Flushing your car’s radiator is a fairly simple procedure, so you might be tempted to do it yourself to save money. But is that such a good idea?

Flushing Your Car’s Radiator

Your car’s radiator should be flushed periodically. Your car’s manual will tell you how often this needs to be done. It’s usually around every 5 years or every 100,000 miles.

Your radiator will stay in great condition if you flush it periodically. Letting it go for a many years without a flush will mean the coolant can no longer prevent corrosion in your radiator. This will lead to rust and it will spring some leaks causing it to overheat. If you plan to keep the car for many years, this is one more maintenance that you’ll need to have done.

Do It Yourself

Flushing your radiator will involve several simple steps.

  • Buy a flushing agent.
  • Buy 3 gallons of distilled water.
  • Buy enough new coolant to fill your radiator.
  • Make sure your radiator is completely cooled.
  • Raise the front end of the car with a jack and jack stands.
  • Put a large drain pan under the radiator’s drain plug.
  • Remove radiator cap.
  • Then unscrew the radiator plug.
  • Let the fluid completely drain into the drain pan.
  • Package the fluid so you can return it to a mechanic to recycle it. (It’s poisonous to pets, children and wildlife.)
  • Once it is drained, screw the radiator plug back in.
  • Fill the radiator with distilled water and flushing agent.
  • Put the radiator cap back on.
  • Start the car engine.
  • Follow the instructions on the flushing agent container. It will tell you how long to let the engine run.
  • Keep an eye on the car’s temperature gauge to make sure It doesn’t overheat.
  • Turn the engine off.
  • Drain the radiator again.
  • Refill the radiator with new antifreeze. Check the antifreeze bottle to see if it needs to be diluted. Follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Start the engine again.
  • Let it run until it reaches normal operating temperature.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Now that the air pockets in the radiator are full add more antifreeze up to the fill line and recap.
  • Now you’re done.

This is something that can be done in an afternoon yourself. However, by the time you buy all the supplies and take the fluids in to a mechanic to recycle it, you’ll likely have spent a lot of money. A mechanic could have done it a lot faster, plus checked belts, hoses and the radiator for leaks for the same that you paid or close to it.

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