Antifreeze and Engine Coolant
Radiators
Ford Ranger

How do you flush your radiator?

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2007-03-22 20:49:21
2007-03-22 20:49:21

Antifreeze manufacturers recommend changing the coolant once a year, and some service manuals stipulate flushing and refilling the radiator every 24 months, regardless of mileage. Antifreeze Importance Antifreeze serves two important functions: protecting the cooling system at temperature extremes and inhibiting rust and corrosion in the system. Many antifreezes also have additives that help lubricate the water pump and thermostat, so coolant has multiple advantages over plain water. Glycol Styles Antifreeze's active ingredient is glycol. "Standard" coolants contain ethylene glycol (EG), which is toxic to people, pets, wildlife and groundwater. In recent years, less-toxic antifreezes containing propylene glycol have become available. These products advertise comparable cooling qualities to EG antifreezes but with less environmental impact. Either way, always clean up any coolant spills/radiator boil-overs promptly. Draining & Flushing Rust and sediment can accumulate in the cooling system. Flushing the radiator helps keep the cooling system clean. Begin by parking the car away from kids, pets and storm drains. Elevating the car on ramps can make the job easier. With the ignition off, engine cool, car in Park and emergency brake set, remove the radiator cap. Place a bucket or pan (minimum 2-gallon capacity) under the radiator drain plug and open it. Close the plug once the coolant flow ends. For more thorough draining, remove the plug(s) in the engine block (if so equipped) to release the coolant that remains in the engine. If the old coolant appears rusty or contaminated, flush the system with a radiator-cleaning product to further remove sediment. With all drain plugs closed, fill the radiator with a flush/cleaner product and plain water. Then run the vehicle with the heater on high for as long as the flush product's instructions specify. Once the engine cools, drain the flushing solution, refill the radiator with plain water, and repeat the sequence following the flush's instructions. Refilling Consult your vehicle's owner's manual and the antifreeze bottle for proper coolant-to-water ratio, which can vary between 40% and 70% antifreeze based on vehicle and climate. Fill the radiator appropriately then fill the overflow reservoir to the appropriate level with a 50/50 mix. Clean up any spills immediately. Close the cap(s) and run the vehicle up to operating temperature with the heater on high to circulate the coolant throughout the system. Once the engine cools, check for leaks. After a few days of driving, double-check the coolant mixture with a hydrometer or test strips (both of which are available inexpensively from the parts store) and adjust the concentration as necessary. Additives Various chemical additives are formulated to improve cooling-system performance while you drive. Rust inhibitors are designed to reduce oxidation and neutralize acids; many also include lubricants for the water pump and thermostat. Other chemicals improve the coolant's heat-dissipation properties and claim up to a 20-degree F reduction in operating temperature. Flushing your car's cooling system isn't the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday morning. But just as your refrigerator's coils need periodic vacuuming for proper operation, keeping the car's cooling system clean is cheaper and easier than the consequences of ignoring it. Most motorists know it's recommended that our vehicle's oil should be changed about every 3,000 miles. Drivers are less educated, however, about proper intervals for their vehicle's other vital fluids. For the cooling system, antifreeze manufacturers recommend changing the coolant once a year, and some service manuals stipulate flushing and refilling the radiator every 24 months, regardless of mileage. Antifreeze Importance Antifreeze serves two important functions: protecting the cooling system at temperature extremes and inhibiting rust and corrosion in the system. Many antifreezes also have additives that help lubricate the water pump and thermostat, so coolant has multiple advantages over plain water. Glycol Styles Antifreeze's active ingredient is glycol. "Standard" coolants contain ethylene glycol (EG), which is toxic to people, pets, wildlife and groundwater. In recent years, less-toxic antifreezes containing propylene glycol have become available. These products advertise comparable cooling qualities to EG antifreezes but with less environmental impact. Either way, always clean up any coolant spills/radiator boil-overs promptly. Draining & Flushing Rust and sediment can accumulate in the cooling system. Flushing the radiator helps keep the cooling system clean. Begin by parking the car away from kids, pets and storm drains. Elevating the car on ramps can make the job easier. With the ignition off, engine cool, car in Park and emergency brake set, remove the radiator cap. Place a bucket or pan (minimum 2-gallon capacity) under the radiator drain plug and open it. Close the plug once the coolant flow ends. For more thorough draining, remove the plug(s) in the engine block (if so equipped) to release the coolant that remains in the engine. If the old coolant appears rusty or contaminated, flush the system with a radiator-cleaning product to further remove sediment. With all drain plugs closed, fill the radiator with a flush/cleaner product and plain water. Then run the vehicle with the heater on high for as long as the flush product's instructions specify. Once the engine cools, drain the flushing solution, refill the radiator with plain water, and repeat the sequence following the flush's instructions. Refilling Consult your vehicle's owner's manual and the antifreeze bottle for proper coolant-to-water ratio, which can vary between 40% and 70% antifreeze based on vehicle and climate. Fill the radiator appropriately then fill the overflow reservoir to the appropriate level with a 50/50 mix. Clean up any spills immediately. Close the cap(s) and run the vehicle up to operating temperature with the heater on high to circulate the coolant throughout the system. Once the engine cools, check for leaks. After a few days of driving, double-check the coolant mixture with a hydrometer or test strips (both of which are available inexpensively from the parts store) and adjust the concentration as necessary. Additives Various chemical additives are formulated to improve cooling-system performance while you drive. Rust inhibitors are designed to reduce oxidation and neutralize acids; many also include lubricants for the water pump and thermostat. Flushing your car's cooling system isn't the most glamorous way to spend a Saturday morning. But just as your refrigerator's coils need periodic vacuuming for proper operation, keeping the car's cooling system clean is cheaper and easier than the consequences of ignoring it. A reverse flush is the best way. I would get one of the Prestone flush kits and follow the directions. That is if you like to do things yourself, if you don't has a radiator shop do it and tell them you want the radiator flushed and not drained. Usually, if a radiator gets plugged, you will not be able to clear the blockage just by flushing it. Radiator shops are able to pull the "tanks" from either end and use a rod to clear the blockage. The process is called "rodding" the radiator. Generally, it isn't terribly expensive but is definitely worth the effort if your engine is overheating. A good radiator shop can usually recondition the radiator and it will be as efficient as when it was new. On the other hand, some of the newer radiators with plastic tanks do not seem to be as easily repaired. The radiator shop will be able to tell you if they can repair your radiator.

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