How Do I Flush the Radiator in My Dodge Carsby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
The Dodge car is a dependable and fuel-efficient vehicle that normally does not require a large amount of hands-on maintenance. However, over time your Dodge car radiator can corrode and release small particles of rust into your cooling fluid. These small particles can have a big impact, eventually causing damage to the internal parts of your engine. Luckily a simple radiator flush will take care of most of this corrosion and can assist in warding off any damage to your engine.
Under The Hood:
- How Do I Flush the Radiator in My Dodge Stratus?
- How to Flush the Radiator in a Dodge Intrepid
- How to Flush the Radiator in a Dodge Caravan
- How to Flush the Radiator in a Dodge Ram
- How to Flush the Radiator in a Dodge Durango
Drain the Old Fluid
The first step to flushing a radiator is to drain the old radiator fluid. Crawl under the car and locate the radiator drain plug on the passenger side of the vehicle at the base of the radiator. Place a catch pan underneath the drain plug and then use a crescent wrench to unscrew the plug and allow the coolant to drain out into the catch pan. Uncap the radiator to allow the coolant to drain faster and more thoroughly.
Flush the Radiator
Flush the radiator out next as this will assist in dislodging any accumulated rust particles and freeing them from the system. Insert a plain garden hose into the radiator fill nozzle and turn it on full blast. The water will fill the radiator and then begin coming out the bottom drain hole. Allow water to run through the system for at a minimum of one to two minutes. When the water flowing out of the bottom of the radiator no longer is turning a different color (brownish/green), remove the hose and reinstall the drain cap.
Fill the Radiator
The final step is to fill the radiator with new coolant solution. First, mix a few gallons of 50/50 radiator fluid to water solution. Pour as much as possible into the radiator cap. Fill the radiator and reservoir to within an inch of the cap. Turn the car on and allow the fluid to be pulled into the coolant system. Continue filling the radiator until the fluid no longer disappears from sight and then top off your reservoir tank to the indicated line.
Park the Dodge Intrepid on a level surface and set the parking brake. Be sure that the underneath of the car is easily accessible.
Open the hood of the Dodge Intrepid and touch the radiator to verify its temperature. If it's hot or even warm, allow it to cool down before you attempt to open the radiator.
Turn the radiator cap one turn and step back. Wait a few seconds and then finish removing the radiator cap.
Place a drain container underneath the radiator directly below the drain plug or petcock valve. This container will need to have at least a two-gallon capacity to prevent overflow from the flush.
Remove the radiator plug from the underside of the Dodge Intrepid's radiator and allow the coolant to drain into the container. Once it finishes draining, pour the old coolant into a sealable container for proper disposal.
Shut the drain plug and pour distilled water into the radiator until it is full. Open the drain plug and allow the distilled water to drain into the bucket. Repeat this process until the water is free of any debris when it exits the radiator drain plug.
Replace the drain plug back into its original position and dispose of the radiator flush. You may need to use a crescent wrench to replace the drain plug to ensure it is securely in place and that there is no leakage.
Pour fresh coolant into the radiator. You will need about 10 quarts to fill the radiator in a Dodge Intrepid. Make sure to add coolant until it is within an inch of the top lip of the radiator.
Start the car with the radiator cap off and allow the Dodge Intrepid to run until the cooling fan turns on twice. Then check the coolant level and add more if necessary. Finally, put the radiator cap back on and close the hood.
Items you will need
Park the Dodge Caravan on a flat area. Make sure to set the parking brake before leaving the van.
Pop the hood of the Caravan and verify that the radiator is cool to the touch. If not, then allow the radiator to cool before you perform the flush. Opening the radiator when it's hot, or even warm, can release the pressure inside and spew burning coolant on anyone in the vicinity.
Turn the radiator cap one turn to relieve any pressure. Wait a few seconds and completely remove the cap from the radiator.
Position a 2-gallon bucket directly under the radiator plug, which should be on the driver's side at the bottom of the radiator on the Dodge Caravan.
Use a crescent wrench to remove the radiator drain plug or petcock valve, as some call it. Allow the existing coolant to drain completely into the bucket.
Pour the drained coolant into a sealable container and place the bucket back under the radiator plug. Dispose of the used, toxic coolant properly by taking it to a waste disposal station or local auto mechanics store.
Put the drain plug back into its original position and fill the radiator with distilled water. Open the drain plug to let the water run out of the radiator and repeat this process until there isn't any more debris in the radiator flush. You need to pour at least 3 gallons of water into the radiator each cycle.
Replace the drain plug in the bottom of the radiator. Use the crescent wrench to make sure the plug is on tight. However, be careful if any part of the plug is made out of plastic as is the case in some models of the Dodge Caravan, because the plastic can crack and cause a leak.
Fill the radiator with coolant to within an inch of the top lip. Without putting the radiator cap back on, start the van and allow it to run until the cooling fan comes on two separate times. Turn off the Dodge Caravan and check the coolant level. If the level retreated, put more coolant into the radiator until it is full again.
Put the radiator cap back on and close the hood.
Items you will need
Move the Dodge Ram to a level surface to make flushing the radiator easier. Be sure to set the parking brake before beginning any work on the truck.
Open the hood of the truck and feel the outer temperature of the radiator. Wait until the radiator is cool to the touch before you remove the cap.
Remove the radiator cap once it's cool to the touch. Twist the cap one full turn to relieve any leftover pressure, wait a few seconds and then fully remove the radiator cap.
Position a bucket or tray directly underneath the radiator drain on the underside of the radiator. The drain plug should be on the driver's side on a Dodge Ram. Once in position, use a crescent wrench to remove the drain plug. Allow all of the existing coolant to drain from the radiator.
Take the drained coolant and pour it into a sealable container for proper disposal. Coolant is extremely toxic to people and pets. Take the old coolant to a toxic disposal company or your local auto store.
Close the drain plug and pour distilled water into the radiator. Then, open the drain plug and let the water drain back out. Repeat this procedure of filling and draining the radiator until it runs debris-free out the drain plug. It will take approximately 3 gallons of distilled water to complete the flush.
Replace the drain plug on the underneath of the radiator. Then fill the radiator with coolant to within 1 inch of the top lip of the radiator.
Leave the radiator cap off and start the truck. Allow the Dodge Ram to run until the cooling fan turns on two separate times.
Turn off the engine and recheck the radiator level. If fluid level went down, add more coolant to the radiator. In all, you will need approximately 5 gallons of coolant for the Dodge Ram radiator.
Put the cap back on the radiator, clean up debris and close the hood of the Dodge Ram.
Items you will need
Five gallons of coolant
Park the Dodge Durango on a level surface and set the parking brake. If available, you should elevate the front of the truck on risers to make the underside more accessible.
Open the hood and touch the radiator. If the radiator is still warm, allow it to cool off before attempting to open it. Opening the radiator while hot can cause the pressurized coolant inside to erupt and severely burn anyone in the vicinity.
Take the radiator cap off once it's cool to the touch. You may want to wear waterproof gloves and a long sleeved shirt to protect your skin. Be sure to place the cap where you won't lose it during the flushing process.
Position a pan or bucket directly beneath the radiator plug on the underside of the radiator. This container should have a capacity of at least 2 gallons.
Remove the radiator plug or petcock valve from the underside of the Dodge Durango's radiator. You may need to use a wrench to unscrew the drain.
Allow all the existing coolant to drain into the bucket or pan. Once finished, put the old coolant into a sealable container for proper disposal. This substance is very toxic to humans and pets and you shouldn't drain or dispose of it in an open area. Instead, take the coolant to a liquid waste disposal site or a local auto repair shop.
Close the radiator drain plug and pour distilled water into it to begin the flush. Reopen the plug to drain the water and repeat this process until the water runs debris free into the bucket. You need approximately 3 gallons of distilled water for the flushing. Be sure to place the bucket back underneath the radiator each time you pour the distilled into the radiator. Dispose of this liquid in the same manner as the old coolant.
Put the radiator plug back into place on the bottom the radiator and fill the radiator with fresh coolant within an inch of the top of the radiator opening.
Turn on the Dodge Durango and allow it to run until the cooling fan turns on twice. Then, check the fluid level in the radiator and add some more if the level retreated below one-inch of the radiator lip. Securely replace the radiator cap and close the hood.
Items you will need
Drain tray or bucket