Is Antifreeze Flammable?

In the auto-mechanic sector, safety is always a top priority when you consider the looming hazards from physical injury, burns, and many more that can affect you or your property. Antifreeze is a common liquid in auto-engineering and plays a role in the car engine by lowering the freezing point of water-based liquids. Is antifreeze flammable? This is a valid question, considering several liquids in the vehicle can catch fire and cause unwanted incidents.

Antifreeze is flammable, meaning it can catch fire and burn. This is one of the top safety factors you should know when handling this liquid. It is a standard item for internal combustion engines, similar to other heat-transferring utilities like solar water heaters. Most antifreeze will feature anti-corrosion properties that will prevent the containing unit from wearing out. This answers another common question; is antifreeze corrosive? Good antifreeze is friendly to the metal and rubber components of the car’s engine.

is antifreeze flammable or not

Read Also: Can You Mix Red and Green Antifreeze?

Antifreeze Flammability

While the realization of antifreeze being flammable can cause panic to many car users and mechanics who come in contact with this liquid, there is nothing to worry about. It does not feel right for a water-based element like antifreeze to be flammable, many may argue, due to water being a popular fire extinguisher.

While water-based antifreeze is flammable, on rare occasions, can it be the first fuel in the event of a car fire? However, it will catch fire when the car burns and contribute to the burning. There are ethyl-glycol-based antifreeze types, which also catch fire, but according to lab tests, several factors should be right for it to catch fire. However, it is hard for all those factors to be present in the vehicle situation to be fire.

Temperature is one of the factors that need to be present. 650-degree to 750-degree Fahrenheit in-vehicle metal surface can auto-ignite antifreeze, but reaching such temperatures in normal conditions is hard unless the car is on fire. Antifreeze has a flashpoint of 232 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the point lowest temperature a flammable fluid can form vapor and support ignition. The lower the flashpoint, the more flammable it is. The conclusion is that you need a lot of heat for you to trigger antifreeze burning, and most of the time, it is a secondary cause of fire after a much more powerful trigger like car fuel or short-circuiting.

There is also the argument that the water-based antifreeze’s water component will quench the fire; hence, it won’t burn much. While this suggestion is true to a certain degree, but water will evaporate fast, leaving the glycol component to continue combusting.

Is antifreeze classed as flammable? Yes, it is flammable, but it is rare for it to burn when in use in the internal combustion engine.

Read Also: Why Does My Coolant Leak When Car Is Not Running?

Precautions When Handling Antifreeze

Seeing that antifreeze is flammable, you need to be careful when handling it. Here are some precautions to keep in mind when handling it.

Store It Safely

You should store antifreeze safely after using it. Keep it in a place out of children’s reach as it may be a cause of emergencies. Besides causing fires, it has a sweet smell due to the ethyl component. Children or pets may mistake it for food and ingest it, and it can have far-fetching results, like causing liver failure. In large quantities, it may cause death, and it is also hard to detect in the body as the body will react as if it is any disease.

Keep The Labeling On

Still, on storage, you should have its labeling on, and it is advisable to retain it in its original container to avoid mistaken use.

Keep Away From Fire

Knowing that it is flammable, you should keep it far from the fire. When it catches fire, the results may be too much; thus, go for prevention measures. When using it, make sure there is no open fire source nearby.

Contact With Skin

If it comes in contact with your skin, wash it with soap and water. It is not corrosive, and the worst it can cause is slight reddening or dermatitis.

Read Also: Why Is My Car Running Hot But Not Overheating?

What Is The Flashpoint Of Antifreeze?

To determine how flammable a liquid is, you look at its flashpoint, which is the lowest temperature that it forms vapor to sustain ignition. Antifreeze has a high flashpoint of 232 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it is not that flammable. The higher the flashpoint, the less flammable it is. Compare the antifreeze value to that of gasoline, which is at -40 degrees Fahrenheit and is one of the most flammable fluids.

Can Antifreeze Catch On Fire?

Yes, antifreeze can catch fire and burn. Despite being water-based, it has a high glycol base, which, when exposed to higher temperatures, will catch fire. However, the temperatures should be high enough for it to burn, with studies putting the temperature range at 650-750 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do You Make Fire With Antifreeze?

You might be stuck in the wilderness with your car, and you want to start a fire. The good news is that with antifreeze and potassium permanganate, you can create fire. Potassium permanganate is a first aid kit component used as a mild antiseptic. To start a fire, mix the two on a dry and ignitable surface like paper or dry leaves, and on coming into contact, you notice some smoke. If the trial is not successful, you should dispose of the two chemicals by burying them as they can ignite later.

What Temperature Does 50/50 Antifreeze Freeze At?

50/50 antifreeze is a mixture of deionized water and coolant and mostly comes pre-diluted. This mixture has a lower freezing point of -35 degrees Fahrenheit and an elevated boiling point of 223 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is 50/50 antifreeze flammable? 50/50 antifreeze will burn when it comes in contact with fire, despite having water as a component.

What Happens If You Spill Antifreeze?

When you accidentally spill antifreeze, it will remain on the surface for a while, forming a puddle. It does not evaporate easily, and you will notice a greenish-colored fluid. Seeing that antifreeze is poisonous, especially to pets, you have to clean it immediately.

Final Word

Antifreeze is an essential product for your car, playing an important role in the cooling system. It prevents the cooling unit enclosure from expanding during freezing, which can make it burst. The coolant also has anti-corrosion properties that prevent metal and rubber parts from wearing out. It is a flammable liquid, meaning it can catch fire and burn. Be careful when handling antifreeze to prevent hazards.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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