5 Tips to Flush a Car Radiator and Cost

An internal combustion engine gets very hot as it runs. With so many metal components moving quickly and rubbing together inside of the engine, all that friction creates an enormous amount of heat. The engine depends on coolant liquid to keep these components cooled down, so they do not overheat. However, the coolant does not just stay cool on its own. The heat from the metal components gets transferred into the coolant. The only way the coolant can get rid of this heat is by circulating through a radiator. The function of a radiator is to take this heat out of the coolant and place it into the air in which the fan blows in. Then, the coolant liquid circulates back into the engine and cools down the components once again.

The Top 5 Tips

As time goes on, the coolant in your cooling system is going to build up with rust and debris. The only way to get rid of this sediment is to perform a coolant flush on the radiator. Otherwise, all that debris will circulate throughout the components of your engine and limit their ability to function smoothly. Then your vehicle’s engine performance will be compromised.

Below are the top 5 tips for flushing the radiator of your car.

1) When to Flush – Car manufacturers may give you different advice on when the right time to flush your radiator is. Generally, you are supposed to flush it every 5 years or 100,000 miles, whichever one comes first. Sometimes you might need to perform it sooner, depending on what your driving habits are. If you ask most auto mechanics, they’ll probably recommend you flush the coolant every 30,000 miles. Just study the performance of your engine to know which number of miles is right for your vehicle.

2) Drain Coolant First – The old coolant needs to be drained from your radiator first. Your engine needs to be cooled down beforehand, so make sure you haven’t driven your car for at least 30 minutes prior to starting this process. You will need to have a special pan placed under the radiator so that it can catch the coolant.

3) Add Cleaner Second – Once the old coolant has been drained from the radiator, you will now add special radiator cleaner to the reservoir of the radiator. You can obtain this cleaning solution at any automotive store. After the cleaner is placed in the radiator, add distilled water to the reservoir too. Turn on your vehicle and then set your heater to full. For the next 5 minutes, the cleaner and distilled water are going to clean out all the sediment, rust, and other debris from your cooling system. Turn off the car and let it sit for half an hour.

4) Drain Again – When the cleaning process is finished, you will need to drain all the cleaning fluid and distilled water from your radiator. This will be a similar process like before where you place a pan underneath the radiator and catch the liquid as it drains from the reservoir. You may notice the water looking a bit darker than it did when you first added it. That is okay because it is a sign that the water successfully cleaned the cooling system. Now just flush the cooling system with regular tap water to ensure the sediments are removed and then drain the tap water.

5) Add New Coolant – Finally, you can go ahead and add the new coolant to the radiator reservoir. You will typically add ½ a gallon of antifreeze and ½ a gallon of distilled water to the reservoir. Check your owner’s manual just to clarify the exact amounts. Once that is done, start your vehicle and let the coolant run through your engine for about 15 minutes.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Ground Strap in the Car

Cost to Flush

The average cost to flush coolant from a radiator is anywhere from $100 to $150. The exact cost will usually depend on which auto shop that you go to. Some less reputable shops might only charge between $50 and $100. It really depends on the age of the vehicle, the make and model of the vehicle, and the amount of coolant that your vehicle requires. The average amount it will need is about 4 gallons.



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