How to Flush the Radiator in a Nissan Altima

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In order to keep a Nissan Altima in top working condition, it's important to perform regular maintenance, including flushing of the radiator. Every other year a radiator flush is a must. While this task may seem complicated, you don't need any in-depth knowledge of auto mechanics, just an ability to follow a set of relatively easy directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Distilled water
  • Coolant
  • Gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Bucket
  • Sealable container
  • Park the Nissan Altima on a flat surface and set the parking brake. Next, open the hood and check the external temperature of the radiator. If the radiator is warm to the touch, wait for the radiator to cool before you continue.

  • Twist the radiator cap one turn to relieve any pressure. Step back from the radiator and allow a few seconds to pass, and then completely remove the radiator cap.

  • Place a bucket or tray with at least a 2-gallon capacity underneath the radiator and below the drain plug. The drain plug on a Nissan Altima is on the passenger side bottom of the radiator.

  • Loosen the drain plug and let the old coolant drain completely into the bucket. Take care while loosening the drain plug, because it's plastic and can be brittle. Pour the old coolant into a sealable container for proper disposal later and put the bucket back under the drain plug opening.

  • Close the drain plug and pour distilled water into the radiator until it's full. Then, open the drain plug and let the water flow into the bucket. Keep repeating this procedure until the water runs clear and debris free into the bucket. You will need at least 3 gallons of distilled water.

  • Make sure to tighten the drain plug and fill the radiator with fresh coolant. Refill the radiator to within an inch of it overflowing. Check the drain plug and hoses for any possible leaks.

  • Start the Nissan Altima and turn the heater to the high setting. Let it run for about 10 minutes and shut the engine off. Check the coolant level and refill, if necessary. Finally, put the radiator cap on and close the hood.

Tips & Warnings

  • You should wear work gloves and a long-sleeved shirt to keep your hands and arms clean and safe from injury.
  • Be very careful when working with coolant, because it's very toxic to people and animals.
  • Opening a radiator in any situation is dangerous, because it can erupt and burn anybody within the immediate area.

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