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How to Replace the Coolant Recovery Tank in a Oldsmobile Alero

by Contributor

To keep your Oldsmobile Alero operating at its optimum level, you may need to replace some parts that break down and malfunction, including the coolant recovery tank. A leaking coolant recovery tank, also known as a coolant overflow bottle, will cause your Alero to overheat and ultimately fail. This is a pretty basic repair.

Step 1

Place a bucket underneath the radiator drain plug. On the Oldsmobile Alero, the plug is usually on the bottom passenger side of the radiator. You may have to jack up the car to better access this plug.

Step 2

Open the radiator drain plug and let the coolant empty into the bucket. However, make sure the radiator is cool to the touch before you open the drain. Never open a radiator that's hot, because it can erupt and burn anyone in the area. Once complete, pour the coolant into a sealable container for proper disposal.

Step 3

Use a socket wrench and remove the nuts that hold the coolant recovery tank in place. Be sure to put the nuts in a safe place, so you won't lose them.

Step 4

Use a pair of hose clamp pliers to loosen the clamps. Then, slide the clamps up the hose and out of the way. Next, disconnect the hoses from the coolant recovery tank.

Step 5

Remove the old coolant tank and replace it with a new one. The replacement tank connectors should slide right over the bolts, even if it's a redesigned tank.

Step 6

Put the nuts on the bolts and use the socket wrench to tighten them into position. Apply pressure on the recovery tank to verify the tank's installation is secure.

Step 7

Reattach the hose to the recovery tank. Then, move the clamps up and tighten them with the pliers. Pull on the attached hose to make sure it's not loose.

Close the drain plug and refill the radiator with new coolant. Next, start the engine with the heater set to high. Turn off the engine and check for leaks. Close the hood, dispose of the defective coolant recovery tank and clean up any mess.


  • Some replacement coolant overflow bottles require you to reuse the original cap, so don't dispose of any pieces until you know if you need them.
  • Many replacement coolant overflow containers were redesigned and strengthened to remedy vulnerable areas that often crack, break or otherwise fail.


  • Be extremely careful when working with coolant as it's toxic people and animals.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Sealable container
  • Socket wrench
  • Hose clamp pliers
  • Coolant recovery tank
  • Coolant

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