Cooling System Flush Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your cooling system flush? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your cooling system flush.
Get Fair Repair Cost Estimate
No spam
Compare shops near you
Always know how much you should pay
John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost for a cooling system flush?

The cost of a coolant flush varies depending on your vehicle’s coolant capacity limits, but the procedure typically has an average cost of $244. The total cost of parts for a coolant system flush is $68 with labor costs of $177
Keep in mind: If your mechanic conducts an inspection and finds a leak in your coolant system when completing a cooling system flush, your price will increase. To prevent damage to your
coolant reservoir
, expansion tank, or radiator, it’s important to have your coolant flushed regularly.
How long does it take for a cooling system flush? Generally, cooling system flushes (or radiator flushes) take around 1.5 hourshours, depending on the where the flush is completed. Dealerships may take longer due to wait times and pre-scheduled appointments, whereas automotive shops may be able to complete a cooling system flush faster.
Here’s a table overview of fair price repair estimates for radiator flush costs for different car models: 
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 17, 2024
Oldsmobile 88
1.5 Hours
May 14, 2024
Isuzu Ascender
1.5 Hours
May 12, 2024
Toyota Echo
1.5 Hours
May 11, 2024
BMW 535
1.5 Hours
May 9, 2024
Plymouth Neon
1.5 Hours

How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my cooling system flush and how much do those parts cost?

You should consult a repair manual or mechanic for a complete list of parts, but here is a general list along with the average cost:
  • Coolant
    : Coolant is a water and antifreeze mixture that protects your vehicle’s engine from overheating during instances of intense heat—both externally and internally. It works together with your coolant reservoir and expansion tank to manage your car’s internal temperature. Engine coolant can cost between $10 to $40 depending on the type needed for your vehicle.
  • Cooling system additive: Cooling system additives help reduce the tension provided by water buildup, allowing your cooling system to easily absorb and transfer the heat generated in your engine. The typical cost for cooling system additives is $15 to $20.
  • Radiator flush/cleaner: This chemical is a fast-acting cleaner that helps dislodge and remove rust, scale, and any other buildup in your car’s cooling system. The average cost for radiator cleaner is $15 to $20.
  • Distilled water: Rather than tap or bottled water, distilled water is used to flush your cooling system simply because it doesn’t contain extra contaminants. Distilled water can be purchased at any grocery store for $5 to $10 a gallon. 
You can buy cooling system flush parts for your car at auto parts stores like AutoZone, O'Reilly Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Three of our recommended brands for cooling system flush products are Prestone, Gunk, and Zerex. The exact parts and brands required for your cooling system flush will vary depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Keep in mind: If you choose to take your vehicle to a mechanic, these products will be supplied at the automotive shop and included in your repair bill. 
Aftermarket and OEM coolant don’t vary much in price—but the type of coolant does matter for your vehicle. Using the wrong type of coolant for your car can lead to corrosion and damage to your radiator, hoses, water pump, or cylinder gasket. 
Pro tip: Whether you opt for OEM or aftermarket coolant, check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic to identify the type of coolant needed for your vehicle.
Coolant can be purchased online and in-store from auto repair and auto parts stores like AutoZone, O'Reilly Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, retailers such as Walmart, and dealerships like Toyota. Online shops, for example Amazon or eBay, also sell coolant for a similar price point.
On the market, there are currently three different types of coolant/antifreeze mixtures—inorganic acid technology (IAT), organic acid technology (OAT), and hybrid organic acid technology (HOAT). IAT is often used in older model vehicles, whereas OAT and HOAT are more common formulas.

Where can I get my cooling system flush?

With the rundown on 2,500+ vetted repair shops nationwide,
Jerry's GarageGuard™
can make the search for a mechanic to perform your cooling system flush a lot easier.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from local shops using actual hourly rates. You’ll be able to budget for diagnostic fees and see reviews from previous customers to make sure you’ll be happy with your service.
Here’s a look at some of our vetted shops below—and you can download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
142 Reviews
National Transmission Co, Inc
4420 Griggs Rd, Houston, TX
Cooling System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
(Parts - $35, Labor - $172)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
137 Reviews
Wrench Inc. DBA Otobots - SFO

Cooling System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
(Parts - $35, Labor - $188)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
163 Reviews
Len's Automotive Inc
1620 136th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA
Cooling System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
(Parts - $35, Labor - $198)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
129 Reviews
6445 Canal St, Canal Winchester, OH
Cooling System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
(Parts - $35, Labor - $72)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)

How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic flush my cooling system?

Your cooling system is interconnected, and usually if one part is faulty, the entire system is thrown off. Taking your car to a licensed mechanic is ideal, as they can not only determine what coolant to use after a cooling system flush, but they can also assess your vehicle for any additional damage or clogs
If you visit a mechanic for a cooling system flush, they will most likely complete the process using these steps:
  1. Install flush chemical to radiator: After completing an inspection and determining that your cooling system needs flushing, a flush chemical is used on your car’s radiator to remove any rust buildup, excess radiator fluid, or scaling that may be present.
  2. Inspect radiator hoses: Next, your mechanic will examine your radiator hoses to ensure that neither has collapsed.
  3. Turn on the car’s engine: It may seem counterintuitive, but your mechanic will turn on your vehicle to bring it to operating temperature and let it idle for 10 to 15 minutes. This step is so the chemical can mix with the oil and circulate through the engine to dislodge any buildup. 
  4. Drain coolant: Before going further, your mechanic will shut off your engine. Once your engine is cool, they will begin a radiator drain—the process of draining your old coolant by removing the
    radiator cap
    and reservoir cap. Then, they will fill your coolant reservoir with a coolant cleaner.
  5. Drain coolant cleaner: After an adequate amount of time has passed, the coolant cleaner is drained from your reservoir. Your mechanic will then close the valve and refill the reservoir with distilled water before draining it again.
  6. Fill the reservoir with new coolant: Once your reservoir and radiator are clean, new coolant (a mixture of antifreeze and water) is used to help with engine cooling. 
  7. Complete a final inspection: At the end of your service, your mechanic will perform a final inspection of your cooling system to determine accurate coolant levels and identify potential leaks. 

What happens if I don’t have a cooling system flush?

If you do not have a routine cooling system flush, your vehicle’s cooling system can become impaired due to buildup, debris, leaks, and more. Some common symptoms of a neglected cooling system are:
  • Overheating
  • Engine damage
  • Engine failure

What is a cooling system flush?

A cooling system flush thoroughly rinses your car’s entire cooling system, from the engine block and radiator to the cooling reservoir and expansion tank, to rid it of buildup. Over time, particles, dirt, and other bits of debris can enter your vehicle and clog your cooling system and its components. By ensuring regular maintenance on your cooling system, you can avoid lasting damage to your car’s engine.

When should I perform a cooling system flush on my car?

Cooling system flushes need to be completed approximately every 25,000 to 40,000 miles, but If you notice the following symptoms sooner, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic for a cooling system flush: 
  • Odd engine noises: If you hear strange noises, such as a gurgling noise, from under your car’s hood, it’s possible that your cooling system needs to be cleaned or your coolant level needs to be adjusted. 
  • Overheating: When dealing with coolant systems, overheating is a large sign that there is something wrong. A dirty cooling system can prevent the components from working, leading to increased heat within your vehicle’s engine.
  • Sweet smells: Overheated ethylene glycol (an ingredient in coolant) produces a sweet scent—and if you smell that, it’s likely due to either low radiator coolant levels or a dirty system. 

How often should a cooling system flush be done?

A cooling system flush should be completed routinely, every 25,000 to 40,000 miles. However, this might change depending on your car’s make and model, as well as the type of coolant used. Some extended drain coolants can last up to 100,000 miles. 
If you’re unsure of when to complete a cooling system flush on your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual or contact a mechanic for further information.

Can I do a cooling system flush myself?

Yes, you can complete a cooling system flush on your car. The process is simple and requires a low to mid-level understanding of car repairs. 
However, there are a few important things to remember when managing your car’s cooling system:
  • Work on a cool engine. As coolant can get hot, operating on a hot engine can result in burns or personal injury.
  • Be aware of the amount of coolant when refilling. Do not go past the ‘fill’ (F) markings on your reservoir, or you run the risk of a leak.


While you can use bottled or tap water to flush a cooling system, it’s best to use distilled water as it contains fewer minerals. Bottled and tap water can leave deposits that can enter your cooling system, resulting in faster corrosion and a shorter lifespan for your cooling system components.
Chemicals used in a cooling system flush may vary based on where you take your car for repair. However, the following chemicals may be used in a cooling system flush:
  • Cooling system additive
  • Radiator cleaner/flush
  • Two-part coolant 
  • Distilled water
When it comes to your vehicle, it’s better to complete a full flush every 25,000 to 45,000 miles (depending on the make and model of your vehicle). If you continue to only drain and refill your coolant, you could be missing any debris, clogs, or additional buildup that could seriously affect your car’s cooling system and engine performance.

Meet Our Experts

John Davis
badge icon
Car Expert
badge icon
Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
Jessica Barrett
badge icon
Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
Kathleen Flear
badge icon
Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.