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How to Flush a Radiator And Flushing Cost

by Carmen PickelJuly 21, 2022
How to Flush a Radiator

During the process of running an internal combustion engine, it becomes very hot. Many metal components within an engine are moving rapidly and rubbing against each other, causing enormous friction inside the engine and creating a great deal of heat.

To prevent these components from overheating, the engine relies upon coolant to keep the engine cool so it does not overheat during operation. However, it is important to understand that the coolant does not simply stay cool by itself. The heat generated from the metal components is transferred to the coolant through the metal components. A radiator is the only way the coolant can get rid of this heat since it circulates through it during the cooling process.

The function of a radiator is to remove this heat from the coolant and place it into the air where the cooling fan blows it to disperse it as much as possible. Afterward, the coolant liquid circulates again into the engine, during which the components are cooled down again by the coolant liquid.

As time passes, rust, debris, and other small particles will build up in the coolant in your cooling system, causing your cooling system to lose its efficiency. A coolant flush is the only way to remove this sediment from the radiator since it is the only way to flush out the sediment. In any other case, all these particles will circulate throughout every component of your engine and limit their ability to function properly if they are not removed. Your engine may overheat or even shut down altogether if you do not take care of it.

How to Perform a Coolant Flush

The following is a step-by-step guide to the process of flushing out the old coolant from your car radiator. The symptoms of your vehicle losing coolant with little or no leaks may also be a sign that your radiator cap requires replacement as they can also wear out with time and can cause you significant problems.

When to Flush Your Radiator

Depending on your car's make, different manufacturers may advise you on the right time for flushing your radiator fluid. Generally speaking, you should flush your system's radiator coolant every five years or when you have covered 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you are a person who drives a lot, you may need to perform this procedure sooner, depending on how you drive.

In most cases, if you ask a mechanic how often you should flush the coolant, they are likely to recommend that you do so every 30,000 miles. There are some cases where such a short flush interval is necessary, but in most cases, it is not necessary. You should always check your vehicle's manual, which should be found in the glove box of your car, to see what the manufacturer recommends you do in this regard.

Drain Coolant

It is necessary to drain your radiator's entire coolant first. Your car's engine needs to be cooled down before you start this process, so you will need to wait for at least 30 minutes after you have stopped driving your car before you start this process.

Although it is beneficial for the engine to be warm before changing the oil (since the warmer, thinner oil will drain less fluid out of the engine), this is not true of the coolant since the fluid can drain at any temperature. If you want to catch the coolant discharged from the radiator, you will need to have a drain pan placed under the radiator. The container should be large enough to hold all the coolant with no problem (if you don't know how much coolant your vehicle can hold, check your owner's manual),

Add Cleaner

It is now time to add the special radiator cleaner to the radiator's coolant reservoir after the old coolant has been drained from it and the new coolant has been drained from it. Almost every auto parts store worldwide carries this cleaning solution, so you can purchase it wherever you are. There are two radiator flushes on the market that are among the best: Thermocure and Prestone AS105.

Once the radiator has been cleaned with the cleaner, add distilled water to the radiator's coolant reservoir. You first need to start your vehicle's engine and turn on the heater. It will take approximately five minutes for them to clean out the sediment, rust, and other particles from your cooling system due to the cleaner and distilled water used. The engine should be turned off and left to sit for 30 minutes after it has been turned off.

Drain Again

After completing the cleaning process, you will need to drain all the cleaning fluid and distilled water from the radiator as soon as possible. It will be the same process as before, with the pan being placed underneath the radiator to catch the liquid draining from the reservoir when it drains from the radiator drain through the radiator drain valve.

There is a possibility that the water will appear darker than it did when you first added it if you do not replace it right away. There is nothing to be concerned about since it means the radiator flush successfully cleaned the cooling system, which is okay. After the cooling system has been flushed with regular tap water, make sure that the sediments have been removed from the system and drain out the water from the cooling system.

Add New Coolant

The fresh coolant can now be added to the radiator reservoir. It is typically a mixture of coolant or antifreeze coolant with a mixture of water in a 1:1 ratio. Therefore, you should add 1 gallon of distilled water to every gallon of coolant. Ensure the replacement coolant amounts are accurate by checking your owner's manual.

While you can purchase pre-mixed coolants, it is more cost-effective to purchase concentrated coolants and distilled water separately. This will ensure that you get maximum value for your money. As soon as you have added the correct amount of fresh fluid to your vehicle (check your owner's manual again), start your vehicle and make sure you let the engine run for about 15 minutes so that the coolant can go through the engine.

Radiator Flush Cost

In general, to flush coolant from the radiator, the average cost is between $100 and $200, depending on your type of radiator. You can usually find a lower cost if you go to an independent mechanic for flush services rather than a dealership or an auto shop as per your maintenance schedule (independent service technicians will usually charge you less). Some auto repair shops are less reputable that might only charge between $50 and $100 for these maintenance tasks.

When determining the price of a radiator flush, one of the most important factors is how much coolant your vehicle requires. You will need to determine the amount of coolant you will need based on the size of the engine. There's a good chance that it will range from 10 to 28 quarts, with an average volume of 16 quarts (4 gallons) being the most likely. Please refer to your owner's manual if unsure about the correct engine coolant capacity.

Have you ever wondered how cars work and how they are maintained? Visit KeepDriving to learn more about the benefits of cleaning and restoration of headlights.

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