Radiator Flush Comparison Guide: How to Choose a Radiator Flush

Read this beginners guide to learn how to choose the best radiator flush for your car. Find out which product is the best for your car. Read more here.

A Radiator Flush could prevent this car from overheating.

If you take your car for granted, it’ll most likely overheat.

When your car’s engine overheats, everything can and will go wrong. Do you know what stands between a functioning vehicle and complete engine failure? —the knowledge and execution of proper car maintenance.

Understanding how to maintain your car is essential to its functionality and lifespan. One of the most overlooked things by car owners is the cooling system. If you neglect your car’s cooling system, it will create a domino effect of failing parts. Primarily your engine.

A radiator flush is essential to avoid extensive and costly repairs in the future. You don’t have to be a mechanic to maintain your vehicle, you just have to keep reading!

Wondering About a Radiator Flush?

If you’re wondering whether you have to flush your radiator from time to time, the answer is yes. 

There are different kinds of flushing methods and different “cleaning” products to use while flushing. In any method, however, the principle is the same. To circulate “flush” debris and corrosion build up out of the engine and radiator.

A good radiator flush process involves adding a specific cleaner to your car’s cooling system. It helps to get rid of any rust or sediment that has built up over time. It is completely flushed through the entire cooling system along with the rest of the debris. Once everything is out, a new coolant mixture is added and possibly along with a conditioner for added protection from future leaking.

If you’re wondering whether you can get away with just a simple coolant change, the answer is no. Even with the best coolant mixture, the cooling system will still become dirty over time making it very important to flush the system before adding fresh new coolant.

Coolant is typically a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. Antifreeze is made up of ethylene glycol, lubricants, and corrosion inhibitors in general. It works to absorb the heat from your car’s engine. Once the heat is absorbed, it releases it through the radiator. Its purpose is to prevent your engine from overheating and to not turn to ice in cold weather.

The chemicals in antifreeze deteriorate over time. This weakens the protection of your engine from corrosion and overheating. It gets worse if you have dissolved solids or chlorine from the water in your cooling system as well. This is how you get sludge built up in your engine.

Once rust and sludge build up in your cooling system, it can cause serious and costly damage to your engine. This is why a coolant flush is recommended every 30,000 miles or five years—whichever comes first. (Always check with your car’s owner’s manual to be sure).

How Does a Coolant Flush Work?

A coolant flush done by a trustworthy mechanic will run you about $150, give or take. The entire process, however, is not too difficult to do on your own.

Either you or your mechanic will drain your radiator and engine block from all the old coolant. When the last of the old coolant is drained, a chemical cooling system cleaner is added to the cooling system along with water to fill it. 

Your car should for about 10-20 minutes to warm up. It must reach its optimal performance temperature to ensure that the cleaner cycles through the system. When it reaches the right temperature, the chemical cleaner and water are circulating under pressure to force loose all the gunk that may have collected in your hoses, engine, and radiator.

you then wait for the engine to cool before draining. After flushing, you will need to rinse at least two times or more. Refill with water and run the engine back up to temperature for 10 minutes or so and then let it cool again and drain. This is necessary because draining only removes about 50% to 60% of the solution from a typical cooling system So repeating the rinse helps to get all the loosened debris and remaining flush chemicals completely out.

Once all of the old coolant, dirt, rust, sludge, and other deposits have been cleaned out, the new coolant mixture can be added.

Pro Tip: When it comes to coolant, it’s best to buy the concentrated kind and dilute it yourself using distilled water! You can use an inexpensive tool from your local parts store called a hygrometer to check the quality of your mixture. Remember that a good portion of your rinse water remains in the engine after draining so you may need to adjust your 50/50 mix slightly to account for that.

How to Choose a Radiator Flush

The fluids that you use in your car are important factors in its performance and lifespan. Whether it be the grade of gasoline, type of engine oil, transmission fluid or coolant mixture, you want to use quality products. The same goes for the type of chemical cleaner and conditioner you choose to use for your radiator flush. 

You only have to do a radiator flush every so often, so you want to make each one count. There are many cleaners out there on the market. But, which type of cleaner to use is not a simple choice. They all say about the same thing on the bottle, that they are the best choice for cleaning your radiator or cooling system. But there is one that stands out.

Irontite Thoro-Flush coolant cleaner is arguably the most powerful cleaner on the market today. This industrial level brand is capable of cleaning clogged heater cores and cooling systems. It will even clean residue from your fuel tank—which is not something that most coolant cleaners can do and should only be done with the fuel tank removed.

In addition to the Thoro-Flush, Irontite also offers All Weather Seal and Ceramic Motor Seal. These are great to use post-radiator flush for maximum protection. Depending on what your concerns are, you only need to use All Weather Seal. It is an excellent choice for preventative leak protection.

If your concerns are porosity, cracks, or a head gasket leak, then Ceramic Motor Seal is the way to go. It will create a thin coat in your cooling system, filling in any porous surfaces and provide protection from oxidation. A smoother surface will provide for better coolant flow, allowing a better overall engine performance.

If your concerns are the head or intake gasket leaks, leaky seals, a leaky radiator, or future leaks, then the All Weather Sealis recommended. You can pour it right into your coolant mixture. It will remain dissolved and suspended within the coolant mixture to safeguard your engine’s cooling system from leaks continuously.

Of course, you can use all three products or just two of them, but it’s always a good idea to start with a flush of the radiator and cooling system first using Thoro-Flush!

Now You Put the Cool in Coolant

Now you know the importance of your coolant system and what type of cleaner and conditioner to use for your next scheduled radiator flush.  And you might even take on the task yourself and save a nice chunk of change.

For more information on Irontite, our products, and anything else you’d like to learn about proper car maintenance, come and check us out!