Get Started With the Right Supplies
The first thing to do when it comes to flushing a car radiator is gather up all the necessary supplies and materials. It is never a fun situation to get halfway through your project, only to discover you are missing a key element. Going back to the store could pose a problem; especially if the radiator has already been drained. Ideal provisions for radiator flushing includes a funnel, cloth rag, coolant, radiator flush solution, Phillips screwdriver or wrench, separate container for old coolant, and extra rags for accidents and spills. When you have determined that all your supplies are in place, you can begin the process of flushing the radiator.
Here’s What To Do:
Before you remove the radiator cap, be sure the car engine is COMPLETELY cool; otherwise you run the risk of spilling hot coolant on yourself. And this really burns!
Next, flush the used coolant out of the radiator. Do this by locating the radiator drain plug. It is typically located at the bottom of the radiator. If you have trouble finding it, refer to your owners’ manual or look online for pictures and instructional videos. You can also contact a professional mechanic for over-the-phone assistance.
Once you find the drain plug, place the container for old coolant under the drain and open it up. Let the old coolant flow out for a few minutes; if it seems to be moving slow, check to see if the plug is all the way open.
When the radiator is empty, replace the drain plug and open the radiator cap.
Next, pour the flush cleaning solution inside. Fill the remaining space inside the radiator with room temperature water.
Now you are ready to replace the radiator cap; just be sure it is screwed on tight. It is possible for caps to fall off, which allows coolant to escape from the radiator.
Let the car engine run until it reaches its normal driving temperature. Then turn it off and let it cool completely.
Once the car engine is cool again, you are ready to flush the solution from the radiator and add fresh clean coolant. Use the same emptying process as before.
Use a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to get optimal and safe results. You can find pre-mixed coolants at your local auto store. This is sometimes more convenient.
If you begin to notice that your coolant is always running low, or your “low coolant” light comes on, it may be due to a radiator leak. Although it can be tempting to simply refill and forget about it, it is important to put your schedule aside and have your radiator inspected by a professional mechanic. A radiator leak can be dangerous for many reasons, so it is necessary to repair them if one exists.
If you notice coolant on the ground beneath your vehicle, you have a coolant leak. Coolant leaks are caused by a leak in the radiator. Radiator fluid, known as coolant, flows through the engine and the radiator, so if it is dripping onto the ground, it is a sure sign that the radiator has a crack or opening somewhere. A professional auto repair shop can accurately locate radiator leaks with a specialized test using pressure and dyes.
Radiator fluid should be yellow, red, or green at all times. However, when the cooling system begins to go bad, the fluid can start to turn to rusty or oily colors, such as black or brown. Overtime, this oily fluid turns into sludge inside the radiator, which prevents the coolant from flowing properly. When this happens, it slows performance and reduces efficiency. Unfortunately, a radiator will need to be replaced if sludge gets inside.
Since the radiator’s job is to regulate the temperatures produced inside an engine, it is no surprise that an overheating engine is a very common sign of radiator failure. If the engine overheats just one time, it could be due to something minor like being low on coolant. But if your engine is overheating regularly, it could be a more serious repair. The more times you allow your engine to overheat, the more damage is done to your vehicle. It is important to get them repaired as soon as possible before they can get worse.