The radiator in your car works hard to keep the components that cause your car running cool. Inside the radiator is coolant. That coolant will eventually get dirty and need to be changed or it could cause the cooling system to fail. To protect the cooling system and the rest of the components that keep you going, you will need to flush and refill the radiator from time to time. Here's how.
You will need a few supplies from a place like Auto Check Elite, including:
- 5 gallon bucket or catch bin
- Phillips head screwdriver
- 5 gallons of distilled water
- Coolant – check your manual to learn what type your car requires. OAT, IAT or HOAT
Drain the Coolant
Move your car to a level area and allow it to completely cool. Once cool, slide under the car and look for the small plug at the bottom of your radiator. Position the bucket under the drain hole and use the screwdriver or wrench to remove the drain plug.
Flush the Radiator
Replace the drain plug and remove the cap from the top of the radiator. Pour the distilled water into your radiator. Put the lid back on the radiator and start the car. Turn on the heater and let it run for 15 minutes or so – you want it to reach the normal running temperature. Shut off the car and let it cool completely once more.
Drain the Water
Once the engine has cooled, re-position an empty bucket under the drain hole and release the drain again. Allow the water to run out. If the water looks extremely dirty, repeat the process again. If the water is still very dirty, repeat once more. It doesn't have to come out completely clear, but you want it to be clean.
Fill with Fresh Coolant
Now that the radiator is nice and clean inside, replace the drain plug and fill it up with fresh coolant. Make sure to read the label on the coolant to learn if you need to mix it with water or if you have selected pre-mixed coolant. Some coolant will require a 50:50 mix of water and coolant. The label will clearly explain it to you.
If you are uncomfortable taking on a task such as this, talk with your local auto shop to have it done professionally. Your mechanic will be able to get this done for you and help you keep your cooling system in good condition for many miles to come.