What to Know When Adding a Radiator Cleaner to Your Car's Radiator

A radiator cleaner can be a major help to your car's radiator. Even after just a few years of use, car radiators can become clogged with rust, calcium deposits and other debris that can build up. If left unchecked, these deposits can cause problems that prevent the efficient functioning of the radiator and may even result in an overall shortening of the radiator's life expectancy. Fortunately, using a radiator cleaner appropriately is a good way to moderate these problems. Read on for a few things to keep in mind when using a radiator cleaner for your vehicle.

Cool the Engine, and Prep the Radiator

Before you can pour the radiator cleaning solution into the radiator directly, it's crucial that you first prepare the engine and the radiator appropriately. The best way to do this is to allow the engine to cool completely. Wait for several hours after you last operated the vehicle in order to begin to clean the radiator. Secondly, you should drain and refill the radiator completely before cleaning it. Open up the radiator stopcock at the base of the system and allow the water inside to flow out. Once it's entirely drained, close the stopcock and fill up the radiator again.

After you've refilled the radiator, it's essential to run the engine again to get the radiator operating. After this, you should again allow the engine to cool before proceeding. Many people drain and fill the radiator twice before cleaning it to ensure that as much of the debris as possible is flushed out ahead of time.

Follow the Instructions for the Cleaning Solution Carefully

After you've drained and refilled the radiator, you're ready to use the cleaning solution. The cleaning solution is a corrosive substance that must be handled very carefully. First, you must always be sure to use it in an open environment where the fumes cannot affect you. You must also be prepared to keep it in your radiator for only a certain amount of time because if the solution is left in too long, it can cause damage to the structure of the radiator itself. When allowing the engine to run with the cleaning solution in the radiator, follow the instructions on the manufacturer's label carefully to ensure that the cleaner is only in the engine for the right amount of time.

Fill the Engine Radiator Up with Antifreeze

Once you've cleaned the radiator and have fully drained it, you'll then need to refill the radiator to ensure that it's ready to go when you're prepared to drive again. You must fill up the radiator with a mixture of antifreeze and water. Generally, 3 parts antifreeze to 2 parts water is a good ratio to for the engine, but different cars may have slightly different requirements. Check in your vehicle owner's manual to be sure that you have included the right amount of antifreeze and water.