Freon Vs Coolant: What Is The Difference? (Explained!)

Many car drivers think that a vehicle’s coolant and Freon or refrigerant are the same types of chemicals. They also think that coolant and Freon have the same purpose and function. So now, we will be going to talk about the difference between Freon and coolant. 

So what is the difference between freon and coolant? Coolant and freon are interchanged a lot because they might be a little bit the same in terms of their function but they both have their differences. The coolant is made so that your engine will be cooled down and the freon is a gas, and it can be converted to a liquid, and then it will then get back to a gas before you create cold air.

Both of these fluids are very important to the engine, and it contributes a lot to the health of the vehicle. However, coolant and Freon are two different things. They serve a different purpose. 

But given their differences, a lot of car drivers are still interchanging the both of them. It is vital that you must know how to keep your vehicle in good shape and always maintain that regular maintenance schedule. 

If you do not do it, your vehicle’s performance will get affected, and even the lifespan of your vehicle’s engine.

Furthermore, if you do not maintain your vehicle, your manufacturer’s warranty can be voided. 

So in this article, let us understand further the coolant and Freon. Let us get started. 

Freon Vs Coolant

Are Coolant And Freon The Same Thing?

A lot of vehicles have a combustion engine. They are using a tiny but controlled explosion to operate and power your vehicle to run. If you do not check these explosions, you will risk overheating your engine, so this is why coolant is made. 

The coolant will also help in the lubrication of different components, which can help your vehicle against damages. The coolant system will keep the engine of your vehicle cool. If your engine is turned on, your vehicle’s water pump will power the coolant system, and it will continuously move the coolant to the radiator and into the engine. 

As it is circulating into the engine, the coolant will then absorb the heat before it goes into the radiator. The coolant will be cooled here and will return to its original starting. This will also continue the loop if the engine is running. 

So to protect the engine from overheating, the engine has an internal thermostat. This can be found under your vehicle’s hood that is tracking the temperature of the coolant liquid. 

If the temperature reaches a specific threshold, the thermostat will then direct the coolant into the engine to absorb more heat before it returns to the radiator for cooling. So coolant will keep your engine cool and prevent it from overheating.

On the other hand, the Freon is a primary component, and it is used to keep the driver and passengers of the car cool using the vehicle’s air conditioning system. This was initially called R-12 Freon. It is a form of chemical that you can find in ozone damage. 

This can result in an Environmental Protection Agency that was outlawed way back in the year 1994. Beginning then, the vehicle has been using more of the R-134a Freon. There is a component in your air conditioning system called the air conditioning or A/C compressor. 

This equipment will compress the Freon gas into a liquified state before it moves into a condenser. The hot freon will be exposed outside that is going from the vehicle grill. 

What Is The Difference Between Freon And Coolant?

The coolant and Freon might be a little bit similar in terms of their purpose because both of these liquids prevent your engine from overheating. However, both of these fluids are working in different areas of the vehicle, and you must not interchange the usage of these fluids. The coolant is made so that your engine will be cooled down. 

It will then remain in a liquid state within its system. So, on the other hand, the freon is a gas, and it can be converted to a liquid, and then it will then get back to a gas before you create cold air. If you replace a coolant in your vehicle, it will not result in cold air from the A/C of your system. 

So if you will also replace the freon in your vehicle, it will not help to cool off your engine and some other parts under the hood. So for the difference of a quick breakdown, the freon will take off heat from the cabin of the vehicle, and the coolant will remove the heat from the engine. The freon will also be between a gaseous and a liquid state, and the coolant will remain as a liquid throughout time. 

The coolant will not also affect the temperature of your A/C. Freon also does not cool your engine, and the coolant contains antifreeze, not the same as Freon. Both of these fluids must also be replaced at different intervals, and it will depend on the manufacturer of the vehicle. So you need to follow your owner’s manual to ensure that you will stay in the proper maintenance schedule for your vehicle. 

What Coolant Is Used Instead Of Freon?

The chief replacement for a freon is R-410A, and it is more commonly known as Puron®, SUVA 410A®, GENETRON AZ-20®, and Forane® 410A. The AC coolant refill or replacement with R22 refrigerant or R-41-A is not advised. So no matter what your chemical system uses, you need to replace your own AC coolant; it can be dangerous and harmful to the environment. 

And the disposal of your AC coolant must be handled and then disposed of by an expert. So if your air conditioner is cooling down with R22 or Freon, then it is possible to retrofit the unit to use one of the safer R-410A products/ the R22 is not just simply to be swapped for an R-410A product. 


In summary, coolant and freon are very important to the health of the vehicle. Unfortunately, these two fluids are sometimes interchanged. 

However, these two fluids have different functions, and they must not be interchanged. With that, it is essential to know the difference between freon and coolant.

Also Read:


Image credits – Canva

Share on:

My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more