How to Find an Engine Block Drain

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Many home mechanics go through the process of draining and refilling their engine coolant only to discover that it has not made a difference in the ability of their engine to maintain the correct operating temperature. The problem lies not in the task they are trying to perform but that they do not know where to find the engine block drains that have to be opened as part of the flushing process as well. Engine block drains allow you to drain coolant from the engine block, the petcock on the radiator will only allow you to drain the radiator and lines - if that is all you have drained then you have left the job half done.

Things You'll Need

  • Drain pan
  • Socket set
  • Paper clip
  • Place a drain pan under the petcock of the radiator located on the driver's side of the radiator at the bottom. Open the petcock and drain the coolant from the radiator and cooling lines of the engine. When the coolant is no longer flowing, close the petcock.

  • Locate the engine block drains on your vehicle. Your engine may have one drain or two, it will depend on the engine model and most likely will not be listed in the documentation included with your vehicle. You will have to look for the drains. The drains will be located, one on each side of the engine, in mirror locations. If you find one but cannot find the other when you go to the opposite side of the engine then your car only has one drain. The drain will be located on the rear of the block, near the bottom but not level with the oil pan. Typically they are located closer to the flywheel housing then the outside of the engine pan and will look like large bolts set into the block which are not holding anything in place.

  • Place a drain pan under the drain bolt and remove the blot with a socket wrench. Let the fluid drain until it is not running out of the block anymore. Straighten a paper clip and gently poke into the engine through the drain bolt hole to make sure that no sludge or debris has blocked the hole and prevented the rest of the coolant from draining. When you are certain that there is no more coolant to be drained, replace the engine block drain bolt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the radiator fill cap when draining the coolant from the engine block. This will relieve any trapped pressure inside the block and the coolant will flow out faster.
  • Engine coolant is highly toxic to humans, animals and the environment. Do not let it spill on the ground or let it get on your skin. Dispose of it properly.

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