You likely spend relatively little time worrying about your vehicle’s radiator fluid, but did you know that a simple process of keeping your vehicle’s coolant at the proper levels can save you time and money by avoiding needless breakdowns and repairs? Usually, your coolant is the only thing keeping your vehicle from breaking down. Additionally, radiator fluid must be changed regularly. Luckily, both maintaining your radiator fluid levels and changing your coolant are simple and quick processes, at least once you are furnished with the proper knowledge. If you do not know how to drain and add up radiator fluid, here are some basic information that should be useful.
Step 1 – Checking the Levels
Before proceeding to do anything, you have to check your radiator fluid levels. If you have used your vehicle recently, wait a minimum of 30 minutes for the engine to cool down. If you have not used it recently, or you have waited long enough for the engine to cool down, then you may continue.
Draw the hood release lever under your dashboard, then use the latch on the front of your vehicle to pop the hood open. Use the prop rod to secure the hood, and look for the fluid reservoir. It should be a partially see-through white plastic container next to your radiator. You should be able to observe the level your fluid is at by looking through it. Since your engine is cool, your fluid should be at the level marked as “cool.”
Step 2 – Adjusting
If your fluid levels have become low, you may want to add fluid and call it a day. However, if you are attempting to drain and change your coolant, skip this step.
Radiator fluid is a mixture of equal quantity of water and antifreeze. However, some products will land pre-mixed. Always read carefully any instructions carefully, including those in your car owner’s manual.
Use your funnel to include the appropriate amount — again, probably half water, half antifreeze — to your tank. If your vehicle breaks down, stranding you in the middle of nowhere, you can add pure water, but this is actually a temporary fix and should only be used to get you to a location where you can remove this water and change it for the real coolant.
Step 3 – Draining
Put on your vinyl gloves. Locate the radiator drain cap on the bottom of your car. Set up your catch pan below it, and open it. Be sure to keep children and pets away from antifreeze, because it smells good enough to eat, but is actually poisonous, even in small amounts.
Disposing of old coolant will be different for you depending on your location, so inquire from the local authorities how to do it best.
Now it is time to flush your system. Close your radiator drain cap. Open your hood and fill your reservoir to the correct level with distilled water. Close everything up, and then run your engine for about 10 minutes. Wait for everything to calm down — roughly 30 minutes — and then drain the system again. Repeat process until nothing comes out but water.
Now, mix 1 part antifreeze and 1 part water in a third container. Put this to your reservoir. Now, leaving your cap off and hood open, run your engine and let it to idle. Keep adding your coolant, at a rate of no more than 1 liter per minute, periodically squeezing all components of the radiator hoses. Air should escape via the reservoir. When you cannot put more fluid, you are done.