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Greg A
Greg A, Master Troubleshooter
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 8656
Experience:  Working with Electronics & Cars for 25+ Years
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How do you flush the radiator on a 2001 chevy impala

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HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer.

Are you having a particular problem that makes you want to flush the radiator?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It is just time. The fluid is starting to look a bit off colored and it was recommended that I flush my radiator.

OK. I will grab the procedure for draining & filling the cooling system. Give me a couple of minutes.

Thanks, XXXXX

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I will be here.

OK - Here you go. This is a PDF file that you should be able to view on your computer and print if needed.

Drain & Fill Cooling System

I usually do not drain the block, I just run water through the system a few times until it comes out clean. I run the engine for a few minutes to get it warm (not HOT) during each fill with water. Then I do a final drain a refill with the proper mix of coolant and water.

If it has been a while, you might also want to replace the radiator cap. It is cheap and they do get old.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.

Take Care, Greg A.

Greg A and 3 other Chevy Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Just to double check is flushing the radiator synonomis with flushing the engine coolant?
That is correct.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Question, I'm under the car is there a better schematic of the radiator drain valve location in regards XXXXX XXXXX location of the radiator. Facing the car would be it on my left hand side or the right hand side.
Can you tell me which engine you have? I have 3.4L & 3.8L listed.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
3400 something. so i would asume 3.4

I just checked and it says that the radiator are supplied by "various manufacturers" so the drain could be on either side. Also, it may not look exactly like the picture.

Generally, the drain is on the same side as the fill neck (where the cap goes), but not always. I have seen it on both side. Also remember that is toward the engine side of the radiator.

Sorry that they do not have more details.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
If you are there today, does the radiator drain valve always just have a plug?

Hi again.

It may not really look like a plug - it could look like a screw and may only turn about 1/4 to 1/2 turn.

What I have done it the past, sometimes, is to remove the lower radiator hose. It can be kind of messy, but it sure drains out the radiator fast!

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Not sure how this works. I already paid and tipped but I have another question. I pulled the lower and upper hose and drained the radiator. I then filled the radiator. Is there anything that would be preventing flow of coolant through my engine? The light is now reading "low coolant" even though reservoir (sp?)is completely filled.

Hi again.

The coolant level sensor is in the radiator. Very often, when you fill the radiator and start the engine, the coolant level goes down. If you are still flushing the radiator, don't worry about this until you are done flushing it a few times.

Once you have cleaned the system out (get clear water) and filled the system with a mix of coolant and clean water, then you can check the level in the radiator when you first start the engine. What I usually do is do that final fill, with the coolant a little below the top of the radiator cap, and leave the radiator cap OFF. Then I start the engine and let the thermostat open (top radiator hose starts to get hot). At that time, the level in the radiator usually drops a little and you may be able to see the coolant "flowing" by the opening. At that time, I "top off" the level in the radiator (to the very top) and put the cap on. Then I fill the overflow bottle to the correct level, usually mid-way between Full Cold and Full Hot. That should take care of it.

Here is where the coolant level sensor should be (mounted on the radiator side tank - the square-looking thing). I would check that the connector has not come loose, if the level in the radiator is full.


As for this other question, you can either pay for it as a separate question (by clicking accept again) or consider it part of the other question. The choice is yours. I am happy I could help either way.

Oh - Thank you for the accept, tip, & feedback - it is appreciated.

Please let me know how this project works out or if you have more questions.

Take Care, Greg A.