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You should periodically drain, flush and refill your cooling system. This replenishes the antifreeze mixture and prevents formation of rust and corrosion, which can cause poor performance and engine damage. When you service the cooling system, check all hoses and the radiator cap and replace them, if necessary.
How to Drain A Radiator
Before you start, be sure to have a large container available to catch the radiator coolant as it drains.
Drain the coolant from the radiator into a large container.
When the coolant stops flowing from the radiator, move the container under the engine block drain plugs. There is a plug on each side of the block.
Remove the plugs and drain the coolant from the block.
As the coolant drains, check the condition of the radiator hoses, heater hoses, and clamps. Replace any damaged clamps or hoses.
How to Flush A Radiator
When the system is completely drained, flush the radiator with fresh water from a garden hose until it runs clear at the drain. The water removes any sediment from the radiator, but will not remove rust and scale from the engine and cooling tube surfaces. Remove these deposits with a chemical cleaner, following the manufacturer's instructions. If the radiator is severely corroded, damaged, or leaking, remove it and take it to a radiator repair shop.
Remove the overflow hose from the coolant recovery reservoir.
Drain the reservoir and flush it with clean water, then reconnect the hose.
Close and tighten the radiator drain.
Install and tighten the block drain plugs.
Place the heater temperature control in the maximum heat position.
How to Refill A Radiator
Slowly add new coolant (a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze) to the radiator until it is full.
Add coolant to the reservoir up to the lower mark.
Leave the radiator cap off and run the engine in a well-ventilated area until the thermostat opens. Coolant will begin to flow through the radiator and the upper radiator hose will get hot.
Turn the engine off and allow it to cool.
Add more coolant mixture until the level is back up to the lip on the radiator filler neck.
Squeeze the upper radiator hose to expel air, then add more coolant mixture if needed.
Replace the radiator cap.
Start the engine, let it reach normal operating temperature, and check for radiator leaks.
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