How to Flush the Radiator in a Dodge Caravan

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The radiator is an essential part of the coolant system in the Dodge Caravan. To keep that system in optimum working condition an owner should perform routine maintenance. Every other year, you should flush the radiator to clean out any debris that can clog the coolant system. To do this, an in-depth knowledge of auto mechanics isn't necessary, just follow some relatively easy directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Distilled water
  • Crescent wrench
  • Coolant
  • Bucket
  • Sealable container
  • Park the Dodge Caravan on a flat area. Make sure to set the parking brake before leaving the van.

  • Pop the hood of the Caravan and verify that the radiator is cool to the touch. If not, then allow the radiator to cool before you perform the flush. Opening the radiator when it's hot, or even warm, can release the pressure inside and spew burning coolant on anyone in the vicinity.

  • Turn the radiator cap one turn to relieve any pressure. Wait a few seconds and completely remove the cap from the radiator.

  • Position a 2-gallon bucket directly under the radiator plug, which should be on the driver's side at the bottom of the radiator on the Dodge Caravan.

  • Use a crescent wrench to remove the radiator drain plug or petcock valve, as some call it. Allow the existing coolant to drain completely into the bucket.

  • Pour the drained coolant into a sealable container and place the bucket back under the radiator plug. Dispose of the used, toxic coolant properly by taking it to a waste disposal station or local auto mechanics store.

  • Put the drain plug back into its original position and fill the radiator with distilled water. Open the drain plug to let the water run out of the radiator and repeat this process until there isn't any more debris in the radiator flush. You need to pour at least 3 gallons of water into the radiator each cycle.

  • Replace the drain plug in the bottom of the radiator. Use the crescent wrench to make sure the plug is on tight. However, be careful if any part of the plug is made out of plastic as is the case in some models of the Dodge Caravan, because the plastic can crack and cause a leak.

  • Fill the radiator with coolant to within an inch of the top lip. Without putting the radiator cap back on, start the van and allow it to run until the cooling fan comes on two separate times. Turn off the Dodge Caravan and check the coolant level. If the level retreated, put more coolant into the radiator until it is full again.

  • Put the radiator cap back on and close the hood.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, drive the van up onto risers to make the underside more accessible.
  • You may want to use Zerex G-05 coolant, which the manufacturer recommends for all Dodge vehicles.

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