6. Radiator Flush
- Tools You Need: Phillips-head screwdriver or wrench, rags, radiator flush solution, coolant, funnel, used coolant receptacle
- Time to Complete: 30 minutes
- Estimated Cost: $25
Your car’s radiator and cooling system need to be clean to work efficiently and effectively. With normal wear and tear, your car’s radiator builds up deposits that can disrupt the cooling system. A radiator flush is a quick and inexpensive way to keep your system in shape. Consult your owner’s manual to find out if you need to flush the radiator yearly or every two years.
- Make sure your car is completely cool before you begin.
- Check your owner’s manual to find the radiator’s drain plug. Put your used coolant receptacle in place, unscrew the drain plug, and let the old coolant drain completely.
- Replace the drain plug and remove the radiator cap.
- Use the funnel to add the radiator flush cleaning solution and then fill the rest of the radiator with water.
- Replace the radiator cap.
- Start the car, and let it run until it gets to its normal operating temperature.
- Turn on your heater to its hottest position, and let the car run for 10 minutes.
- Turn the car off and wait for the engine to cool completely.
- Drain the contents of the radiator.
- Refill the radiator with fresh coolant.
- Be sure to dispose of the old coolant safely, by bringing it to an auto parts store, gas station, or mechanic. Old coolant is fatal, but its sweet taste can be enticing to pets.
Working with coolant is a step toward more advanced DIY auto projects. Temperature can be a dangerous issue when you’re working on your car, so make sure you give your engine plenty of time to cool before you start and before you drain the radiator. Don’t rush this job, and always err on the side of caution.
Check back next week to see Tip 7, or see previous tips here.