How To: Check, Flush & Fill Your Vehicle’s Coolant


[Mechanical SFX] Hey everybody, John here from O’Reilly
Auto Parts. Today I’ll be showing you how to check, flush and fill your antifreeze,
which is also known as coolant. This is a 2009 Honda Accord but the basic steps of this process will be similar regardless of the vehicle. As with any
do-it-yourself maintenance it’s important to know the manufacturer’s
specifications for your vehicle including the type of antifreeze and
coolant to water ratio that’s recommended. As well as how often to
flush the system. If you’re not completely comfortable doing it yourself
stop by one of our stores and we’d be happy to recommend a professional
technician in your area. So let’s take a look. Antifreeze is toxic so make sure to
put on your gloves and eye protection. To check your antifreeze level you’ll need
to find your reservoir. In this case it’s right here. Make sure that the coolant is
somewhere between the minimum and maximum marks. If you plan to flush the
system, the fluid level isn’t as crucial as long as it’s not so low that you
think there could be a leak. You’ll be refilling it after the flush.
If you’ve driven your vehicle recently the coolant could be hot enough to cause
injury, so wait until it’s cool to start the process. Jacking up the front of your
vehicle and putting it on jack stands will make easier work underneath the
radiator, but if you have a vehicle with plenty of ground clearance it might not
be necessary. To drain your old coolant start by removing your fill cap. It could
be on the radiator, the engine, the pressure tank or one of your hoses.
Locate the petcock which will be on the bottom of one of the radiator tanks. It’s
possible that it could have a small plastic cover that could be removed with
a screw driver. Place a drain pan under the radiator and loosen the petcock to
let the old coolant run out. In some cases this will be a hose that you’ll
detach to let the old fluid drain. Once the coolant is done draining re-tighten
the petcock. Used antifreeze, motor oil, and other
automotive fluids are toxic and harmful to people and to the environment. Used
antifreeze is considered hazardous waste so we can’t recycle it in our stores.
Most communities have hazardous waste collection sites, so we suggest visiting
your city or county website for details. Next, add radiator cleaner and water to
manufacturer’s recommendations and replace the cap. Start your engine and
turn your heater on high until the temperature gauge reads normal. Shut your engine off and let it cool down. Completely remove the fill cap and drain
the system again. When it’s done draining, be sure to
tighten the petcock. Use a garden hose to fill the system with water to
manufacture specifications and replace the cap. Turn on the engine and let it
run until the temperature gauge reads normal. Turn off the engine and let it
cool down completely. Open the petcock and drain the system again, making sure
to tighten it back when it’s done draining. Repeat the water flush process.
You can use distilled water this time if you’re concerned about any remaining
minerals from the tap water. Drain the water from the system and make sure you
re-tighten the petcock. Determine the coolant to water ratio and amount
specified by your vehicle manufacturer and refill the system. When applicable,
add coolant mixture to your recovery reservoir. Turn on your engine and let it run until
the temperature gauge reads normal and check under the vehicle for leaks. Shut
off the engine and once it’s cooled down completely double-check the coolant
level to see if any needs to be added. If it’s at the proper level, you’re all done!
It’s typically recommended that you do a flush every five years, but your vehicle
manufacturer will have specific recommendations for your car, truck, or
SUV. All of the chemicals and tools that you need to do the job are available at
your local O’Reilly Auto Parts store or online at O’ReillyAuto.com Our DIY
videos are designed to help answer questions that we get in our stores each
and every day. If you found this one helpful, subscribe to our channel to see
the latest DIY jobs. And we’ll see you again soon.

About the Author: Michael Flood

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