How Often Should a Radiator Be Flushed?

December 19, 2017 9:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you pull into a garage for routine auto service and you’re told that your vehicle is due for a radiator flush, you might think you’re being upsold. It’s a common reaction, but it’s usually because you’re taken off guard. Do you know how frequently your car needs a radiator flush in Pendleton, OR? If not, an honest recommendation can come off as an upsell.

Instead of assuming you’re being marketed to, it’s a good idea to get some basic knowledge on your car and its radiator needs. You may, in fact, need a radiator flush if it’s due, but you’ll have no way of knowing unless you understand this procedure.

Understanding the Radiator

First, let’s consider the role your radiator plays in the overall function of your engine. It’s used to cool your engine down, pushing hot fluid from the engine block through a series of cooling tubes, then returning it to the engine to start the process all over again. Without the radiator, your engine can become dangerously hot, leading to overheating and engine failure.

Why Flush the Fluid?

The fluid running through your radiator needs to be flushed at specific intervals because of the intense conditions it’s subjected to. The constant heating and cooling causes chemical reactions at a molecular level, which break down the liquid and cause it to lose its properties. Fluid loss can also be a major problem, leaving behind buildups in the radiator that impede efficiency.

Ratios of coolant to water can also become diluted over time, causing your radiator to undergo stress and a lack of efficient function. All of this impacts your engine’s ability to cool down effectively.

When to Flush Your Radiator

Depending on your car, its age and your driving habits, a radiator flush in Pendleton, OR should be undertaken every other year—or, in newer cars, about every 40k to 60k miles. This is generally considered a preventative measure and can stop radiator troubles from cropping up in your otherwise healthy vehicle.

For older vehicles, radiator flushes may be an annual need depending on the car. If you’re someone who frequently experiences engine overheating, it’s worth having your radiator inspected for damage. If none is found, it might just be that your vehicle requires a high-functioning radiator to keep it cool. This can also happen in cars with engine replacements that have a higher capacity than the stock engine. A bigger engine means more cooling demand.

Not Always an Upsell

If a mechanic recommends a radiator flush in Pendleton, OR to you, ask yourself when the last time your car had one was. If you can’t remember, or if it’s been more than a year or two, it might be worth your while. If you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to ask why it’s being recommended to you! Most mechanics will be able to give you a specific reason as to why they think a radiator flush is a smart investment for you at this particular time.

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