The cooling system should be inspected, flushed and refilled with fresh coolant at least every 30,000 miles (48,000 km) or 24 months. If the coolant is left in the system too long, it loses its ability to prevent rust and corrosion.
When the coolant is being replaced, use a good quality antifreeze that is safe to be used with aluminum cooling system components. The ratio of antifreeze to water should always be a 50/50 mixture. This ratio will ensure the proper balance of cooling ability, corrosion protection and antifreeze protection. At this ratio, the antifreeze protection should be good to -6°F (-37°C). If greater antifreeze protection is needed, the ratio should not exceed 70% antifreeze to 30% water.
See Figures 1, 2 and 3
When checking the coolant level, the radiator cap need not be removed. Simply check the coolant level in the recovery bottle or surge tank.
Check the coolant level in the recovery tank, usually mounted near the firewall, to the right of the passenger side strut tower. The coolant recovery tank level should be between the ADD and FULL marks on the side of the recovery tank, when the engine is at normal operating temperature. Only add coolant to the recovery tank as necessary to bring the system up to a proper level.
Checking the Radiator Cap Seal
See Figure 4
While you are checking the coolant level, check the radiator cap for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost and the engine will overheat.
Worn caps should be replaced with a new one.
See Figure 5
Periodically clean any debris; leaves, paper, insects, etc. from the radiator fins. Pick the large pieces off by hand. The smaller pieces can be washed away with water pressure from a hose.
Carefully straighten any bent radiator fins with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful, the fins are very soft. Don't wiggle the fins back and forth too much. Straighten them once and try not move them again.
DRAIN & REFILL
See Figures 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11
- Make sure the engine is cool and the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
- Remove the recovery tank cap.
- Place a fluid catch pan under the radiator. Turn the radiator draincock counterclockwise to open, then allow the coolant to drain. The coolant should drain out of the recovery tank first.
- Remove the radiator cap by performing the following:
- If equipped, remove the engine block drain plug.
- Allow the coolant to drain completely from the vehicle.
- Close the radiator drain valve, then reinstall any block drains which were removed.
When filling the cooling system, be careful not to spill any coolant on the drive belts or alternator.
- Using a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and clean water, fill the radiator to the bottom of the filler neck and the coolant tank to the FULL mark.
- Install the radiator cap, then place the cap back on the recovery bottle or surge tank.
- Start the engine. Select heat on the climate control panel and turn the temperature valve to full warm. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature. Check to make sure there is hot air flowing from the floor ducts.
- Check the fluid level in the recovery tank and add as necessary.
FLUSHING & CLEANING
- Refer to the drain and refill procedure in this section, then drain the cooling system.
- Close the drain valve.
A flushing solution may be used. Ensure it is safe for use with aluminum cooling system components. Follow the directions on the container.
- If using a flushing solution, remove the thermostat. Reinstall the thermostat housing.
- Add sufficient water to fill the system.
- Start the engine and run for a few minutes. Drain the system.
- If using a flushing solution, disconnect the heater hose that connects the cylinder head to the heater core (that end of the hose will clamp to a fitting on the firewall. Connect a water hose to the end of the heater hose that runs to the cylinder head and run water into the system until it begins to flow out of the top of the radiator.
- Allow the water to flow out of the radiator until it is clear.
- Reconnect the heater hose.
- Drain the cooling system.
- Reinstall the thermostat.
- Empty the coolant reservoir or surge tank and flush it.
- Fill the cooling system, using the correct ratio of antifreeze and water, to the bottom of the filler neck. Fill the reservoir or surge tank to the FULL mark.
- Install the radiator cap, making sure that the arrows align with the overflow tube.