This Antifreeze Is Defective: It Froze Solid



We don’t have any car experts on staff here at Consumerist, but even we know that antifreeze is generally supposed to stay liquid. Yet that’s not what happened to the gallon bottle that C. bought at Walmart, intending to top off his kids’ car. He stored it outside and found the bottle frozen solid when it came time to use it. That would make things difficult.

I thought you might like to hear about Walmart’s Super-Tech antifreeze / coolant. A couple of weeks ago I purchased a gallon bottle of their product, at their [redacted] store, with the plan to top off my kids’ 2003 Mini Cooper. On January 26, 2013 I went to add it to the car and discovered the bottle (that had been sitting in my garage) was frozen solid. Now to be fair, it’s been cold here in Philadelphia – that weekend the temperature had dropped to +11F; however, the label on Walmart’s bottle says that the product provides freeze protection down to -34F!

[Ed. Note: What’s not explicitly mentioned in the letter, but which can be seen on the label in the photo below, is that C. purchased a prediluted 50/50 antifreeze, meaning the ethylene glycol had already been mixed with water. This is important because pure antifreeze does have a freezing point that could cause it to freeze in regular winter temperatures, but the 50/50 mix should have remained fluid until around -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

One reader theorizes that the water and ethylene glycol might have come out of solution while sitting on the shelf, thus allowing both ingredients in the mix to freeze.]

C. continues:

I carefully inspected the bottle, but it showed no sign of being previously opened or tampered with. I wrote to Walmart, posted on their Facebook page, and filled out their product feedback form. Initially, I just wanted to give them a heads up that they had a bad batch of antifreeze out there. But, their attitude has really turned me off. Nobody at Walmart seems to care at all, even with the potential liability that frozen antifreeze could have with someone’s car. At the very least I would have expected them to want to know the batch number, and then to offer me an apology.


Perhaps you can alert some of your fans to the fact that they might not be getting the full Freeze to Boilover protection that they’re expecting from Walmart’s Super-Tech antifreeze / coolant. Thanks for your time,

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.