How Often Should You Replace Your Car's Radiator Fluid

January 27, 2012

The radiator fluid is perhaps the most vital part of your car's cooling system. The radiator fluid, or antifreeze coolant, is the liquid mixture of antifreeze and water that runs throughout your car's cooling system and helps keep your car engine cool while running. It also helps to keep the engine block from freezing in extreme cold temperatures when the vehicle is parked.

Periodically Change Your Car's Radiator Fluid

You should periodically change the radiator fluid in your vehicle to help your car's cooling system function at its best. Over time, dirt and other contaminants can build up in the fluid, or it may become acidic. When this occurs, the radiator fluid is much less effective and should be changed.

Most car manufacturers recommend that you change the radiator fluid in your vehicle every 24,000 to 36,000 miles, or every 24 to 36 months. However, your personal driving habits will also determine the frequency of needed radiator fluid changes. If you drive your vehicle in extreme extremely hot temperatures often, you may want to consider changing the fluid once a year or every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

Changing Out Your Car's Radiator Fluid

Changing the radiator fluid in your vehicle is a straightforward process that involves removing the drain plug from the bottom of your radiator, allowing the fluid to drain and then refilling the radiator with new antifreeze and water. However, flushing the radiator and cooling system before refilling it is also a good idea to help remove dirt and other contaminants that are not easily drained. When changing out the radiator fluid in your vehicle, you should never pour the old fluid down the drain. You should always take the old radiator fluid to a recycling center to ensure proper disposal.


Related Questions and Answers

Where is the Radiator Coolant Reservoir Located?

The location of the radiator coolant reservoir varies depending on the vehicle. The reservoir is the storage tank for excess coolant. As the system heats up, coolant is forced out through the pressure cap on the radiator. This excess fluid runs into the storage tank. When the system cools down, the decreased pressure will suck coolant back into the radiator. The reservoir tank is attached to the engine and radiator by hoses. You can usually find the tank by following the hose coming out of the radiator. It will be a transparent plastic tank and you can see the coolant inside. If you can still not locate it, check your owners manual.

Where is the Engine Coolant Drain Plug Located?

The engine coolant drain plug location will vary depending on your vehicle. In the majority of cars, it is located under the car on the left hand side if you are facing the hood. If you are lying under the car and facing the front bumper, you should be able to see the drain plug. It is normally a butterfly screw that can be unscrewed by hand. If you are draining and flushing your radiator, make sure you have a bucket underneath the plug before unscrewing it. In most cases, it will take between 3 to 5 minutes for the radiator to completely drain.

Is It Bad to Have Air in an Auto Coolant System?

Air in a coolant system is bad, but not catastrophic. Air can enter a cooling system when there is a small leak and the radiator is topped off. Air in the system can cause overheating because there is not enough coolant in it. In some cases, air in the system can be caused by extremely low coolant levels. Topping up the radiator can help solve this problem. It is also possible to burp the system to remove the air. Letting the engine run while leaving the radiator cap off will bring air bubbles to the top of the radiator. When you no longer see any air bubbles, top off the radiator. It should now be free of air.

Is an Antifreeze Flush and a Radiator Flush the Same Thing?

An antifreeze flush and a radiator flush are the same thing. Flushing your radiator is a good idea. It cleans out the old antifreeze as well as dirt and grime that has built up in the system. It should be done on a regular basis, as per the manufacturer recommendations. Check your owners manual for the maintenance schedule. If you are comfortable working on your own vehicle, a radiator flush is a pretty straightforward procedure. If you are not comfortable doing the work, having it done by a professional is fairly inexpensive. You should be able to get it done for less than $100.

What is the Average Cost for a Radiator Replacement?

A radiator replacement cost will vary depending on your vehicle type as well as the make and model of your car. On average, you should budget between $350-$600 for a complete radiator replacement on a passenger vehicle. if you are driving a SUV or a large pick up truck, the cost will probably be closer to $500-$900. When you are getting quotes, make sure the price includes not only the, but all of the labor, fresh coolant, and any hoses that needs to be replaced. If you are capable of doing the work yourself, it will more than cut the price in half. Installing a used radiator can also result in significant savings.

Comments