How Much Does a Radiator Flush Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Over time, a car’s radiator can develop blockages that make the coolant in the car’s engine less efficient.  Because of this, the car’s radiator will run hotter, causing other parts of the car to overheat and potentially damage it, resulting in even more of a problem.  Oftentimes, an overheated engine could be the cause of your car’s coolant, and a mechanic may recommend this service to help prolong the life of the cooling system and the components.

The price of a radiator flush, often referred to as a coolant flush, is going to depend on the mechanic performing the job, the complexity of the job, the amount of coolant needed and the vehicle’s make and model.

step 5 by ** RCB **, on Flickr
step 5” (CC BY 2.0) by ** RCB **

How much does a radiator flush cost?

On average, most radiator flushes are going to cost anywhere from $50 to $155.  Most mechanics will recommend that you get a radiator flush every 36,000 miles.

For those who want to perform a radiator flush themselves, supplies should cost about $15 to $35, depending on the make and model of the car and the store where you purchase from.  To perform the job, you will need a bottle of radiator cleaner, a gallon of standard coolant and a gallon of antifreeze.  Kits are also readily available for those who do not know much about flushing a radiator.  Surprisingly, the job is not that hard at all, and many kits have instructions that even a novice could easily follow.

For larger vehicles such as an RV, the cost of a radiator flush can range anywhere from $300 to $750.

According to, the article states that a radiator flush can cost anywhere from $50 to as much as $150.   This is going to depend on the age of the vehicle as well as the make and the model.

A forum thread on the website claimed that it can cost $10 to $15 to complete a radiator flush on your own.  For those who want to have the job done at a local shop can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $110 for the process.

We called up a few franchise shops and were given the quotes as an “estimate.”  In the next two tables, you will see quotes for popular franchises, and in the next table, you will see quotes we received for certain makes and models.

CompanyPrice Range
Amazon$15 to $35 for a kit/parts only
Jiffy Lube$75 to $150
Midas$70 to $120
Mr. Tire$70 to $115
Pep Boys$15 to $35 for a kit
Valvoline$85 to $125
Walmart$10 to $50 for kit/parts only
Make and ModelPrice Average (labor total)
Buick Century$85 to $125
Chevy Impala$85 to $115
Ford F150$80 to $115
Ford Focus$80 to $115
Toyota Corolla$90 to $125
Toyota Prius$90 to $125

Radiator flush overview

The purpose of coolant is to keep your car’s engine cool and stop it from overheating.  It can also help avoid corrosion and wearing down over time.  Flushing the coolant is known as a preventative measure and can be considered as a safeguard to protect your car from rusting.  Flushing will prolong its life, avoid costly repairs in the future and can help get rid of all contaminants inside the anti-freeze such as dirt and oil.

During the procedure, the original coolant will be drained and replaced with a new special coolant mixture and fresh water.  It won’t be able to be drained until the vehicle cools down.  This mixture, again, is drained and the new standard mixture of coolant and water will be added.  This procedure can take up to 30 minutes with a machine or up to 60 minutes if no machine is present since the car’s engine and radiator will have to heat up and cool down again.

This service can be performed by any mechanic, gas station, dealership or franchise such as Jiffy Lube, Midas, Firestone, Brakes Plus or Goodyear.

What are the extra costs?

A premium coolant is going to cost $10 to $25 more compared to a regular brand on hand.  The premium brands may last a lot longer in terms of mileage; however, it will rely on the brand the car’s condition.

To prevent issues in the future, some mechanics recommend replacing the thermostat if the cooling system were open for repairs.

Tips to know:

A radiator flush should be done every 24,000 to 40,000 miles or every three years, whichever comes first.  To make sure, refer to your car’s manual to see how often you’re going to need the flush.

Some cars will be equipped with a low coolant sensing system, and if this light were to come on, it could be in need of a flush or there could be a leak in the system.

It may be time to get a coolant flush if the check engine light is on, the low coolant warning light is on or the engine is overheating.

Coolant can come in three common colors:  red, green and orange.  Red will tend to be the most common and will have the shortest lifespan, while orange and red can last a bit longer.

How much coolant does a radiator hold?  The precise amount will depend on the make and model of the car, but the car’s radiator should be a mix of about 50 to 60 percent antifreeze and about 40 to 50 percent water.  As for gallons, the typical car can hold two to three.

How to flush a radiator

How can I save money?

Consider doing the job yourself.  There are various resources online that can guide you through the process with ease.  By doing it yourself, you can potentially save at least $50 to $80.

Make sure the radiator flush is absolutely necessary.  What you may find is that most places will recommend it every 3 years or 36,000 miles, whatever comes first.  Be aware of mechanics trying to sell you extra services that you do not need.

This service is commonly advertised and can often be marketed on a mechanic’s or dealer’s website with some sort of special or coupon.  Popular companies, such as Jiffy Lube, often have discounts posted on their website.

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