How Much Does a Radiator Flush Cost?

Last Updated on July 14, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Cleaning the radiator is an essential part of the maintenance process, with a positive effect on the car’s performance and service life. The radiator is one of the most important components of a car, and its constant maintenance by removing insects and vegetation and replacing the coolant at regular intervals can help prevent malfunction over time, also preventing engine overheating.

Most car owners neglect the maintenance of the radiator in routine inspections and pay attention to this only when there is a problem with the cooling system. Engine overheating is often a problem associated with older cars, and regular radiator service would prevent such problems.

How much does a radiator flush cost?

The average cost of a radiator flush is anywhere between $60 and $170. It is highly recommended to flush your coolant every 36,000 miles.

The cost of a radiator flush, also called coolant flush, is influenced by many factors, including the complexity of the job, the make and model of the car, the amount of coolant needed, and the mechanic performing the job.

In case you want to perform a coolant flush by yourself, expect to pay around $20 to $40 for supplies, depending on the vehicle’s type and model, and the place you buy them from. In order to get this job done, you will have to buy a gallon of a standard mixture of coolant, a gallon of antifreeze, and a bottle of radiator cleaner. If you do not know all that much about how to flush a radiator, there are some kits available. It turns out it doesn’t take too much time for a coolant flush, and the job isn’t that hard to complete as kits come with detailed instructions easy to follow by anyone.

The cost of a coolant flush in a larger vehicle, such as an RV, is expected to be around $320 to $800.

From an article posted on, you will notice that a complete radiator flush may cost $60 to $170. This price depends on the vehicle’s make and model, as well as the age of the vehicle.

According to a member of the forum, the cost to get a radiator flush on your own could be anywhere between $15 and $20. At a local shop, this job may cost anywhere between $90 and $120.

In the table below you will find some cost estimates for a radiator flush job.

Company Price Range
Jiffy Lube $85 to $175
Amazon $25 to $55 for a kit
Midas $80 to $135
Mr. Tire $80 to $140
Walmart $15 to $70 for kit
Pep Boys $25 to $45 for a kit
Valvoline $95 to $150

How is a radiator fluid flush performed

Cleaning the car radiator is not a very complex operation, but it requires special attention. The radiator has the fundamental task of reducing the temperature of the engine coolant circuit. The coolant consists of a mixture of demineralized water and antifreeze. The ratio between the two liquids is usually 50-50%. Over time, the radiator fluid combined with distilled water gradually loses its characteristics of protection against frost and corrosion.

To perform a good cleaning of the radiator, it is recommended that a washing solution be used for each change of old coolant, which will be added to the new coolant. The washing solutions are placed in the expansion vessel, leaving the engine running at idle until it reaches the normal operating temperature of the vehicle, specified by the manufacturer in the owner’s manual of the machine.

The next step involves removing the washing solution from the cooling system, followed by rinsing the entire cooling system by filling it with water. If significant contaminants and rust are found, additional cleaning of the system can be done, even with a solution made from a vinegar mixture and fresh water. Rinsing the coolant system is done 20 to 40 minutes after the engine has cooled, then the water that rinsed the circuit will have to be drained from the radiator hose. Both the washing and rinsing will show reddish or yellow deposits, which indicate that the system has been successfully cleaned.

You might also like our articles about the cost of radiator fan replacement, car thermostat replacement, or a full engine swap.

After emptying the installation, we will fill the vehicle’s coolant capacity with a mixture of coolant and water. It is recommended to use antifreeze during the summer for better protection of the engine and radiator.

This operation can be performed at any service, gas station, or dealer like Goodyear, Midas, Jiffy Lube, Brakes Plus, and Firestone, or even by yourself.

What are the extra costs to flush your radiator?

Budget anywhere between $15 and $30 for a premium type of coolant as it is much better than regular brands from stores and will last longer.

It is recommended by the mechanics to replace the thermostat as well when you flush your cooling system, in order to avoid other issues in the future.

Important things about the coolant flush

Coolant FlushCar manufacturers specify in the car manual the interval at which the old antifreeze must be changed and not just filled in. Usually, the flush interval varies between 2 and 5 years, regardless of the number of miles traveled.

Some vehicle models are equipped with low coolant sensors, and if these lights appear on the dash it will usually mean that there is leakage or other problems within the system.

Radiator coolant can be found in three different colors: red, green, and orange. Red has the shortest lifespan of all these three coolants.

A car’s radiator is usually about two to three gallons of water and antifreeze mixed together. The exact amount will depend on the make, model, and manufacturer recommendations for your vehicle, though it should be 50%-60% of each compound (water/antifreeze).

For efficient cleaning, plastic elements like the radiator cap or the lower radiator hose will be opened. It is important to know that with the outdoor cleaning of the radiator, the air conditioning radiator will also be sanitized.

Signs you need to flush the coolant

The first sign that you can see is the cooling fan that works permanently – the noise we all know, and the second is overheating, when the liquid temperature reaches the boiling point. Because the climate radiator is positioned parallel to the cooling one, in front or behind it, and here the airflow is difficult, the performance of the air conditioning system is lower. Also, if the vaporizer is clogged, over time a bad smell will appear in the car.

Usually, on a visual check, you should notice the dirt that has accumulated on the cooling radiator.

How can I save money?

You may be able to save $55 to $90 by flushing the coolant yourself. There are many online guides and tutorials that can help you.

It is recommended to flush the radiator every 36,000 miles or five years, but make sure that it is absolutely necessary as some mechanics will try to sell you extra services when you go in for auto repairs.

You can find some discounts by checking the official website page of popular dealers such as Jiffy Lube.

Final words

We recommend that these checks and processes be carried out in early spring before summer to prevent any problems on vacation. Not only the cooling radiator can be cleaned using these methods but also the climate radiator, oil cooling, intercooler, etc.

In new cars, the elements of the cooling system (radiator, fan) are encapsulated in plastic on the motor side, so that cleaning can only be done in a service. In this case, the price of a radiator flush does not cost much, especially if the radiator is not dismantled, and if it does not last too long.

However, if getting a coolant flush does not solve the problem of engine overheating, then our recommendation is to go to a service. Here the technicians will do a complete check of the radiator liquid, radiator drain, thermostat, sensors, or water pump, and if they are in the right parameters, they will most likely clean the coolant circuit. This is done physically by disassembling the entire circuit or more easily by rinsing it with a chemical agent.

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