Radiator flush -- reasonable price?


Old 01-14-09, 08:09 AM
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Location: fayetteville nc
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Radiator flush -- reasonable price?

A reputable, independently-owned service station in a fairly upscale neighborhood yesterday charged me $97 to drain and flush and replace anti-freeze in a 1994 Toyota Tercel.

Do you guys think they charged me far too much? I value and need your opinions. If you think the charge wasn't outrageously unreasonable, it'll help me to calm down and get my blood pressure back under control -- help!
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Old 01-14-09, 10:55 AM
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Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
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Considering a gallon of anti freeze is 12 bucks on sale but you do have to wait till the thermostat opens and the use of their hoist, 97 bucks is a little tall. I have been where you are and I force myself to always ask how much they are going to charge me before I bring it to them not after they have it on the hoist and I feel vulnerable.
Old 01-14-09, 02:21 PM
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Ridiculous, but they are there to make money......

This is a DIY site, so next time maybe we could talk you into doing it yourself?

Flushing a system is not hard.
Old 01-15-09, 12:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
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Most places are charging more now because they have machines that flush the system. The last machine I used was a BG maching I think. he place I worked at charged about $70 for the service.

One, they have the price of the antifreeze
2 they have the cost of the machine to recoup

You took the upper hose off from the radiator. Then installed an end with an air hose fitting on the hose and then on the radiator. Then you hook the hoses from the machine to the connections on the ends. YTou then put about 5 gallons of antifreeze in the machine. Start the car and let it idle. The watter pump will naturally be turning. As the thermostat opens and fluid starts flowing the machine pushes the fresh anti freeze into the radiator and the fluid coming from the other hose goes into another tank on the machine. It only pushes fluid in when the thermostat is open. It repeats this process as the car idles and the thermostat opens and closes. Once the tank of fresh antifreeze is empty the maching shuts itself off. This leaves fresh antifreeze in the system and has flushed 4 gallons through the system.

A long winded explanation but this is why a simple raiator flush has the price it does nowadays. The easiest thing to do is wait for coupons to come in direct mailing or watch for commercials. Things like this are always being offered for a discount. 9 times out of 10 you can get it done for $39.99 on average. ALWAYS WATCH TO MAKE SURE THEY ACTUALLY DO THE SERVICE. There are many many places that will just drain & refill but charge you the price of the service of the machine.
Old 01-15-09, 05:56 AM
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Just my two cents worth, but unless you badly neglect the system or you are having a specific problem the fancy machine flush is a waste of time and money. Once a year or so drain the radiator, top off with fresh, properly dispose of the old, and go on your merry way for another year. Cost (as Randy notes), about $12.
Old 01-15-09, 09:10 AM
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I just did this to my 99 durango. It has 105k on it and I did the plugs, wires, new belt, some new hoses, so I decided just to flush the system. I bought a $4 dollar kit at advance auto and it worked great. It is meant to flow the opposite what the anti freeze does!! It got a lot of junk out of there. B/c if you just flush it the way the anti freeze flows you won't be cleaning much of it out. My heat also was not very hot and it did help it.
Cost me $14 dollars to do my flush. Now its not a machine one but the pressure coming out of the garden hose works great.

Another suggestion/Question: Why didn't you ask how much it is going to cost before having it done?? That is my first question when I go to a gar
Old 01-16-09, 12:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: USA
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I've always flushed mine with ahose at the house. That is unless I was working at a shop that had the machine and I did it for free.

The one thing to remember when backflushing with a hose is that the thermostat should be taken out. I know that's a pretty obvious point, but I wanted to make it for the people who might not think about it.
Old 01-16-09, 05:10 AM
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I did do that, and forgot to put that step in there. I appologize.
Old 01-16-09, 09:55 AM
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Location: Northeast Kansas
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Notsohandy, that charge is about on par. I usually pay the dealer around $100 for a full flush and coolant replacement when I do it every year. In fact, gotta have it done next week. Labor charges are running $80/hour or so around here, and the cost of the antifreeze and flush kit adds up too.

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