How to Replace Your Radiator

A radiator is an extremely important part of a vehicle. Its purpose is to keep your car from overheating. The liquid coolant gets heated by the engine which is then gets funneled through the radiator where it is cooled by heat exchange. Eventually, the radiator will have sludge build up within it which in turn will make the coolant less effective. This can diminish your gas mileage as well as your engine performance. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you flush your radiator at least once every two to five years! 

But how?

We here at GM Outlet Parts are here to help! We will give you a step-by-step process on how you can flush your radiator and make sure that your vehicle continues to run smoothly!

Step 1: Make Sure Your Engine is Cool!

This first step is probably the most important as it’s for your safety. Do not work on your radiator after driving. In fact, do not even go near it until it is completely cooled off. It’s recommended that you give your engine about two hours to cool off after driving – this will be when it is at it’s coolest.

The reason this is so important is because coolant can get extremely hot when the engine is running. If it comes in contact with your skin, it can result in injury. When working with a vehicle safety is the most important thing!

Step 2:  Raise the Front of Your Car (Recommended)

Raising the front of your car will make it much easier to get underneath the vehicle and work. Another benefit is it can eliminate air bubbles from your coolant when the radiator gets flushed. However, this step isn’t completely necessary and if you can’t find your jack you can still flush your radiator. 

Step 3: Locate Radiator/Clean Slats

If you’re going to flush your radiator, you hopefully know where your radiator is. However, if you don’t, it is usually near the front of the car next to the engine. Make sure to clean the metal slats on the front and back of the radiator with soapy water and a brush. This is to make sure that the radiator slats are free of dirt and grime. 

Step 4: Place a Bucket Down & Drain

Place a bucket underneath the drain valve. Ensure the bucket can hold at least two gallons of liquid. Try not to spill any coolant outside of the bucket, especially if you have pets. Engine coolant has a very sweet smell that animals sense as tasty rather than poisonous. After the bucket is placed open the drain valve and allow the liquid to drain into the bucket. 

Step 5: Dispose Safely

This is another important safety tip that should be followed when flushing your radiator. After you fill the bucket with coolant, transfer the liquid into containers with tight-fitting lids. Make sure you label them so no one mistakes it, and store it in a place that’s out of reach of children. As soon as you can safely dispose of the liquid, do it. 

Step 6: Flush Radiator with Water

Take off the radiator pressure cap and fill the radiator with water. After you’ve done that run the engine with the heater control on high. Let it run for about 10 minutes. This is to see whether or not the temperature gauge goes up. If it does, make sure you turn off the car before the engine overheats. 

If things go well after 10 minutes of running, shut the engine down. Now wait until it’s completely cooled off, and drain the radiator once again into a bucket. Transfer the water into sealed containers and label. 

Step 7: Add the Coolant

Now it’s time to refill your vehicle with the coolant. Ideally, you want to fill it with 50% water and 50% antifreeze. However, these ingredients should be mixed in a bucket before putting it inside the radiator. You should also ensure that you are using the right coolant for your car – look it up on Google or within your owner’s manual. Also note how much coolant your vehicle takes, and never mix different types of coolant. 

Congratulations, you have now flushed your radiator! Remember, it’s important to do this ever 2 to 5 years, as you can ensure that your car continues to run smoothly. It can also save you money – a good, clean radiator can increase your gas mileage! 

If you need anything for your radiator, GM Outlet Parts has you covered!