Maintenance: Drain and Fill Radiator Fluid

Ford’s maintenance schedule recommends replacing the coolant at 100,000 miles and again at 150,000 miles. My car currently has 55,000 miles on it, and the coolant appears to be in good condition with no contamination or discoloration. As a result, I chose to perform a drain and fill rather than a complete flush. I opted for Zerex by Valvoline concentrated antifreeze, diluted with distilled water, because it was more cost-effective and met Ford’s WSS-M97B44-D2 specification.

What I used:
Step 1: Jack up the car

Lifting the front of the car should suffice.

Step 2: Remove lower shield.

There should be three hand-turnable screws to loosen.

Step 3: Locate the petcock.

Coolant PetcockIt should be close to the passenger’s side.

Step 4: Attach a 5/16″ clear tubing.

Connect the tubing to the petcock to direct the coolant into the container, minimizing mess.

Step 5: Drain the coolant.

Initially, try to open the petcock by hand. If it’s stuck, use pliers carefully, as the cap is plastic. A slight turn with the pliers should be enough to loosen it.

Next, remove the coolant reservoir cap to release any vacuum pressure.

Observe the draining coolant. I noticed some black specks, which research suggests are likely harmless flakes from an internal coating.

During the first round, I drained 4.75 quarts of coolant, as illustrated by the measurements in the container shown in the above picture.

Step 6: Fill the coolant reservoir.

Mix the distilled water with the coolant concentrate to create a 50/50 mixture, then fill the reservoir to the max line.

Step 7. Wait for the radiator to fill up with the coolant.

Start the engine and let it warm up. Once warmed, turn on the heater at full blast. Maintain the engine at 2,000 RPM for 30 seconds, repeating this process two more times to ensure coolant circulation. Keep the reservoir from going empty by adding a small amount of coolant when necessary. Avoid overfilling, as this can waste new fluid during the drain process. Once the radiator has stopped drawing in fluid, proceed to the next step.

Step 8. Rinse and repeat two more times.

Turn off the engine and repeat the drain and fill procedure two more


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