Mazda yellow premium antifreeze question

My owners manual calls for coolant replacement at 100k miles. This 04 Tribute V6 uses the “Mazda premium yellow” coolant. Now the owners manual says not to mix colors, nor use orange long life coolant. Looking at different coolant brands, so many claim they will work with any other color, and claim also to be long life type. So my question is, are the newer coolants compatible as they say, or should I get only the “Mazda premium yellow” per owners manual?

Thanks for any replies.

This ought to be the same antifreeze as the familiar Prestone yellow stuff, or close enough to it. Do the standard drain and rinse, then you may add Prestone (in the normal 50/50 dilution).

Personally, I wouldn’t mix types, and if you are replacing the antifreeze you wan to flush out all the old stuff anyway. It would be simplest to use the OEM stuff and the cost difference for a couple of gallons is probably small. I would ignore all the claims on the generic antifreeze bottles and use what your car manufacture recommends. I’m guessing that the mazda yellow is a HOAT.

You should avoid Dexcol which is orange or pinkish and the old “green” antifreezes. The yellow long life antifreezes from Prestone, Peak or Zerex are essentially the same as the coolant that is in it now. Since most of these are around 410/gallon, you could check with the Mazda dealer for their price. A couple of bucks extra every 100,000 miles might be worth it for your own peace of mind if you are unsure, but I would not be afraid to use any of the yellows available, mixed with distilled water. I prefer to mix 2:1 antifreeze/distilled water, but most people use a 50:50 mix.

Yes. The newer antifreeze/coolant is compatible with all cooling systems.

Who do you think provides all the antifreeze/coolant to the auto manufacturers? They don’t make it.


They do, however, each have specific specifications for their coolant. Do you happen to know which specific type of antifreeze meets the mazda specifications?

I don’t know what mazda requires, but I don’t begin to believe the application information from the antifreeze manufacturers. For example, Valvoline lists it’s “Zerex DEX-COOL” for late model mazdas, here:

As you mix ethylene glycol (not propylene glycol, the stuff that’s supposedly safe for pets); stronger than 68%, the freezing point starts to drop back down till if you got to virtually pure ethylene glycol again; its freezing point would be [-8 degrees F]. A little off-the-subject FYI for all you “up north” folks.

Thanks for the reply (and to all who replied). That’s sort of what I thought, though the price is not really the issue. I haven’t changed coolant in several years, and back then, all that I needed was green. Now I see the “one size fits all” and wondered if it was advertising hype or really true. I follow the owners manual pretty closely, and given their warning about mixing colors, I wanted to know if the rules had changed. BTW the first change is scheduled at 100,000 miles, and every 36,000 thereafter IIRC.

I will go out on a limb and say that by the time you find out what the coolant specs are for your Trib and find a non-Mazda supplier, you might as well buy it from the Mazda parts counter. I would not go with a so-called universal coolant. It is hard to find specific coolants outside of dealerships because the mass market auto parts stores do not want to devote the shelf space. The same goes for repair shops. Heck, we have seen evidence that even dealers don?t use them. Start with your owner manual and see if it lists a specific recommendation. Then you can check with the manufacturers and see if it is an approved product for that specification.

An over-simplified coolant history goes like this. Old green was high in silicates which tend to precipitate and gel if not replaced frequently. This clogs and erodes the cooling system. They are used because they coat the metal, in place of metal oxides (rust), and prevent the corrosion. Phosphates were also big as they also inhibit corrosion and buffer the pH. The trouble with phosphates is that in hard water they also precipitate and sand-blast the cooling system. Japanese engineers don?t line silicates and euros do not like phosphates. (I have been told that is because euro water tends to be hard.) The fact is that the stuff worked fine if you changed it frequently and used good water. The trouble is that the average car owner can?t be trusted to maintain a vehicle and the use of purified water in a cooling system is beyond the reach of many people as well. Oh, silicates and phosphates are cheap and cheaper, but they are fast-acting.

Beyond freeze and boil protection, two important things that coolant additives do are coating the metal with something before it can oxidize, and buffer the pH to keep it neutral or slightly alkaline as the breakdown of ethylene glycol tends to make it acidic.

Some people would prefer to continue using the old-fashioned green coolant in their iron engines with soldered copper radiators. It is impossible to find as far as I can see. Now all coolant is low in silicates even the stuff that is supposed to be old-fashioned green.

OAT (Dexcool) might or might not have other problems depending on who you ask, but it has no silicates or phosphate. Note that Toyota’s version has some phosphate. The organic acids are slow-acting corrosion inhibitors meaning that they take longer to coat the metal.

HOAT (G05) uses different organic acids and has some silicate to do quick repair on any bare metal. Note that Ford specifies silicates in its yellow G05 coolant. Fortunately for me in this issue, my car and my wife?s are both FoMoCO vehicles and can use G05 that is readily available outside of dealerships, though not as readily available as the universal stuff.

As far as I know, Zerex and, maybe Peak, are about the only major aftermarket suppliers that sell coolants made to several specs. There is lots of information on their web sites. It is worth seeking their products out if you don’t want to get stealership stuff. I would go with them rather than some universal, one spec. fits none, garbage. They still make a “traditional” green. You need that with copper/brass soldered rads. There are other greens, but their old-fashioned stuff has plenty of silicate and phosphate. Last time I looked, both companies had a lot of information about coolants on their web sites with Zerex being better. Recently it was pointed out to me that there is a pretty good coolant forum here: Note that that Zerex chart is does not well mirror Ford?s found at the Motorcraft web site. It leaves out some detail. It looks like Zerex might have dropped a couple of formulations recently.

You might run across borates and nitrates as corrosion inhibitors. That is more slanted to heavy-duty diesel, I believe. I think that these are slipping into disuse as well. If you diesel guys want to dispute that, fine. Do it and then go discuss it in an heavy-duty diesel forum :wink: HD diesels need anti-cavitation additives as well.

Interesting link. I see what you mean. Zerex is recommending long-life (orange) coolant. Mazda’s owners manual specifically recommends against that.


Thanks for the in-depth info! Cost was not really the issue, more a question about possible advertising hype. The engine is basically the Ford 24V 3.0 V6, and AFAIK the Trib is built in the same Kansas City plant as the Escape, so coolant formulated for Ford should be ok. Just to be safe, I’ll probably go to Mazda for their stuff, which the owners manual simply calls “Mazda yellow premium coolant” without giving any other specs.

It is interesting to look at the Motorcraft fill charts with the G05 and green. For some years (98,99, 00 ish) the same engine in produced in different plants have different coolants listed. Sometimes for the same year and same assembly plant, two coolants were listed. It might have been a supply issue. It could also be that the Mazdas were filled with different from Ford at the same plant, obviously. My ?99 Ford manual lists yellow (G05) and green with spec numbers for both. It says to refill it with what it came with! The trouble was that the stop-leak pellets that were put in at the factory turn the yellow stuff somewhat dark so I had a hard time deciding what was in there. (The stop leak pellets are also listed in the Motorcraft catalog and have been reformulated to not turn the coolant dark.)

I am sure that you will look at the Mazda jug and inspect it for some Mazda specification numbers. You could contact Zerex and ask them how it differs from their stuff. Despite all I have typed, If I had to bet, I would give pretty good odds that it is Ford G05 in there given that it is an 04 assembled in a Ford plant.

“I will go out on a limb and say that by the time you find out what the coolant specs are for your Trib and find a non-Mazda supplier, you might as well buy it from the Mazda parts counter.”

That’s my approach. I don’t trust that any of the “universal” stuff actually meets the specs, so I just buy the OEM stuff. In my case, it’s only about $20/gallon and not worth the trouble to look for the correct alternative.