When Does Antifreeze Expire? (Including Storage Tips)

Have a 3-year old antifreeze on your shelf and don’t know if it’s still functional? Let’s take a closer look at how long antifreeze lasts.

For those who have to deal with colder climates (and we’re talking below freezing here) with their RVs, it’s very crucial to prepare them for the colder months.

Now, while this article isn’t meant to detail everything that needs to be done to properly winterize an RV, it’s going to talk about a very essential component of the process. That being antifreeze.

Specifically, does antifreeze expire and, if it does, how long does it take to expire? Yes, it will expire, and how long it lasts will vary.

That’s it from us, have a nice day.

Nah, we’re not quite done with this topic yet. In fact, we’re only getting started.

However, that said, we’re being dead serious when we say that it will expire, as it will. Yet, we need to clarify something right away. There’s a difference between automotive antifreeze and RV antifreeze.

For the most part, RV antifreeze will be non-toxic (though some blends will not be fully non-toxic). It’s also specifically designed for RVs and their plumbing systems.

So, it’s not a good idea to use regular automotive antifreeze for RVs as this type of antifreeze is extremely toxic and will contaminate an RV’s plumbing system.

What does RV antifreeze do?

Really quickly, we just wanted to point out a few things antifreeze will achieve for RVs.

As the name implies, its main use is during the winter when the temperature outdoors begins to drop below freezing, and here are 3 of the things it will achieve:

  1. It prevents the pipes from freezing by raising the temperature of the water just enough to prevent it, and this is arguably the most important task that RV antifreeze achieves.
  2. When used in gray and black water tanks, it can keep the wastewater from freezing, which is essentially the same thing being accomplished in the pipes.
  3. Certain types of it can also be used as lubricants to protect the seals inside the toilet and faucets.

Does antifreeze expire?

As mentioned before, yes, antifreeze is going to expire.

Talking about RV antifreeze, in specific for this article, most experts and online articles out there will tell you that it’s typically going to have a shelf life of anywhere from one to five years.

Indeed, that’s quite a vague answer as the difference between one to five years is pretty massive. For the record, this is also taking into consideration the shelf life after the container has been opened.

Some RV antifreeze containers will even have expiration dates present, though it’s worth noting that not all containers will have such dates.

Even still, the most important aspect to keep in mind is properly storing the antifreeze. As with most products that have an expiration date, quite honestly, proper storage is critical.

Some tips for storing RV antifreeze

If we’re being honest, the best way to answer the question “does antifreeze expire” is to talk about how to properly store it.

Remember when we said that you’ll see most say that RV antifreeze will have a shelf life of anywhere from one to five years? Well, that’s assuming that proper and ideal storing techniques are in play.

So…what are some of those techniques? We’d gladly like to answer that question for everyone, but just know that there really are only two factors to keep in mind (though they’re both essential).

Factor #1

Ensure that the cap on the container is tightly sealed. No, you don’t have to glue it down or anything like that, but the cap should be tight. This will avoid any potential contamination or evaporation of the product, which are both keys.

Factor #2

Store the antifreeze in a location that doesn’t experience drastic temperature changes. Keep it in more of a climate-controlled location, such as on a shelf in your home or garage. That said, even though most RV antifreeze will be non-toxic, it’s also wise to avoid storing it in an area that children can access it accidentally.

How to tell if the antifreeze does go bad

“Alright, so what gives? You guys give us a very generic shelf life answer, say that some bottles have expiration dates but then say it matters how they’re stored. So, how do I know if the darn stuff is still good?”

Does that accurately describe the way that you’re feeling right now? We get it, it’s kind of cloudy to truly understand how long your antifreeze is going to be good.

After all, you don’t want to use RV antifreeze that is no longer good as it could risk complications to your RV. Yet, let’s say you bought your antifreeze four years ago and have properly stored it for all that time. How can you be sure that it’s still good?

Unfortunately, doing so is not the easiest task. Finding out if food or drink has gone bad is a little bit easier, but you need winter conditions to truly test the performance of antifreeze. This is where a freezer comes in handy, and here’s what you need to do.

  1. Take a bit of the antifreeze and pour it inside a container.
  2. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed.
  3. Place it in your freezer and try to keep it away from everything else.
  4. Allow it to sit in the freezer overnight.
  5. The next morning, if the antifreeze is frozen, you know it’s bad.

It’s worth pointing out that this will only work if the antifreeze is rated to handle the temperature of your freezer, which it should be.

Okay…so now it’s time for us to say goodbye.

It’s clear that if you either camp or have to store your RV in colder temperatures, RV antifreeze is going to be needed come that time.

While it’s just one of the necessary components, it’s a very important one. So, for anyone interested, we’ve compiled some of the best and most reliable brands on the market today. Happy shopping and happy camping everyone!

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