Auto Repair Tips

How to Change Radiator Fluid

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Your car's coolant needs to be changed every one to two years, depending on the type of climate you live in. This article shows you how to safely and properly change the radiator coolant in your car.


  1. Start with a cold engine and open the radiator cap.
  2. Under the front of the car, look at the bottom of the radiator and find a T-shaped bolt or small plug. This is called the drain cock or radiator petcock.
  3. Get a pan. It must be large enough to hold roughly 5 gallons.
  4. Place this container beneath the radiator before opening the drain cock. Use your hand, or an appropriate sized wrench.
  5. Allow the liquid to drain into the pan, and close the drain cock.
  6. Add the coolant. Now that your system is empty, you can add coolant and burp the system. Using a funnel, pour in a mixture of 50% anti-freeze and 50% water into the radiator until it is full.
  7. With the radiator cap off, turn on the engine and run it until the radiator burps. Air pockets may be trapped in the tank and you will notice the level of coolant will drop and an air bubble may surface. Be sure to watch the temperature gauge as you are burping the system.
  8. Since the coolant level has dropped, refill it as necessary. Replace the cap on the radiator. After this procedure, if you notice the engine running hot, add more coolant. It is possible another air pocket burped.
  9. Be sure to follow these easy steps every 12 years, as the car's coolant is the most important part of the car's cooling system.


Things You'll Need

Sources and Citations

8:58 PM 1/26/2009

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Change Radiator Fluid. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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