How to Change the Coolant in Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Ford car is a dependable off road vehicle that can deliver kids to soccer just as well as it can tackle a slippery mountain road. One crucial part of your Ford car engine is the cooling system, and unfortunately sometimes this system gets gummed up and needs cleaned. The easiest and fastest way to give your cooling system a "wake up call" is to change the coolant. Changing the coolant is an easy job with the proper tools and a bit of knowledge.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Coolant in a Ford Expedition

Position the catch pan under the radiator. Remove the radiator cap.

Cut the inbound heater hose in half roughly one foot from the firewall and install the flush tee per the directions on the flush tee packaging.

Attach the garden hose to the flush tee per the directions on the flush tee kit packaging. Install the diverter spout included in the flush tee kit into the radiator inlet per the kit’s directions.

Turn the water on and start the engine. Run the engine with the heater on full blast until clear water comes out of the diverter spout. This should take less than 10 minutes.

Shut the engine off and carefully remove the diverter spout. Remove the garden hose and put the cap on the flush tee.

Loosen the radiator drain petcock, located at the bottom of the radiator, using the pliers. Use caution so you do not snap the petcock off the radiator. Allow the water to drain out into the catch pan.

Close the petcock and fill the radiator with equal parts coolant and water. Use the proper coolant for your Expedition. Do not mix green coolant with any form of extended life coolant and it is best not to change one for the other.

Run the engine again for several minutes then shut it off. Allow the engine to cool and remove the radiator cap. Top off the coolant with a 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water.

Items you will need

  • Catch pan

  • Hose cutter

  • Flush tee kit

  • Garden hose connected to water source

  • Pliers

  • 2 gallons of coolant

  • 2 gallons of distilled water

 How to Change Coolant in a Ford F150

Locate the drain valve on the bottom of your Ford F150's radiator. Place a drain pan underneath the drain valve. Take the radiator cap off of the top of the radiator, and remove the cap from the top of the overflow tank located over the front passenger side wheel well.

Open the drain valve on the bottom of the radiator with a 19 mm open-end wrench, and allow the coolant to completely drain out of the radiator. When the coolant is completely drained, pour the expelled coolant into a large plastic container. Use a funnel to help you get the coolant into the container.

Place the drain pan under the drain valve. Put the end of a garden hose that is attached to a water source into the top of the radiator. Turn the water on and allow it to run through the radiator and drain into the drain pan. Turn the water off when the pan is full, and pour the drained water into your large plastic container. Repeat this process until you see clear water draining from the bottom of the radiator.

Turn off the water, and close the drain valve with the open-end wrench. Pour a bottle of radiator flush into the radiator, and fill the radiator up with water. Place the cap back on the radiator and on the overflow tank.

Turn the Ford F150 engine on. Allow it to run for about 15 minutes to warm up the motor and to let the radiator flush remove any debris on the inside of the motor and radiator. Shut the engine off and allow it to cool down for about 10 minutes.

Take the cap off of the radiator, and repeat Step 3 until you see clear water running from the bottom of the radiator. Close the drain valve, and remove the drain pan from the bottom of the vehicle.

Open the cap on the overflow tank, and pour in the new coolant until it reaches the halfway level. Place the cap back on the overflow tank. Pour the rest of the ready-to-use coolant into the top of the radiator. Fill the radiator with water from the garden hose until it reaches the top of the tank. Place the radiator cap back on the the radiator.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • 19 mm open-end wrench

  • 2 large empty plastic containers

  • Funnel

  • Garden hose attached to water source

  • Radiator flush

  • Ready-to-use coolant

 How to Change Coolant in a Ford Contour

Park the car in a safe place and make sure you have enough space at the front of the vehicle for you to work and move around.

Open the hood, make sure the engine is cold and remove the coolant reservoir tank cap located on the front right-hand side (passenger side) of the engine compartment.

Raise the front of the car using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands.

Remove the splash shield from underside the radiator area of the vehicle using a T25 Torx driver or socket bit and a ratchet.

Locate the radiator plug on the lower right-hand side (passenger side) of the radiator, just bellow the lower hose. Place a drain pan directly underneath the drain plug and open the plug.

Close the drain plug once you have drained the coolant completely and remove the drain pan from underneath the car.

Replace the splash shield and lower the vehicle.

Mix 50 percent of water and 50 percent antifreeze using a clean container. Refill the cooling system through the reservoir tank until it reaches the MAX line mark on the side of the reservoir tank.

Start the engine and let it reach operating temperature. Once the thermostat opens and the coolant mixture begins to circulate, add more water and antifreeze mixture until it reaches the MAX line mark as you did on step 8.

Check for leaks, turn off the engine and replace the cap on the coolant reservoir tank.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack and 2 jack stands T25 Torx driver Drain pan Antifreeze or coolant

 How to Change the Coolant in a Ford Taurus

Cool the engine. Make sure your Taurus has been sitting for at least an hour, as you should never change the coolant in a hot or warm engine.

Drain the old coolant into a drain pan. You can purchase a drain pan for auto fluids at your local auto-parts store. Remove the radiator cap and open the lid on the coolant overflow tank. Then remove the plug at the bottom of the radiator and let the used coolant run into the bucket. After the coolant has completely emptied, transfer the old coolant from the drain pan into the five-gallon bucket.

Flush the cooling system. You should flush the radiator with water from a garden hose until the water runs clear. Catch the water in the drain pan and transfer it into the five-gallon bucket as needed.

Fill the cooling system with new coolant. Replace the plug on the bottom of the radiator and pour fresh coolant into the opening on top of the radiator, making sure not to fill past the markings on the radiator. Make sure to fill the overflow tank to the fill line as well. After you have filled the cooling system with fresh coolant, replace the caps on the radiator and overflow tank.

Recycle the old coolant. You can recycle used engine coolant free of charge at your local auto-parts store. Do not dump the used coolant on the ground or in waterways, as this contaminates the water.

Items you will need

  • Auto Fluid Drain Pan Five-gallon Bucket with lid Garden Hose New Coolant Shop Towels or Old Rags

 How to Change the Coolant in a 2004 Ford F150

Open the hood. Place a drain pan under the drain valve on the passenger’s side of the radiator. Remove the cap on the white plastic coolant recovery tank on top of the engine by twisting it off in a counterclockwise direction. Open the drain valve by twisting it off with a 19-mm wrench in a counterclockwise direction, allowing the coolant to drain into the drain pan.

Replace the radiator drain valve and tighten with a 19-mm wrench in a clockwise direction once the radiator has completely drained. Move the drain pan to the rear of the engine and crawl underneath the front of your truck.

Locate the engine block coolant drain plugs on each side of the block approximately one inch above the top of the oil pan. Remove the plugs one at a time with a 17-mm wrench turned in a counterclockwise direction. Replace the plug once the coolant has drained and remove the plug on the other side of the engine in the same fashion. Tighten the plugs with a 17-mm wrench in a clockwise direction and remove the drain pan from under the truck.

Add a 50/50 mix of ethylene-based low silicate coolant and distilled water to the white plastic coolant recovery tank until the full mark is reached. Twist the cap onto the tank in a clockwise direction until it clicks. Start the engine and let it warm up completely. Let the engine cool off and check the level of coolant in the recovery tank. Remove the cap and add a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water if the level is below the full mark.

Repeat the above step as many times as necessary to purge air from the system. The system is fully purged when the coolant level stays at the full mark after the engine has been warmed up. Close the hood when finished.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • 19-mm wrench

  • 17-mm wrench

  • 2 gallons coolant

  • 2 gallons distilled water

 How to Change the Coolant in a Ford Escape

Crawl under the front of the Escape and locate the drain plug on the passenger side of the bottom of the radiator. Use the socket set to unscrew the drain plug and allow the coolant to drain into the catch container.

Pop the hood and unscrew the cap to the radiator. Put the nozzle of a hose in the radiator and begin spraying water into the coolant system. Do this until all of the coolant has been flushed out of the system.

Screw the drain plug back into the bottom of the radiator and then pour a 50/50 mixture of radiator fluid to water into the radiator. Turn the car on and then continue to fill the radiator until the "full" mark is reached in the white overflow reservoir situated behind the radiator.

Items you will need

  • Coolant catch container

  • Socket wrench set

About the Author

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