How to Drain a Radiator for a 2003 Chevy Malibu


If you need to change the radiator in your Chevrolet Malibu or replace the coolant in the system, you need to drain the coolant from the radiator. The radiator on the Malibu includes an accessible drain plug for you to drain at home. Servicing your radiator at home can save you substantial cost compared to that of a service center’s repair bill. Dispose of the coolant properly. Most auto parts stores will accept containers of used coolant for recycling free of charge.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Large drain pan
  • Raise the hood of your Malibu. Make sure the engine is cool and remove the radiator cap. The cooling system is under high pressure when it is hot, so do not try to remove the cap if the engine is not cool.

  • Raise the front of the car with a jack and position a set of jack stands beneath the car, just behind the front tires. Remove the jack once the jack stands are secure.

  • Locate the radiator drain plug on the driver side of the radiator near the bottom. The drain plug is a small, white cylinder. Position a large drain pan beneath the radiator drain.

  • Turn the radiator drain plug counterclockwise ¼ turn by hand to loosen it. The plug will not come completely out of the radiator.

  • Wait while the radiator drains completely. Once the coolant has drained, tighten the drain plug by turning it by hand ¼ turn clockwise.

  • Raise the car slightly with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the car to the ground. Fill the radiator with coolant, replace the radiator cap and close the hood before driving the car.

Related Searches


  • "2003 Chevrolet Malibu Factory Service Manual"; General Motors Corporation; 2002
  • "Haynes Repair Manual, 1997 to 2003 Chevrolet Malibu"; Jay Storer; 2005
  • Photo Credit radiator humor image by John Sfondilias from
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