How to Change the Coolant in a Dodge RAM

by Teri Olcott

Changing the coolant in your Dodge Ram is an easy maintenance task that can keep your engine in top operating condition. Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is designed to keep the water in your radiator from freezing during cold weather and boiling during hot weather. Coolant comes premixed in a one-gallon container, and it can be purchased in any department or automotive store. Due to the size of a Dodge Ram's radiator, it will take five gallons of coolant to refill the radiator. You should change your coolant every two years.

Drain the Radiator

Park your Dodge Ram on a level surface and set the parking brake.

Open the hood and make sure the radiator is cool. If the radiator is hot, wait until it cools before removing the cap.

Push down and turn the radiator cap a half turn to relieve any remaining pressure, wait a few seconds and remove the cap.

Place a five-gallon drain pan directly underneath the radiator drain valve on the bottom of the radiator. The drain valve is on the driver's side. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the drain valve. Allow all of the coolant to drain from the radiator.

Pour the drained coolant into sealable containers for proper disposal. Coolant is extremely toxic to people and pets. Do not leave coolant in an uncovered drain pan.

Place the drain pan back under the drain valve. Tighten the drain valve and pour distilled water into the radiator. Open the drain valve and let the water drain out. Fill and drain the radiator until clear water runs out of the drain valve. It will take approximately three gallons of distilled water to flush debris from the radiator.

Fill the Radiator

Tighten the drain valve. Remove the drain pan from under the radiator. Because the distilled water may have coolant in it, dispose of it as you would full-strength coolant.

Fill the radiator with new coolant to within one inch of the top of the radiator.

Leave the radiator cap off and start the truck. Allow the engine to run for several minutes.

Turn off the engine and check the coolant level in the radiator. If fluid level has gone down, add more coolant to the radiator. It should take approximately five gallons of coolant to fill the radiator of the Dodge Ram.

Put the cap back on the radiator and close the hood.

Tips

  • check Do not use tap water as an alternative to distilled water, as it can cause sediment to remain in the radiator after flushing.
  • check You may want to use Zerex G-05 coolant, which is recommended by the manufacturer for all Dodge vehicles.

Warnings

  • close Be careful any time you have to remove the cap from a hot radiator, as the pressurized coolant inside can spray out and burn anyone in the vicinity.
  • close Never pour drained coolant into a gutter or sewer system.

Items you will need

About the Author

Residing in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, Teri Olcott began her writing career in 1992 as a small-town newspaper reporter. In 1998, Olcott entered the technical writing field. Her articles have appeared in “Radiant Press” magazine and “Epoch” magazine. Olcott holds an Associate of Science in radiologic technology from SUNY Binghamton.