Changing Your Antifreeze


Each make and model of car is different so it is important to locate all parts in the manual and determine their exact location before starting. Some vehicles also require special tools. Make sure your repair manual does not mention any special tools before you start.

What You Will Need:

Old rag

How to Do it

Changing your antifreeze is a fairly simple job. Before you start, make sure you have enough new antifreeze and that you have read the directions. Some antifreeze should be diluted with water, and other antifreeze is already pre-diluted.

Make sure your engine is completely cool. Changing hot antifreeze can be very dangerous. Look under the front of your car, right behind the bumper. You will see a flat metal piece with corrugated metal on the outside. This is your radiator. (For those who didn’t know.) Underneath your radiator is a plug. Ensure that you have a chemical recycle bucket under the plug before you pull it.

It is considered a criminal offense and hazardous to drain antifreeze on the ground. It can and will result in prison time and or a fine. It can kill animals and humans even in small doses. Draining it on the ground can cause ground water contamination! It has a very sweet smell and taste that can lure dogs and children.

Once you pull the plug, stay near your car and monitor it while it drains, so that children and pets are not tempted to ingest or touch it. Once the antifreeze has drained completely, place the cork back in the radiator. Seal the recycling container and place it where children and pets cannot get to it until you can turn it in.

Remove the cap from the radiator and pour in a few inches and check for leaks at the bottom of the radiator. If there is a leak, stop and adjust the cork. Clean up any spill according to manufacturer’s directions. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that it is properly mixed. Once the antifreeze reaches the fill line, start your car. You will see some bubbling in the radiator. Turn off your engine and top off your fluid. Replace cap.

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