How do you clean out your car radiator?

My car has been acting up a bit recently. My father, who is a retired mechanic, said the radiator needs to be cleaned out and flushed. Typically, my dad would have just done it for me, but he no longer lives in the area and said I should be able to do it myself. I know a bit about cars, but how do you clean out your car’s radiator?

Having your father as a go-to source for mechanical issues is super convenient and can save you some serious money! Thankfully, you don’t need to have any special training to flush and clean the radiator.
To flush your car’s radiator, you will need a:
  • Funnel
  • Large drain pan
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Distilled water
  • Replacement coolant
Once you have your supplies, follow these steps:
  • Locate the radiator under your car’s hood and remove the radiator cap located near the grille or front of the vehicle
  • Drain the radiator by crawling under your vehicle and loosening the radiator drain valve or removing the hose and clamp attached to the radiator
  • Empty the fluid into your pan to avoid a mess
  • Once empty, close the drain valve or reattach the hose and clamp
  • Flush the radiator by filling it with distilled water, replacing the cap, and letting your vehicle run for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Turn off the vehicle and drain the radiator of the distilled water the same way you emptied the old coolant
  • Ensure the valve is closed or the hose is connected and add fresh coolant
  • Start the vehicle and check for leaks
If you want to make the most of the time spent waiting for the system to flush, download Jerry and save on car insurance.
The Jerry app can collect quotes from over 50 top insurance companies, like Travelers, Nationwide, and Progressive, in seconds! They even help cancel your old policy once you’ve made your pick.
Jack Walsh
Answered on Nov 15, 2021

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