Bookmark and Share


I hear you and your wife always telling people to have their radiators “rodded out”. Can you explain what you mean by that term “rodded out”!

The term “Rodded Out” a radiator means to take a radiator apart and manually clean it internally. This is done by removing the radiator from the car and taking the radiator “tank” off the radiator. This will expose the tubes that run through the radiator. This is done with a torch to melt the solder from a copper brass type radiator so the tank will come off. Or on the newer model plastic aluminum (composite radiators) the plastic tank is clamped on with little metal tabs. The tabs are straightened out and the tank comes off. (Of course they never go on as easy as they come off!) After the tank is off the radiator core, the other end of the radiator is hooked up to a water hose. Water is forced through the clogged tubes in one direction while the technician forces the thin metal “rod” through the tubes from the other direction. (In most cases you must start with a small rod and as you clean the tubes, going to bigger rods as it gets easier to push through the tubes). The water that is flowing through the radiator carries all the rust and scale out of the radiator to insure it is thoroughly clean. The water acts as a lubricant to insure that no excessive force is used to clean the tubes out. Just flushing a radiator with a chemicals or high pressure water usually causes more problems down the road. So I caution against this method that some shops advocate. Doing this type cleaning and flushing is only a band aid approach to a more serious problem in the cooling system! The proper way to clean a radiator is to clean internally and externally. And the best way is to remove it from the vehicle and do it right. The rule of thumb for radiator cleaning is: Every 5 years or 100,000 miles clean your radiator professionally. (Remove radiator from vehicle and rod it out) Every 2 years or 30,000 miles change extended life antifreeze in your car. (Don’t believe the 5 year 150,000 mile myth) Every year change your regular “green” antifreeze. The antifreeze needs to EXCHANGED using a machine to do this. Just changing what is in your radiator you will only EXCHANGE about 50% of the coolant that is in the engine. Using the proper machine for doing this job you will EXCHANGE 96% TO 98% of the old antifreeze. And please use DISTILLED WATER ONLY, NEVER USE CITY WATER OR WELL WATER. And make sure it is a 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water as well!


  Return to frequently asked questions



Home :: Show :: Archives :: Links :: Contacts :: Login

Ask The Master Auto Technician © 2009