How to Clean a Car Radiator| Useful Guide for Car Enthusiasts

A car radiator needs cleaning when it shows signs of overheating. Sometimes, cabin heating is also not proper which is another indication of the same problem. Generally, very few people know how to get rid of this problem. For your easy learning, we are sharing some simple steps about how to clean a car radiator with you. Besides, for getting better performance, you should purchase the best car radiator during replacing.

Steps for Car Radiator Cleaning

  1. Radiator Fins Cleaning

Before you start the radiator cleaning process, try to go through the manual of instructions. Maintenance should be done according to the directions given in it. Also, be sure of the fact that the radiator is cold when you touch it. Here are a few steps to do the fins cleaning:

  • Take the radiator cleaner and dilute it with water. It should be in the 1:3 ratio with 1 part of a cleaner and 3 parts of water. After this, transfer this diluted solution into a clean bottle. This bottle should have a nozzle.
  • Now spray the cleaning solution onto the radiator. Thoroughly cover the whole part with the spray. 
  • Take a brush with tough bristles. It will help you remove stubborn dust and debris in the radiator fins. There is a possibility of entrapped bugs, so you can unclog the radiator by removing them. 
  • Sometimes, the radiator fins are bent or curved; in this case, you can use a flathead screwdriver. This simple device will help you bring the fins back into their original position.
  • Bring a bucker of clean water, and start rinsing water gently over the radiator. You must do this from the backside of it. Observe the color of the water that comes out after rinsing. If it is clear, then good and otherwise, you have to repeat the whole process 2 to 3 times.
  • In the last step, you have to leave the radiator fins for drying.
  1. Radiator Flushing

Again, you have to go through the owner’s manual about before radiator flushing. Make sure the radiator is cool to touch. Only after confirmation, you can open the cap. Now follow the following steps:

  • Use 1:15 for radiator flushing. This means that 1 part of the radiator flush solution and 15 parts of water will be used. Make sure that your radiator is filled with it. In case your vehicle has four cylinders, then make sure you prepare a one-gallon solution.
  • Use a drainage pan to place below the drainage cock. Now take out the cap, and open the drainage cock. This will remove all the liquid that you have to dispose of properly. 
  • Add the solution inside a radiator, place the cap at the top, and allow it to settle there for at least 5 minutes.
  • Now start the car, and allow the engine to run for 15 minutes. It will help the solution run through the whole engine. To open the thermostat, the motor needs optimum temperature. This will help the coolant flow freely through the radiator and engine parts.
  • At this stage, open the drain cock, and allow the solution to drain off. Replace it with a new cock.
  • Add the coolant as recommended in the manual book.
  1. Radiator Flushing Schedule

It is recommended that only the manual schedule should be your guide for this. However, as practiced by most of the users, a vehicle needs flushing after every two years or when the car covers around 50 thousand miles. According to them, the conventional green coloured coolant is the best for this purpose.

Some people have another recommendation too, and that is related to the use of organic acid technology. The use of these coolants has one big advantage that they do not require frequent change. You can flush after five years or when the vehicle completes 150 thousand miles. 

One more time, we would like to mention that only the vehicle manufacturer’s services and recommendations are best to follow. They can explain everything that you have to care about, when to do the flushing, with how much coolant, which type of coolant, etc. Never go for any pieces of advice given by random people. You can end up damaging your vehicle with a small carelessness, and it can cost you more than you can bear to lose. 

How to maintain radiator condition after cleaning?

After the radiator cleaning, no one would like to waste all the energy, time, and effort spent on it. To get the best performance from your radiator, you can follow the given tips:

  1. Keep the Radiator Filled

Try to always keep the radiator filled with coolant mixture. You have to use a 50:50 proportion of solvent and water. Make sure that it is in the right ratio. To help yourself, get the ready-made solution from a reputed automobile shop nearby you.

  1. Secure Radiator Cap

A secure radiator cap is another way of maintaining the radiator performance. This will allow proper pressure to build-up that ensures no leakage, blocking, and spilling. Moreover, dust and debris cannot enter, thus helps in keeping it all neat and clean.

  1. Plan Flush, and Oil Change

Flushing and oil changing activity should be done at the same time. This will help you maintain the radiator cleanliness. Many times, we change the oil but it gets dirty immediately as it enters the system because the radiator is not clean. So, try to plan them at the same time.


Although the process of how to clean a car radiator is simple, many people find it daunting because they don’t know anything about it. Also, it is not easy to understand and trust the tips from strangers. This is why we recommend you to follow the manual. The steps are the same as explained above, and they will help you understand the manual instruction in a much better way. 

Author: Brandon Park