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How to Drain the Radiator on Honda Accord

by Jody L. Campbell

Draining the radiator on a Honda Accord is a fairly simple procedure. Whether you're replacing the radiator or if you simply want to swap out the fluid for fresh antifreeze, having a couple of tools can help you perform this task quickly and will save you money on labor charges.

How to Drain the Radiator on a Honda Accord

Park the vehicle on a flat, level, paved or concrete surface. Place the vehicle in park or in gear and apply the parking brake. If the car has been driven, allow for it to cool down. To ensure it is cool enough not to inflict injury, touch the upper radiator hose, or the radiator itself, with caution. If you can touch either one without feeling a great deal of heat, you can probably perform this task relatively safely. If not, allow more time to cool down.

Release the hood release lever from inside the vehicle.

Locate the hood lever at the front center of the hood, move to the right and lift the hood. Place the hood prop into the allocated hole on the underside of the hood unless hydraulic hood prop pistons are present.

Place a wheel chock behind one or both rear tires.

Lift the vehicle by one front quarter panel and place a jack stand under the front rocker panel with the obvious lift point extension protruding from it. This is located directly behind each front tire. Repeat the procedure on the opposite side.

Open the radiator cap slowly. Allow any pressure to purge out as you release the cap. Remove when you no longer hear pressurized air escaping.

Lay down underneath the front of the vehicle so you see the bottom of the radiator. Locate the drain radiator drain plug. This will be somewhere along the bottom rail of the radiator. Some older Accords had the plug on the left center--a few years later, it was placed on the right center. Wherever it is, it will be an obvious fixed plug that will resemble a wing-nut of sorts. Once you have found it, place the antifreeze drain bucket close by. You're probably going to have to loosen the plug first and you may need the pair of pliers to do so--but before you loosen it enough to purge the fluid, have the drain bucket handy to place underneath quickly and minimize any major spillage.

Loosen the plug and place the drain bucket in place. Most radiator plug are fixed and cannot be removed from the radiator. They loosen enough to allow the antifreeze to drain and then stay intact with the radiator so you shouldn't have to try to remove the plug altogether.

Allow the radiator to drain thoroughly. Retighten the plug when done. It is recommended to have the vehicle lowered and level on the ground before adding antifreeze. Replace the radiator cap, release the parking brake and remove the wheel chock(s) when done.

Tip

  • Find out what type of antifreeze is recommended for the vehicle. Drain spent or old antifreeze back into the empty containers of the new antifreeze, with an "X" to indicate it's spent fluid. Check with your local dump for regulations on how to discard old petroleum-based fluids.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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