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 cost of a radiator flush, also known as a 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.
The average cost of a radiator flush is anywhere between $60 and $170. It is highly recommended to flush your car’s radiator every 36,000 miles.
In case you want to clean the radiator by yourself, be prepared to pay around $20 to $40 for supplies, depending on the vehicle’s make and model and the place you buy them from. In order to get this job done, you will have to buy a gallon of standard 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 the job isn’t that hard to complete as kits come with detailed instructions easy to follow by anyone.
In order to flush the radiator of a larger vehicle, such as an RV, be prepared to pay around $320 to $800.
From an article posted on CarsDirect.com, 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 DoItYourself.com forum, the cost to flush the radiator 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 price estimates for a radiator flush job.
|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|
Radiator flush details
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, this liquid 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 coolant, which will be added to the 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 technical manual of the machine.
The next step involves removing the washing solution from the cooling system, followed by rinsing the system by filling it with water. If significant deposits are found, additional cleaning of the system can be done, even with a solution made from vinegar and water. Rinsing is done 20 to 40 minutes after the engine has cooled, then the water that rinsed the circuit will have to be drained. Both the washing and rinsing will show reddish or yellow deposits, which indicate that the system has been successfully cleaned.
After emptying the installation, we will fill it with a mixed solution obtained from distilled water and antifreeze. It is recommended to use antifreeze during the summer for better protection of the radiator.
This operation can be performed at any service, gas station, dealer like Goodyear, Midas, Jiffy Lube, Brakes Plus and Firestone, or even by yourself.
What are the extra costs?
Budget anywhere between $15 and $30 for a premium 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 the radiator, in order to avoid other issues in the future.
Important things to consider
Car manufacturers specify in the car manual the interval at which the coolant must be changed and not just filled in. Usually, this period 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 come on it will usually mean that there is leakage or other problems within the system.
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).
How can I save money?
You may be able to save $55 to $90 by doing this job yourself. There are many online guides and tutorials that can help you.
It is recommended to flush the radiator every 3 years or 36,000 miles, but make sure that it is absolutely necessary as some mechanics will try to sell you extra services when you go in for car repairs.
You can find some discounts by checking the official website page of popular dealers such as Jiffy Lube.