The national cost for a coolant drain and fill with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $25 and $317 with an average of $59.

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HOW IT WORKS

What is a coolant drain and fill service?

Engine coolant, also referred to as “antifreeze”, is a fluid that serves to control the operating temperature of your engine. It does its job by flowing through passages inside the engine where it absorbs heat caused by combustion. The hot coolant is forced out of the engine by the water pump, through a rubber hose, and into tiny tubes inside the radiator. Air blowing through the radiator steals heat from the coolant before the liquid makes its way back to the engine to pick up more heat. A coolant drain and fill service removes the old fluid from the cooling system and replaces it with fresh coolant.

HOW IS THIS SERVICE PERFORMED?

How is a a Coolant Drain and Fill done?

To drain and fill the cooling system, a technician will first remove the radiator cap or or overflow tank cap to allow gravity to pull coolant from the system. Next, either a valve on the bottom of the radiator is opened or the lower radiator hose is disconnected to allow the old coolant to drain out. The used fluid is properly collected and disposed of according to environmental regulations. Next, the valve is closed or the hose is connected before the technician refills the system with a mixture of fresh coolant and water. This is often done with a special device that applies vacuum to the system to remove all of the air before the coolant is installed. (Air that becomes trapped can lead to engine overheating and serious damage).

Once the coolant has been refilled, and if a vacuum device was not used, the engine will be allowed to run for up to a half hour to purge the system of air. This process can be difficult on many modern engines. Finally, the system is topped off with fluid and closed up.



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POPULAR VEHICLES

National average cost of a a Coolant Drain and Fill
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost

$50

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COMMON SYMPTOMS

Signs that your coolant needs to be replaced

Since it is part of a routine maintenance schedule to replace the engine coolant periodically, your vehicle manufacturer will have a recommendation for how often the service should be performed. That recommendation is the first sign that the coolant needs to be replaced. However, there are other signs that it is time for a coolant drain and fill service, including:

Your engine is overheating

The coolant level drops due to fluid loss

You notice a sweet syrup smell inside or outside the vehicle

The vents produce no heat when the heater is turned on

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Other questions customers ask

What happens if you don't flush coolant?
Like the oil in your engine, coolant needs to be replaced periodically. If you do not replace the coolant, over time it will become acidic and cause problems in the cooling system. Corrosion and sludge can form and clog up passageways. Blocked coolant flow or deteriorated coolant can both lead to overheating and catastrophic engine damage. It is not always necessary to flush the coolant, but it does need to be replaced regularly.
Can I just drain and fill coolant?
Some mechanics insist that a coolant flush is more effective than simply draining and filling the cooling system. Others argue that a coolant flush is unnecessary. If your vehicle has a significant number of miles on it, or if you have neglected cooling system maintenance in the past, a coolant flush can help to remove harmful residue in a way that a drain and fill procedure cannot. Otherwise, draining and filling the coolant is sufficient. It should be noted that some manufacturers do not recommend flushing the coolant but rather drain and fill instead.
Can I do a coolant flush myself?
Adding engine coolant to top off the system when some fluid escapes can be done by most motorists, as long as the specific type of coolant is used. Some vehicle owners might be able to drain and refill the system or even perform a fluid flush using the engine’s water pump. Of course, a true fluid flush with a dedicated flush machine can only be done if you actually have the equipment. But in any case, extreme care must be taken when servicing the cooling system beyond a simple top-off. If air becomes trapped in the lines, overheating can occur. Many vehicles are prone to this problem. Therefore, it is best to have a trained mechanic perform the procedure.

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