• How to Drain Your Radiator Coolant

    Going through the steps to drain radiator coolant is easy as long as you follow the steps outlined. Radiator maintenance should be done regularly, as the purpose of the coolant is to keep your car from overheating.

    Tools and Materials Needed:

    • Screwdriver or wrench
    • Funnel
    • Radiator flush
    • Coolant
    • Rags
    • Latex gloves
    • Drain pan

    Step 1. Cool the Engine

    Make sure that your engine is sufficiently cool to the touch. You don’t want your hand to be scalded by the engine, so this is a necessary step. This is also a safety precaution, as pressurized contents in the radiator will shoot up if your engine has not been cooled.

    Step 2. Position the Drain Pan

    Wear your latex gloves and crawl under the car. Locate the radiator plug that should be right under your radiator. It can either be a screw plug, a bolt plug or a simple drain valve. If you have problems locating the plug, check the owner’s manual to find it. Place the drain pan right underneath the radiator plug.

    Step 3. Drain the Coolant

    Pull the radiator plug loose and allow the coolant to drain into the pan. Inspect the coolant that has drained. If it has any debris or metal flakes then you will need a professional to inspect your radiator.

    Step 4. Prepare the Coolant for Disposal

    Drain the coolant into a bottle and seal it, being careful to not let any antifreeze to touch your skin. Do not dispose of antifreeze as you would normal liquids. You have to bring that bottle into an appropriate recycling facility.

    Step 5. Allow Air into the Radiator

    Remove the radiator cap and allow air to circulate inside the radiator tubes to help you in the draining process.

    Step 6. Check Radiator Cap

    Inspect the radiator cap for dry rot or wear and tear. If you notice any of those signs, replace with a new cap immediately. Sediments and dirt from the radiator cap are part of the reason why you will have to regularly do the draining process. Crawl back under the car and tighten the radiator plug.

    Step 7. Fill Radiator with Water

    Fill the radiator with water to help remove the remaining antifreeze. Replace the radiator cap and turn on the engine for five minutes.

    Step 8. Allow the Engine to Cool

    Turn off the engine and allow it to cool. Repeat flushing the radiator until the water is clear.

    Step 9. Use the Flushing Agent

    Use the flushing agent and pour it into your radiator. Repeat steps 9 and 10 and then drain the flushing agent from the radiator into the drain pan.

    Step 10. Pour Coolant in Radiator

    Pour the new coolant into the radiator. The mixture should be 50% distilled water and 50% coolant. Tighten the radiator cap and you’re done.


    The cooling system should be drained depending on the type of vehicle that you own. If you live in an area that has a moderate climate, then you can drain it at least once a year. However, if you’re in an area with harsh winters or hot summers, you can drain the cooling system twice in a year.