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How to renew your coolant

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  • [All Models] How to renew your coolant

    Replacing your car's coolant

    It can be very easy to forget how long your coolant has been in your car. Ideally, it should be replaced every 5 or so years because without proper temperature and corrosion inhibitors, you could end up with corroded parts or an over heating engine.

    It is supprisingly easy to renew your coolant, this tutorial will only cover a partial renewal; as a full renewal requires you to remove the thermostat and blank it off, which requires several different procedures depending on your engine.

    Symptoms of poor coolant condition:

    • Car heats up quickly to 100 degrees
    • Colour of coolant is merky or discoloured
    • Car takes a long time to cool down when fan is engaged

    What you need:

    • You will need a bucket/container capable of holding at least 6 litres (check your manual to ensure this is big enough, aim for 1 litre above what your car holds), and preferably very wide rather than deep.
    • A pair of grips.
    • 5lt (check your manual to ensure this is enough) of Premixed coolant with antifreeze (for ease) available from Halfords.
    • A car jack and some axle stands.
    • Lots of old towels/paper towel.
    • A usable garden hose pipe
    • Some latex gloves
    • Funnel (optional)

    The cost:

    The only thing you need to buy is the coolant


    Firstly: Make sure the car has been left standing and not running for a minimum of an hour, otherwise the engine bay and coolant will be too hot to work with.

    Antifreeze is extremely toxic to both people and animals, it smells sweet and can also taste sweet, however if ingested it can result in death. You must make sure that any spilt antifreeze is thoroughly rinsed away with water. Also, once finished you should transfer your old mixture to a sealed container a label it accordingly, then if you call up your local council you can arrange for it to be disposed of correctly.

    If ingested seek medical attention immediately.

    Before preceding you should also check to see if any hoses need replacing if they are cracked or split.

    Step 1:

    Jack the front of the vehicle up enough to fit the container underneath with some extra room.

    Step 2:

    Place the car on axle stands and lower the jack on to them - just in case!

    Step 3:

    Open the bonnet and using a wad of towel slowly undo the coolant header tank.

    Warning: This is a high pressure system, you must make sure the engine is cool enough to work on and undo the cap slowly to allow the pressure to release gradually.

    You will get some hissing and eventually it will fade away, keep turning the cap until fully removed. Leave the cap off.

    Step 4:

    Make sure the container/bucket is placed at the bottom of the left side of the radiator. Put on your latex gloves. Using the grips, manipulate the clip on the left bottom radiator hose and pull it all the way back.

    Gently wiggle the hose off the radiator, when the hose comes off there will be a lot of liquid coming out so be prepared to catch as much of it as you can in the container. Allow to drain for 5 minutes.

    Step 5:

    Using the garden hose, rise off any coolant spilt on paint work or chassis or floor.

    Also at this stage you can optionally use the hose to flush the radiator through by removing the top left radiator hose and flushing water through until clear water appears from the bottom connector.

    Step 6:

    Using some paper towel, dry off the radiator connectors and then replace the radiator hoses - making sure the white line, lines up with the raised lump on the connectors. Then manoeuvre the clips back into their original place.

    Move the bucket/container with antifreeze out of the way of the car.

    Step 7:

    Jack the car up and remove the axle stands. Then gently lower the car.

    Step 8:

    Using the funnel, slowly fill the header tank with the new coolant to the Kalt/Cold marking. Remove the funnel so you can see inside.

    Get your hand around the top left radiator hose and squeeze and release it until air bubbles stop coming up in the header tank. The level should drop quite a bit.

    Repeat this step until the header tank stays at the Kalt/Cold marking, this should help to remove most of the air in the system.

    Step 9:

    Replace the header tank cap and tighten it. Start the car up and allow it to get to normal running temperatures (about 90), look at the tank and make sure you can see some movement of fluids.

    At this point check for leaking around any disturbed parts.

    Turn the car off, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Check the level of the coolant and remove the cap (remember to be careful).

    If the level has dropped, repeat step 8 and 9 until the level does not drop.

    Otherwise tighten the cap and close the bonnet.

    Clear up everything, making sure you transfer the coolant into a sealed labelled container and dispose of correctly. Wash down any spilt antifreeze with lots of water.

    Step 10:

    Have a cup of tea.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!

  • #2
    Hi is this the same procedure for the corsa d


    • #3
      More or less yeah. There may be a drain plug though rather than having to remove the bottom hose from the radiator.


      • #4
        and with cars with drain plugs its best off leaving the cap on undo bleed screw all the way out the coolant will drip out then undo cap and it will come rushing out saves getting a arm covered in antifreeze, and luckyly some car you dont even have to jack them up if not lowered


        • #5
          Originally posted by Danny View Post
          More or less yeah. There may be a drain plug though rather than having to remove the bottom hose from the radiator.
          My corsa has a hose on the left which has a hose clamp that is difficult to get to as it's in the wrong position for a plier to open it is there any other way to open the hose clamp, and on the left there is a whiteiss yellow plug but I cant open it and I don't want to force open it incase I break somthing could you find out we're the drain plug may be.every help will be appreciated thanks


          • #6
            I want to flush the cooling system can I not open the hose that is connected to the header tank and open the hose that is connected to the engine (the on that leads to the heater matrix) then put a water hose to the heater matrix hose should that no make the coolant come out of the header tank hose ?


            • #7
              For any ones information the corsa d radiator has a drain plug at the bottom right it is a whiteish yellow plug you need a 13 number spanner to loosen it then you can unscrew it

              - - - Updated - - -

              Thanks every one for the help


              • #8
                For some reason i have not bottom or lower hose, i swear. I dont understand my car .
                I have 3 hoses going to the radiator. TOP Left which goes to thermostat i believe. TOP right thin pipe which goes to upper connector on reservoir bottle. Just below the TOP right thin pipe is a hose which is as big as the TOP left one , and that seems to connect to another very very solid hard pipe on the engine.

                I also tried to stick my head by the radiator, looking as much as i can , so see if i can notice a plug or pet cock whatever it is called.
                I dont see bugger all.

                I have a OPEL CORSA B 1999 Sedan 1.6 IE.

                for the love of me i dont even have a manual for it, the dealer never gave me one, only the service book.
                I tried to download a pdf somebody linked me to, but i dont know, i dont understand how to use the book, it seems i dont know what i am reading because i dont know if what i am reading pertains to the 1.6 engine.

                Also when i see the images in the book , none of those engine bay pictures, for example, resemble my car engine or look like it or reflect it, so i dont get it.

                Maybe cause my car is from South Africa i dont know
                Its surely still from Europe.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lankyman View Post
                  Maybe cause my car is from South Africa i dont know
                  Its surely still from Europe.
                  It may not have the same engine as european models. It was probably built locally using a knocked down kit. Its not unusual for these to be modified .It may have the the 1.6 engine used in the Corsa A (sold as the Nova in uk) or just have upgraded air filter and stuff for the south african market. And a high chance it has a different radiator and plumbing.Or it may be something more exotic from elsewhere in the GM empire. From an australian Holden,or something. Post a photo of your engine bay. Someone may recognise it.
                  Last edited by Bugman; 13-01-2016, 02:08 PM.


                  • #10
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