Flushing Antifreeze from a Radiator

People often forget about the radiator of their cars and trucks, but the heating and cooling system should be checked every six months. The radiator should be flushed and refilled with antifreeze every year. Antifreeze lowers the point at which water in the heating and cooling system freezes, and antifreeze elevates the point at which water boils. Clean antifreeze running through the radiator of a car or truck is vital to keeping the heating and cooling system working properly.

Don’t spend upwards of $70.00 to have the radiator of your car or truck flushed and refilled with antifreeze. You can flush the radiator of your car or truck yourself and save a considerable amount of time and money in the process. Flushing antifreeze from the radiator of a car or truck is easy, so next time the radiator of your car or truck requires flushing and refilling, take the time to do it yourself. You’ll wonder why you didn’t learn how to flush the antifreeze from your radiator a long time ago.

Precautions Before Beginning

Keep in mind that antifreeze is highly toxic, so make sure to dispose of old antifreeze properly, and don’t flush the radiator while the motor is hot. Also, be very careful around moving belts and fan blades.

Checking Antifreeze

Dirty antifreeze often looks murky, and if your antifreeze is dirty, you’ll definitely know it upon inspection. Open the reservoir if your car or truck has one, and if the antifreeze in your radiator appears to be very dirty, the antifreeze should be flushed and refilled. Don’t let the prospect of flushing and refilling your radiator intimidate you. Flushing and refilling a radiator is actually very simple.

Every six months you should inspect the antifreeze to make sure it’s clean. If the antifreeze appears to be quite dirty, add heating and cooling system cleaner to the antifreeze. Follow product label instructions for best results, and proceed with flushing the radiator.

Flushing a Radiator

Before considering flushing and refilling the radiator of your car or truck, it’s important to know the parts of your car or trucks cooling system. Look for the flushing-T connected to the radiator of your car or truck. The flushing-T is connected to the heater inlet hose and is held on with hose clamps. As the name suggests, the connection is shaped like a T, and it is topped with a removable cap. If your car or truck isn’t equipt with a flushing-T, you can purchase a kit from your local car parts dealer. Simply follow the instructions on product packaging when installing the flushing-T.

Once the flushing-T is located or installed, simply unscrew the cap and attach an adapter to fit a standard garden hose. Attach the garden hose, and if the tubes of your radiator are upright, take off the radiator cap. There may be a water-deflector within the opening. Pull the deflector into place. If the tubes of your radiator run horizontally, remove the upper radiator hose from the engine, and point the end away from the car or truck. Also, make sure to drain the antifreeze reservoir, if there is one.

Start the car or truck, and turn the heater all the way up. Turn on the garden hose, and get ready for dirty antifreeze and water to begin pouring out. If possible, catch the dirty antifreeze and water in deep buckets. After the water runs clean and clear for at least two minutes, turn off the heater, the car or truck, and lastly, the water. Push the water-deflector back down, and connect the upper hose of the radiator.

The next step will depend upon the make and model of your car or truck. If you car or truck has a petcock, open the petcock. If your radiator has a drain plug, open the drain plug, and allow the water to drain from the radiator. After the water has finished draining from the radiator, put the drain plug back, or close the petcock.

Refilling Antifreeze

Now that the hardest part of the process is over, it’s time to refill the radiator. Pour straight antifreeze into the radiator. Fill the radiator to 70% capacity, or whatever level is recommended for your particular car or truck. There will still be some water in your cooling system, and the antifreeze will blend with the water.

To make sure the proper amount of antifreeze is flowing through the heating and cooling system, remove the cap from the flushing-T, and once again, turn the heater on full-blast, and turn on the car or truck. As a small amount of liquid comes out of the flushing-T, fill the radiator to the proper level, turn the car or truck off, and put the radiator cap back on. Look at the reservoir once again to make sure the correct amount of antifreeze is in the radiator.

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