Flushing the radiator is a commonly neglected step during normal vehicle maintenance. Vehicle service manuals vary on when the radiator is to be flushed, so it's important to review your vehicle maintenance manual to determine the correct intervals. The bottom of your vehicle's radiator is where the majority of rust, grime and calcium deposits will build up. These contaminants can clog the honeycomb-shaped water chambers and lead to engine overheating. Performing a radiator flush on your 1996 Ford Mustang GT will remove the majority of these contaminants.
Things You'll Need
- 11-ounce radiator cleaner or flush
- Catch pan recycling container
- 5-gallon bucket
- Car ramps, 2
- Wheel chocks, 2
Drain the Radiator
Locate a level surface to perform the job and carefully drive the Mustang up onto car ramps. Set the parking brake and brace the rear wheels with wheel chocks as an added safety measure.
Put on your safety glasses, raise the hood and remove the radiator fill cap to relieve the pressure from the cooling system. Slide the catch pan recycling container directly underneath the radiator drain plug, located on the bottom of the radiator.
Remove the drain plug by turning it counterclockwise using a socket wrench. Drain the entire radiator of antifreeze and move the recycling container aside.
Flush and Refill the Radiator
Plug the radiator drain and pour in the radiator flush. Fill the radiator halfway with water using your garden hose. Start the engine and allow it to idle for 2 minutes, then turn the engine off. Allow the engine to briefly cool before continuing to the next step.
Once cooled, place the 5-gallon bucket underneath the drain plug, open the plug and release the water. Pour this flushed water into the recycling container and close it securely. This removes the contaminated fluids from the radiator.
Place the water hose into the radiator fill opening, turn on the water and allow it to flush for 3 minutes. This water shouldn't be contaminated, but use your best judgment and capture it in another recycling container if necessary.
Turn off the water and plug the radiator drain. Start the engine and fill the radiator with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Allow it to idle for several minutes with the radiator cap off to bleed out the trapped air in the cooling system. Replace the radiator cap by hand and check for leaks at the hose connections.
Tips & Warnings
- Never allow any contaminated radiator fluids to enter the sewer system.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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