple step but super crucial to make sure every part of your RV is protected.

Step 04: Flush

Flushing the system with antifreeze might sound a bit odd, but think of it as rinsing your RV’s plumbing system with a winter coat. Just like RV toilet chemicals aren’t safe for septic tanks. Antifreeze isn’t safe too. So, flashing it means making sure drinking water is safe.

You’re making sure that every pipe, every line, gets a good coating of antifreeze. This way, no water left behind can freeze and cause damage.

Step 05: Close

Once flushing is complete, all valves should be sealed. Keeping the heat in is like shutting the doors. 

This last step guarantees that the antifreeze will remain in its designated spot, protecting everything from harm.

Step 06: Bypass The Water Heater

Get around the water heater first before you dump antifreeze all over the place. It’s the same as thinking a hot water bottle doesn’t need a hat. 

Antifreeze isn’t necessary for the water heater, therefore this is a good way to avoid wasting it.

Step 07: Circulate The Antifreeze

It is critical to circulate the antifreeze. By activating the pumps, you can ensure that the antifreeze reaches all vulnerable areas in the system. 

Imagine a house where the warm air is evenly distributed, ensuring that every space remains toasty.

Step 08: Additional Steps

Don’t forget about the little things – like checking for any leaks or making sure all the antifreeze has reached its destination. 

It’s the attention to detail that can make a big difference in keeping your RV safe from the cold.

Step 09: Final Checks

Finish out with a last walkthrough. Make sure your RV is winter-ready by double-checking that everything has been done correctly. It is analogous to inspecting the windows and doors one more time before a major storm.

Now, about mixing things up – can you mix RV antifreeze, or can you mix different brands of RV antifreeze? Remaining consistent with a single kind might help you prevent any unanticipated outcomes. The refrigerant in recreational vehicles is similar to motor oil in that you shouldn’t mix various kinds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are There Guidelines Provided By The Vehicle Manufacturer Regarding Coolant Types And Ratios?

Yes, vehicle manufacturers provide guidelines for coolant types and ratios. For example, most vehicle manufacturers recommend a 50/50 mix of glycol and water when vehicles require adequate cooling but do not need much protection from the cold.

Which Is Better 50-50 Antifreeze Or Full Strength?

A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is generally recommended for most applications. This mixture provides protection from -34°F to 265°F and ensures corrosion inhibitors remain at the intended levels.

What Is The Best Alternative Mix Rv Antifreeze?

Propylene glycol is a popular and safe alternative to RV antifreeze. It’s non-toxic to humans and pets and has a higher flash point than ethanol. Propylene glycol-based antifreeze is also non-flammable, making it safer than ethanol-based antifreeze. 

Last Words

So, can you mix RV antifreeze with regular antifreeze? This is not a wise strategy, no. View it from this perspective: To prevent the water in your recreational vehicle from freezing, use RV antifreeze, a mild sort. 

It’s perfectly OK for use indoors, where water is directed. You shouldn’t put ordinary material near your drinking water since it is harder and designed for vehicles. 

Doing both at once? Poor decision-making. There may be issues as a result. If you want to be cautious and make sure everything works properly, keep them apart. There you have it!

John Little

Written by

John Little

Meet John Little, the Tiny Living Guru. With two decades of hands-on experience and an architecture degree, he’s a Sustainable Housing Innovator and Tiny Home Ambassador. John’s mission: inspire eco-conscious, mobile living. Join him on this transformative journey.

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