Prestone "All Vehicle Antifreeze + Coolant"

I recently checked my 2016 Honda Fit coolant level overflow tank and noticed it’s right at the lowest level line. So, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to add some coolant. I usually go to my nearby O’Reilly Auto Parts for things like this but first I thought I’d check the owner’s manual to see if there was any special concerns I should have.

And that’s where I read this: “Continued use of any non-Honda coolant can result in corrosion, causing the cooling system to malfunction or fail.”

At the auto store, the label on Prestone “All Vehicle Antifreeze + Coolant” says it is for “all vehicles, makes, models and years”. So, I did some internet searches and got all kinds of conflicting advice, from ‘use any non-silicant coolant’ to ‘use only Honda’s coolant’.

I’m going to buy the Honda Genuine Coolant because it’s not worth it to me to save some money on coolant if I might be taking an unnecessary risk.

So my question is: Is Honda scaring people into buying their coolant or is there really something to what they advise? If so, how can a brand like Prestone claim to be for all vehicles makes models and years without have some potential liability risk?

Just curious as to what the experienced among us thing about this. Thanks in advance.

Different vehicle manufacturers are now using different materials in their cooling systems.

One being plastics.

So, you risk the possibility of damaging these materials when the recommended coolant isn’t used.

I miss the days when there was just the green anti-freeze.


I always just buy a gallon of the Acura/honda coolant to have on hand. Only used a couple cup fulls but not something I want to risk.

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The one for all anti-freeze solution was fine years ago. But as Tester said - manufacturers are using different materials and thus it makes antifreeze more manufacturer specific.

Most are now color coded. What color is the OEM antifreeze. Manufacturers don’t make antifreeze. One of the aftermarket antifreeze companies makes one for your vehicle.

The Acura fluid is blue. Ya have to be careful though because on mine the washer fluid tank and coolant are pretty close together yet down enough so hard to see.

Thanks to each of you for your responses. I now understand why model specific coolants are best but I still don’t understand how Prestone can sell a coolant and claim it is for all vehicles. Isn’t that a potential liability for them? Or can they get away with it because it would be difficult to prove that a coolant caused engine damage?

It can still be used in older cars.

It’s up to the vehicle owner to determine if it can be used in theirs.


They can claim anything they want. The fact is using the wrong coolant won’t cause any harm to your engine or cooling system today, tomorrow, next week, or next month. But next year or the year after that, who knows?

Prestone isn’t being put in any 3 year old cars. By the time a car needs coolant related repairs and goes to a shop crazy enough to use it, the car is 10+ years old. Could anyone look at a leaking thermostat housing on a 12 year old car and prove that it failed not due to age and heat cycling but because someone used universal coolant instead of Euro spec orange? I mean I know it caused it, but I can’t prove it, now can I?

Here’s the thing…Toyota uses a coolant that has phosphates because it helps prevent water pump cavitation and protects the block. VW uses phosphate free coolant because phosphates damage the plastics used in the cooling system. Now anyone who believes a universal coolant can be both phosphate-added and phosphate-free is probably dumb enough to believe that a gallon of milk can be both whole and nonfat at the same time. It just doesn’t add up.

At one time I stocked 8 different coolants to ensure we could properly service our customer’s cars. If it came in with Dexcool, it left with Dexcool. If it came in with Long-Life Pink, it left with Long-Life Pink. And so on.

I can think of no reason to ever not use the proper coolant in a car.


I’ve always used Prestone on all of my current and past cars going back 50+ years, never had any cooling system issues besides a few failed water pumps. But none have been 2016 Honda Fits. If I owned that car I’d use only Honda-specific coolant, probably purchased only from a Honda dealership. Repairing cooling system problems is very expensive, not worth the risk imo. For those wishing to use Prestone, I can vouch for that product’s use in an early 70’s Ford truck and an early 90’s Corolla. And an early 60’s Ford coupe.

Again, thanks to everyone for their input. I am definitely going to use Honda coolant.

But just for research I went to the Prestone website and input “2016 Honda Fit” and it gave me four coolant choices. Rather than putting them all here - here’s a link where it also shows an “Asian” coolant.

One of the other choices is (labeled Best Choice - All Vehicles) is this…

Prestone MAX will work in your vehicle:

It’s guaranteed to work in All Vehicle Makes, Models & Years with Gas or Diesel engines.
It mixes and works with all antifreeze + coolant colors and formulations including OAT, POAT, HOAT & IAT; G05®, G11®, G12®, G12++®, G13®, G30®, G40®, & GG40®.
**And it will not void a vehicle warranty.**

I’m still going to buy the Honda brand but Prestone is attempting to convince me otherwise and I’m sure many, if not most people would be convinced. I’m just too paranoid to take Prestone’s advice :slight_smile:

Wise choice. A small additional cost for a good nights sleep, and these days a good nights sleep is a rare commodity.

Now to disturb that sleep just a little, be sure to check the recommended maintenance schedule in your owners manual for the service interval for the cooling system. Watch for time and mileage, whichever comes first. That is important for a long engine life.

If you are not due yet, then put it on your calendar for when you expect it to be due. If it is due or overdue, then schedule the maintenance at your Honda dealer. The dealer may automatically do a flush, and that is OK if that is what you want done. Personally I do not like that.

All the reasons the dealer will give you for doing a flush instead of just the drain and fill are valid, BUT, the recommended service schedule was developed by engineers who have take all that into account.

True a drain and fill does not replace all the coolant, but the reason for the coolant service is to replenish the corrosion inhibitors and the detergents that keep your cooling system in good working order. A few spent inhibitors left in the system will do no damage, as long as there is adequate unspent inhibitors and detergents.

Unless you have an independent mechanic that will guarantee that they only use the Honda coolant, your best bet is to have the dealer do the exchange. Even at the dealer, a coolant change is cheaper than a new engine.