Flushing Your Car's Radiator Coolant

Your car's radiator should be cleaned regularly to maintain optimal maintenance.  In fact, the entire cooling system should be flushed approximately every two years to extend the life of your vehicle and keep it in tip-top running condition.

Your vehicle's cooling system will begin to malfunction if solid deposits begin to build up and, ultimately, can cause preventable damage to your car engine that could cost your hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to repair.

Flushing your radiator is fast and inexpensive.  A small investment to make, in order to keep your radiator functioning at its best and your engine running smoothly.

Before you start, there are some items you will need to have ready to go.  Don't begin the job until you have everything you will need.  You'll give yourself a major headache should you drain your radiator only to discover you have to run out to buy something to finish the job.

Your vehicle owner's manual will tell you the kind and amount of radiator coolant you’ll need to buy to refill your radiator.

You Will Need:

(1) Funnel

(2) Cloth rags

(3) Phillips head screwdriver or wrench set

(4) Radiator coolant

(5) Radiator flush solution

(6) A container to hold the used coolant

Before you begin, it is important to note that your engine needs to cool down completely before you loosen or remove the radiator cap.  Recently used radiators can become pressurized and spray out hot coolant if you remove the radiator cap too soon.  Of course, it won't feel so good if this hot coolant hits you!

CAUTION: Coolant is highly poisonous and may have a slightly sweet smell and taste which can attract both animals and children.  Keep out of reach of children and pets at all times and immediately clean up any spills.

How to Drain the Radiator and Cooling System

(1) Your vehicle should be on a level surface, if not, make sure the brake is on, and the wheels are chocked.


(2) Make certain the engine is turned off (and has been for at least 30 minutes) and the car is in park with the parking brake on.


(3) Locate your radiator's drain plug.  It's normally located somewhere along the bottom of your radiator.  It may be a drain value, a screw plug, or a bolt plug. (Check your user's manual if you don't know where it is.)


(4) Place your used coolant container beneath the drain prior to loosing or removing it.


(5) Remove the plug and allow the coolant to drain out completely.

How to Clean the Radiator:

(1) Once the used coolant has drained out completely, replace your drain plug and double check to be certain it is on tight.


(2) Remove the radiator cap (normally located at the top center of the radiator) and using the funnel; slowly pour in the radiator flush solution.


(3) Fill the radiator to the top with water.


(4) Replace your radiator cap, but don't over tighten.


(5) Start your car engine and allow it to run until it reaches its regular operating temperature.


(6) Switch your car heater on, set it to the hottest level, and allow your car to run for about ten minutes.


(7) After ten minutes have passed turn off your vehicle and allow it to cool.  It should not feel hot to the touch.


(8) Once the car is cool, drain the radiator flush solution following the same steps you used to drain the used coolant, allowing the flushing solution to drain completely.

How to Refill the Cooling System (You're almost done!):

(1) Replace your radiator's drain plug and be certain it is tight.  Using the funnel, slowly pour in the specified amounts of new coolant and purified water.  The mixture should be 50/50.  If you appreciate convenience, you can purchase a premixed coolant.


(2) If your vehicle was made in 1970 or later your vehicle will most likely have a separate coolant overflow container and you will need to fill that as well.


(3) Tighten each of your radiator caps and inspect the radiator for leaking and (Woo Hoo!) you are done!

These instructions are provided for your convenience, and RadiatorSpot.com does not offer any warranty, express or implied, should you use these instructions and damage your part, and/or your vehicle and/or injure yourself. Use at your own risk.  

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