While you may not have thought of it, changing the coolant of your car is a good way of preventing your radiator from damage and reducing expenses.
How to Change Coolant
Back in the day, changing your vehicle’s coolant was simple. Cars that were made after the turn of the millennium got more complex and a lot of people got intimidated by the precise filling and “air-bleeding” procedures required to eliminate engine air pockets.
It is however easier than it looks. All you need is to get a one-time air-powered refilling tool. You can change your coolant yourself in about an hour. Before you however proceed to change your radiator coolant, check your owner’s manual for the recommended procedures and coolant for your car.
Open Drain Cock
Open the drain cock by unscrewing, twisting a quarter turn, or twisting and pulling. Proceed to remove the hose by pushing together the clamp spring with a slip-joint pliers and slip the clamp away from the neck.
Pull the hose free and drain the remaining coolant. If access is difficult, a hose clamp pliers saves time and bruised knuckles.
Add Coolant to the Radiator
Stir 1 gallon of full-strength coolant and 1 gallon of distilled water together in a clean bucket before adding the mix to the radiator.
Draining and Refilling Coolant in Newer Cars
Changing your coolant yourself can save you a lot of money. The procedure works for any cooling system that’s not contaminated with rust or oil.
The materials you’ll need include:
• New coolant (2 gallons)
• Air-powered refill tool
• Air compressor
• Hose removal tool
• Shop manual to locate block drain plugs
• Drain pan
• Absorbent paper towels
• Wrenches and screwdrivers
Start by checking the condition of your coolant when the engine is cool. Remove the radiator or coolant reservoir cap and examine the coolant colour. If it looks rusty, has crud or oil floating on the top, or looks like chocolate milk, call it quits and take it to a professional.
If the coolant looks clean, start the job by jacking up the vehicle and supporting it with jack stands. Next, place a large drain pan under the radiator. Loosen the lower radiator hose clamp with pliers or screwdriver and remove the hose. If the hose won’t budge, use a hose removal tool to break it loose. Let the radiator and water pump drain completely. Then reattach the lower radiator hose and clamp.
The next thing to do is to locate and remove the block drain plugs with the aid of your manual. Reinstall the block drain plugs and move on to the refilling step.
Insert the air tool into the radiator neck or overflow bottle. Connect the exhaust hose and compressed air line and route the open end of the tool’s exhaust hose into an empty gallon jug or pail. Then open the valve and let the vacuum rise until the needle reaches the edge of the red zone on the gauge. Then fill with coolant.
The vacuum sucks out any air pockets as it refills the system. When it’s full, just reinstall the radiator or overflow tank caps, remove the jack stands, and your car is ready to move.