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What goes into performing a coolant replacement/flush? What else need replacing?

(2003 Honda Civic)
in Saint Louis, MO on October 20, 2012
I went in for an oil change and they told me I needed to flush and replace my coolant. They wanted just over $100. What does this process entail? Should I replace the thermostat, as well? Anything else I should know/do? I'm a novice...
Displaying 3 answers & 3 comments
Popular Answer
on October 20, 2012
of Bell Buckle Motor Works on October 21, 2012
Wetry is absolutely right. I should have more carefully considered my response.
on October 21, 2012
on October 22, 2012
I have no argument with either BBMW or wetry , but since I'm one of them Honda dealer bozos , I'll just mention that we normally only do a simple drain and fill (radiator and reservoir only) and don't mess with the thermostat (OEM -don't see to many with problems) and the ones with over 200K, but consistant maint. stay in good shape. That said , use your best judgement , based on mileage and maint. history. As they both also emphasized a shop that does it properly is also a key factor.
on October 31, 2012
Thank you all for your responses. I was considering doing it myself, if possible, but you've convinced me to go have it done professionally. If I ask at the Honda dealership, will they do that chemical cleaner (flush) that BBMW mentioned and do you recommend it? Or is a simple drain and fill sufficient?
of Bell Buckle Motor Works on October 20, 2012
For a lot of shops, a coolant renew/flush consists of opening the engine block drain and the radiator drain allowing all of the coolant to drain then replacing the coolant. Some facilities will run another chemical in the cooling system like a cleaner (the flush) and then drain the cooling system again. You are basically paying for an hour of labor and the cost of coolant and the flushing agent. It is important to do this about every two years because over time coolant becomes acidic. That's right, acid. It will, over time, eat through the composite plastics and aluminum pieces that your engine and radiator are made out of. It is much cheaper to replace the coolant every few years than to deal with the cost of replacing radiators. The earlier four cylinder Accords had a steel coolant pipe running behind the engine. I once saw the coolant eat right through that pipe. Pay to have it done professionally. A special system should be used on that car to remove the coolant via vacuum and then replace the coolant using the existing negative pressure in the cooling system. Otherwise air pockets may cause the engine to overheat afterwards. Saw a guy do this very recently, sorry. The thermostat issue is entirely up to you. It depends on the mileage of the vehicle, but it's not a bad idea.
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