Can I use universal engine coolant on my 01 mercury Cougar?

Hi all :slight_smile:

Well I need to refill my engine coolant system as I got light warming on my dashboard.

According to the official manual of my car :

My car was factory-filled with Ford extended life engine coolant F6AZ-19544AA or equivalent meeting Ford specification WSS-M97B44-D

I went to Autozone today and found some universal engine coolant with various color (green …)

My question is can I use of those engine coolant or not ?
I didn’t see any specification meets and those Autozone engine coolant. The salesgirl told me that was ok but you know …


Others will disagree with me, but…

I put every car I own on universal coolants. (They are yellow, not green). The job of a coolant is not as complicated as some people/manufacturers make it out to be. Problems come from two things - 1) not servicing often enough (and if you go to universal, your owner’s manual interval may no longer apply); and 2) mixing coolants that shouldn’t be mixed. Universals lack that problem, but I avoid it anyway and just run universal, period. I am fed up with manufacturer specific fluid “types” for really simple tasks. The only one you don’t violate is transmission fluid specs. But the job of transmission fluid is very complex. (This does not include oil weight specification - that’s not a “type”).

Let me repeat - some other will disagree.

All of that said, what light came on? Low coolant? Temperature? If you are low on coolant you have a leak and have to get it fixed. If it is a temperature-related thing then you need that diagnosed. What is the history of your cooling system in terms of maintenance and such?

I’d ask at the local Ford dealer parts and service dept what commercial coolants meet that Ford spec. This link below might be helpful.

What was used in it last time?

The car is 14 model years old, so it probably isn’t on the factory fill. (One would certainly hope so, anyways). I’d go with the same stuff you used last time, so you know it’s compatible.

There’s a fair amount of leeway in coolants, provided you flush out ALL of the prior mix. Failing that, “universal” coolant is designed to get along okay (though not necessarily optimally) with most other coolants.

The two main problems with “universal” coolant mixes are: first, that they use organic corrosion inhibitors. These last longer, but react poorly with dissolved air in the system (if you notice, all cars that spec “long life” coolant utilize a pressurized recovery tank). That’s bad news for guys like me who drive cars with unpressurized overflows.

The other problem is that some universal coolants use 2EHA…a plasticiser that can soften and dissolve non-compatible plastics. (SEE ALSO: GM and their intake manifold issues and/or GM’s dex-cool fiasco).

Thanks for the answers guys I appreciate.

@cigroller I just bought the car 2 weeks ago so I don’t know that much the history of the car.
My car did not overheat. The engine coolant light which came on.
It might be a leak but not necessarily. I’ll refill it and see how it goes.

But still on the manual they say :

Do not mix the factory-filled engine coolant with a green-colored premium engine coolant such as E2FZ-19549-AA, meeting ford specification ESE-M97B44-A

So I don’t know …

@GeorgeSanJose‌ Thanks for the link. Checking it out. But no prices. I’m affraid that Ford prices are expensive. At Autozone range prices were around 12$ the gallon

@meanjoe75fan‌ I don’t what was used the last time, I wouldn’t ask if so.
But you got a point, it probably isn’t the factory fill !

Well tomorrow I’ll go over my Ford local dealer to see how much it costs and then buy either Autozone’s one or Ford’s one if affordable

When I google Ford extended life engine coolant F6AZ-19544AA i anything comes up. Any prices nothing.

If someone know the price to avoid me to driver over there for nothing that would be cool

Others will disagree with me…

I come at this from the professional side, not the DIY crowd, so my opinion may be tainted by that, but I say use what the manual recommends and what the car came from the factory with. Someone put considerable time and effort into engineering your car and the best fluids for it. Do you think the guy at AutoZone knows better? I have yet to hear any convincing argument from anyone as to why they should use a universal coolant rather than the equivalent of the factory fill.

Other than some European makes, there is no expensive coolant. I buy wholesale, and the difference in my cost for plain old green, Toyota long-life, DexCool, Ford Gold, Honda Blue, etc. is about $3/gallon.

The only thing truly close to a universal coolant out there is Zerex G-05, and even that is not approved by all car makers. And even so, since the price difference is within 20% of the real factory stuff, why bother?

Look for Ford VC7B coolant and you’ll find what you need.

@GeorgeSanJose‌ I found the one that I’m supposed to fill in my car on your link :wink:

Yup. That’s what I’d use.

@asemaster: I don’t disagree with you, but that wasn’t the question OP asked. He asked if universal coolant was compatible/usable in his vehicle.

In principal you should always use the factory spec…but for drivers of old cars, “original formula” green is getting hard to find! I used it on my most recent change, but I’m contemplating switching to something I know I can find in any highway gas station.

@asemaster great thanks and can I ask you how much do you pay for it ?
I found it on amazon at 34$ !

What is that wholesale ? I’m foreigner Just got down here in the US.
Seems to be a place where you can get discount prices ?

Wholesale is the price a business pays for a product direct from the maker or distributor, assuming they buy in bulk. Macy’s buys a pair of jeans from Levi’s at wholesale price and then marks them up to retail to sell them to you. Same with car parts. I can buy parts at the Ford/Honda/Whatever dealer at 20% less than you can.

$34? I should go into that business. I think the retail price from your Ford dealer for that coolant is about $17. Not to give away any secrets here, but I pay less than $14 for that, between $11 and $13 for Toyota Long-Life, Honda, VW/Audi, and Dexcool coolants. Given the price difference between the genuine stuff and so-called “universal”, you can see why I never use the universal. In my case (and I think most), it would amount to paying more money for an inferior product.

On the other hand, you car is 14 years old and may have already been serviced with the incorrect fluids anyway. What color is the coolant in your tank and radiator now?

I’d like to add that IMHO not only should you use what the manufacturer recommends, but don’t just top it off–drain the old coolant and refill, or get it flushed with plain water first, then refill with the recommended coolant/water mix. You don’t know how long the coolant has been in there. If it’s from '01 then it’s well overdue.

You could flush and refill with the “green stuff” and it would probably be just fine, but then you will need to change it every year or two. With the recommended coolant, as long as you have no leaks or other problems, you should be good for 40-50K miles or 4-5 years, which will offset any cost savings from buying the cheaper green stuff. If it turns out though that the coolant has never been changed, and you want to keep the car for a while, I’d probably change it again after a year just to get more of the crud out no matter what you use.

Whatever you do though, don’t mix incompatible coolant types or you will end up with expensive problems.

Arese, if you went low on coolant, then you have a leak. Period. There’s no “I’ll see.” Coolant doesn’t get “used up.” In the non-pressurized overflow systems there will be nearly immeasurable losses to evaporation, but that’s about it. Obviously the first order of business is to refill the thing. But you need to find out what happened to cause the coolant loss and overheat.

Since you don’t know when it was changed, or what it is, I strongly recommend a drain/flush/fill. At that point you can use a universal coolant. And get a pressure test done to check for a leak.

The specification only requires Ethylene Glycol coolant. The Prestone AF-2000 sold at Autozone for 16 dollars per gallon is exactly the correct coolant for this car period. This is full strength antifreeze so you cut it 50/50 with water before use.

Excerpt from manufacturer:

Features & Benefits:

Prestone extended life antifreeze is compatible with any antifreeze/ coolant - regardless of color - for use in all makes or model of cars and light duty trucks.
Rust and dirty coolant that circulates in cars cooling system can lead to a clogged radiator, resulting in overheating and engine damage, Prestone antifreeze contains inhibitors for extended performance and protection against rust and corrosion
Patented formula provides a high degree of performance durability and carefully balanced protection against temperature extremes
Protects against rust and corrosion of all cooling system metals, including aluminum
Prestone is the leader in antifreeze since 1927

@asemaster lucky you you got nice deals ! Well sure in your position you’re buying the motorcraft one I would do exactly the same :slight_smile:

I just checked the engine coolant tank and the level is just a little bit under the min level. The color is kinda red. But looks transparent maybe the mix 50/50 is not anymore respected

But mostly the tank is dirty. I really might drain and flush the circuit.

Can someone how to do ?
I guess just disconnect the lower radiator hose to drain. Flush the circuit with water to clean it and refill ?
If someone got a link with a tuto with pictures explanations that would be great

Well I bought some universal engine coolant from autozone.
I refilled my engine coolant tank and now the light is off.

But I will drain it and flush it.
My friend got car jacks. So now I just need to know where is the drain plug of my radiator to drain the old engine coolant.

A picture, or indication would be perfect

Radiator drain plug location varies radiator to radiator. You may not even have the original radiator on it by now. And many after-market radiators do not have drain plugs. You just have to crawl underneath, remove any windscreens that are in the way, and look for it. You can be assured by the laws of physic it is on the bottom of the radiator, so that simplifies the process. On my Corolla a valve-like gadget to turn to open the drain. Be very careful while doing this job, as coolant is lethal to pets, and pets will drink it as it has a sweet odor and it is in a pan so they can easily mistake it for their water dish.


As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed quite the opposite, as far as those petcocks go

I’ve noticed that a lot of factory radiators no longer have petcocks

Yet many of the aftermarket radiators do, whereas the original factory radiator did not

I’ve noticed an even more disturbing trend

A truck is produced with a radiator equipped with a petcock

The radiator tank cracks, and you buy a new factory radiator

The new factory radiator no longer has a petcock

Whereas the aftermarket radiator does

It kind of gives the aftermarket radiator an edge