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How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways

The radiator is a car component that is installed in the engine compartment. 

It plays an important role in providing constant engine cooling to make sure that your engine works properly in a long time. 

But after daily use, the radiator gets unclean and needs cleaning to maintain good performance. 

In this article, we are honored to present to you simple and easy ways on how to clean a radiator.

How to clean a radiator


What is a cooling radiator?

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways


A cooling radiator is a metal heat exchanger filled with antifreeze inside. It is connected to rubber hoses which are attached to the respective engine collars.

The engine cooling process works on the following principle. 

The internal combustion engine is started to rotate the impeller of the water pump. 

Thanks to this, antifreeze begins to circulate in the system (in a small circle). 

When the temperature of the liquid reaches 80-90 degrees, the thermostat is activated and a large recirculation opens. 

This allows the engine to warm up more quickly to the desired temperature.


How does a cooling radiator work?

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways


Car engines work by igniting fuel in the cylinders. 

As a result, all parts become very hot. 

As the temperature of metallic elements increases, these elements expand. 

If they are not cooled, various problems in the electrical unit will be likely to happen, for example, cracks on the cylinder head or in the cooling jacket, deformation of the cylinder head, excessive thermal expansion of the cylinder head. pistons, etc. 

Ignoring such problems will lead to costly ICE repairs. And here the radiator comes as a savior. 

It provides cold air to the plane to cool down the temperature of metallic elements.

If there was no radiator in the design of the cooling system, the liquid in the system would quickly boil. 

In cars, this part is installed at the front of the engine compartment. So as a result, your engine may stop working as it has been highly heated.


How to clean a radiator with simple and easy ways

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways


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Many manufacturers suggest that you clean the outside of your car radiator at least once a year. 

You should also give your radiator a complete flush once every five years to improve the functionality of your vehicle’s cooling system.

To avoid damaging your radiator and potentially your engine, your choice of cleaning product is important. 

You should avoid using vinegar, because the acetic acid makes metal susceptible to rust. 

Additionally, bleach should never be used, because sodium hypochlorite (bleach) will corrode metals such as steel and aluminum. 

This can result in damage to the vehicle’s intake manifold, block, or engine head as well as degrading rubberized gaskets and seals.

After choosing the right cleaning product, here are simple tips on how to clean a radiator you can apply to maintain the long-lasting performance of your car’s radiator and subsequently your car’s engine.

+ The first thing you have to to is to clear the radiator fins

You should check your vehicle Owner’s Manual before starting the cleaning process. But in general, you may clear the radiator fins in the following order:

1. Dilute cleaner: In a large container, mix Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner and water at the ratio of 1 to 3 respectively.After that, add the solution to a dilution bottle with a spray nozzle.

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways

2. Apply Simple Green Pro HD solution:Spray the radiator with the Simple Green solution.

3. Remove foreign objects: Use a soft bristled brush to gently remove any little rocks, bugs or other items caught in the radiator fins. If the fins are bent, use a flathead screwdriver to gently bend them back into place.

4. Rinse: Use a low pressure hose or bucket of clean water to gently rinse the radiator from the back side. If water doesn’t run clear after rinsing, carry out the fin clearing process all over again.

5. Dry: If the water runs clear after rinsing, leave it there to air dry.

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways

+ The next step you should take is to clear the Radiator

Check your vehicle Owner’s Manual before flushing the radiator. 

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Make sure the radiator is cool to the touch before opening the radiator cap. After that, you do as follows:

1. Dilute cleaner. In a large container, mix the Simple Green Pro HD Heavy-Duty Cleaner and water at the ratio of 1 to 15, which is considered enough to fill your radiator. Most 4-cylinder vehicles have a capacity around one gallon.

2. Drain radiator. Place a drainage pan or other container beneath the drain cock opening on your radiator. Next, remove the fill cap from the top of the radiator. After that, use gloves or pliers to open the drain cock on the bottom of your car’s radiator and drain it. Then dispose of the fluid properly and replace the drain plug.

3. Add cleaner. Pour the cleaner slowly into the fill hole on the top of the radiator. Then, close the radiator cap and let the mixture remain in the radiator for 5 minutes.

4. Start engine. Turn on the vehicle and run the engine for 5-15 minutes to allow the cleaner to cycle through the engine. The motor needs to warm up to the operating temperature to allow the thermostat to open, and let coolant flow from the radiator to and through the motor and back.

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways

5. Drain cleaning solution. Turn off the engine and open the drain cock and allow the cleaning mixture to drain. Then replace the drain cock. Dispose of the used cleaner properly.

6. Rinse. Fill the radiator with water (if possible, use distilled, non-mineralized water). Turn on the engine and allow it to idle for five minutes. Then turn off the engine, open the drain cock again and allow the water to drain. Repeat the process until there is no foaming. Then replace the drain cock.

7. Add coolant. Add the recommended amount of coolant to the radiator. You can search the Internet to collect this information.

How to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways




That’s all that we want to present in this article on how to clean a radiator in simple and easy ways. 

We hope that this guide will be helpful to you. As a final remark, we just want to remind you that cleaning your car’s radiator is extremely important to make sure that your car runs smoothly for a long period of time. 

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The cleaning job doesn’t need to be done frequently, often once or twice a year so you should not ignore it. It’s good for your “buddy” and you too.




Can I pour water down my radiator to clean it?


Yes, you can. It’s simple and effective. However , it may not have the same effect as what we have mentioned above. 

To clean your radiator by pouring down water, you can mix it with soap or even your household cleaner to give a better performance. 

You can also receive better results if you use warm water. But remember that, you should drain the mixture after use to make sure that your radiator will not be damaged.


How do you tell if a radiator is clogged?


You can say that a clogged radiator is a “sick radiator” as it can’t perform as well as it does when it’s clear. 

Just like when we are sick, there would be some symptoms showing that a radiator is clogged. 

As far as we are concerned, there are five common signs. The first one is the leakage of coolant. 

The second one is the release of discoloured and thicker coolant. The third one is the damage to the water pump. 

The fourth one is the excessively high gauge temperature readings and the last one is blocked, bent or damaged radiator fins.


How often should a radiator be flushed?


The answer to this question depends on three factors. 

The first one is the material used to make your radiator, the second one is the age and type of your boiler and the last one is the hardness of your water. 

The recommended time to flush your radiator fluctuates according to these three factors. 

But as usual, there is always a general answer. According to experts, you should give your radiator a flush every 5-6 years.

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