2006 Dodge Van - Home brew antifreeze solutions

I have no antifreeze what can I use instead that I got at my house

Only use coolant specified by the manufacturer.
You could use water, but only to drive it to your mechanic for a drain and refill with correct coolant.
IMO, the best solution is to have your van towed
to your mechanic to diagnose why your van lost coolant.


The only acceptable thing is water, and then watch out for below freezing temperatures. Frozen water expands and can break whatever it’s contained within, including engines.

If I had to drive 100 miles with only water I would, and then get it fixed.

How low is your coolant level now?

As others have said, if you use anything other than the proper coolant and distilled water, you’ll need to drain that out as soon as possible.

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Absolutely nothing, this ain’t 1945, things have changed…A LOT.


Just water. But replace with the proper coolant as soon as you can. Besides cooling, anti-freeze has rust inhibitors. I wouldn’t go more than a couple days with just water.


… and if the OP lives in a region where temperatures can dip below freezing, he should only use “straight” water as an emergency expedient in order to get the van to a mechanic’s shop, and then advise the mechanic to drain the cooling system.


Nobody else said distilled. In most localities there is no problem using tap water or well water.

It is good to get the water out and proper water/coolant mix in soon, but it’s not an emergency to have only water, if freezup is not possible.

Antifreeze is water, alcohol, rust inhibitors and other chemicals to prevent forming acid. You could add alcohol and water in a 1:1 mixture for temporary use, but the radiator should be drained and filled with proper antifreeze as many other posters stated above. It’s a lot less expensive to use the correct antifreeze than to replace the radiator and then fill it with the right stuff.

What a quandary, drive to the store to get distilled water or drive to the store to get antifreeze.

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Antifreeze is ethylene glycol based. Alcohol (methanol) hasn’t been used for a very long time.


In the 50s people that couldn’t afford anti freeze just used water. Then if it was going to get down to freezing, would drain it out and fill it again in the morning.

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Mogen David.

If there was no way to buy a gallon of antifreeze, I’d go knocking/calling neighbors/friends/relatives to see if any had some sitting on a shelf that I could use and replace later.


Before you go bothering your neighbors, junk yards sell used anti freeze. I’ve got a gallon of Acura long life and a gallon of dexcool that I’m not giving up.

That was still taking place with some folks in the '60s. A friend of mine had a co-worker who refused to buy antifreeze because it was “too expensive”, so he would drain the water in the afternoon, and refill in the AM with water.

One very cold morning, he had the “brilliant” thought that if he refilled it with boiling water, he would be able to get heat almost instantaneously. I think you can guess what happened to his engine. So much for “saving money”.

Water to drive to the parts store and buy the proper stuff. The universal is probably fine for this one but you don’t want to leave water long at all, especially if in freezing climates. One cold night can ruin the engine.

Ethylene glycol is an alcohol as are ethanol, 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol) and methanol. Propylene glycol is also used as an antifreeze and is an alcohol. Propylene glycol is often substituted for ethylene glycol when a less toxic antifreeze is desired in marine or automotive applications and is use to de-ice aircraft. All the chemicals I’ve come across that end in ‘ol’ are in the alcohol family.

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Mad Dog!!! :blush:

It wasn’t too many years ago that I got a call from my bil in Kansas to go out to a farm where his old ltd was to drain the water because it was going to freeze that night. Heh heh. 400 miles away. Not sure how he got it there or got it back but I was only a few miles away. I guess in Kansas you can get by with that more than minnesota.