You’ll see advertisements for radiator flushes, transmission system flushes, and gas system clean outs at most shops that cater to minor maintenance and repairs. These usually run between $50 and $300 depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
Thankfully, you can do these at home much cheaper.
For your average radiator flush, you’ll see prices average around $60 for most vehicles. This can be done in an hour or two with your garden hose, a few basic tools and replacement coolant.
So what do you gain from having someone else do it? Not much. It doesn’t matter if you don’t replace enough coolant or if the technician doesn’t- the engine is still toast. The super dry and crispy kind. Some shops may carry insurance for incidents like this, but don’t count on it. The vast majority will try to make you prove that you don’t have a pinhole leak or another issue that caused your engine to overheat.
Remember to have a pan out to capture your dropped coolant and to dispose of it properly. Pets and children can become very sick if they come in contact with it.
There are some transmissions with a completely closed system that would be much easier to allow a shop to change that fluid. These transmissions rarely need to be cleaned and are pretty difficult for the average person to do outside of a garage.
However, typical systems may be as simple as unscrewing a panel and letting the fluid run out. We recommend getting out your owner’s manual or your repair manual and looking at what’s involved with your vehicle. If the process is simple, you can save hundreds of dollars doing a transmission flush yourself.
If the process is a bit more complicated, look for a teaching garage in your area. They aren’t everywhere, but they do exist. You can go here and get help from the professionals at a much lower rate than allowing them to do all the work themselves. Then, next time, you’ll know what you’re doing.
Gas System Clean Out
Late model fuel systems are built to deal with the ethanol build up within their engine with little trouble, but older vehicles may gather some gunk and sludge. When cleaning out your gas system, most shops don’t actually drain anything. They toss in a fuel detergent over a full tank of gas and… that’s it.
That isn’t exactly the hardest thing to do.
There are several different fuel detergent brands on the market and all of them worthwhile. You can find these easily at your local car parts shop. Simply fill up your car, pour in your detergent and take a twenty minute drive to fully clean your fuel system.
You will, however, need to change your fuel filter at some point. We recommend leaving that one up to the pros on most models. We recommend referencing your owner’s manual to find out when it recommends to change your fuel filter.