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Cooling System Drain, Refill, and Bleeding

Instructions for draining, refilling and bleeding your cooling system (Radiator, Resevoir, coolant hoses)

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Tools Needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Large container or bucket to catch coolant with
  • Funnel
  • Small rubber hose (optional)


  • You should always wait until the engine and coolant are completely cool before opening any part of the cooling system.
  • Beware, even cool there can be pressure built up in the system.
  • Always keep coolant, used or new, in closed containers and away from small children and animals. All coolant, even "animal safe" varieties contain some poisonous chemicals.
  • Be sure to properly mix the coolant before pouring it into the cooling system.

    Draining The System

    1. Relieve pressure from the cooling system by unscrewing the cooling system lid 1/4 turn. When hissing stops, remove lid completely.

    2. Raise and support the front end of the car.

    3. Find the draincock. It's a plastic screw cap on the lower part of the radiator. It's on the back (facing the engine) and on the lower drivers' side corner, directly above one of the radiator mounts.

    4. (Optional) Attach hose to draincock outlet. This will minimize the mess that gets made when you open the valve.

    5. Place a pan or catch of some sort under the opening, and twist the draincock counter-clockwise until coolant pours freely from the opening. Coolant will also come out from the draincock threads, so place the container accordingly. Make sure hose (if attached) also routes into the catch container.

    5. Drain all coolant from the system. (wait until it stops flowing)
    6. Close the draincock.
    7. Lower the vehicle.

    Refilling/Bleeding The System

    1. Fill the reservoir a couple inches below the bottom fill neck
    2. Set the Climate control to Fan Speed 1, and the temp knob all the way to hot.
    3. Start the engine and let it run.
    4. Start filling the resevoir to the "Max" line. Watch the fluid level and keep filling it to "Max" as fluid enters the system. Listen for the fan to kick on. Make sure fluid is at max at this point.
    5. Fasten the lid back on the resevoir

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