2002-2006 Toyota Camry: Coolant Flush
Time: 1-2 hrs
Difficulty: moderate (possible high temps)
Cost: $100-150 (coolant, flush agent)
Interval: 5yrs or 100-150,000 miles
The job of any coolant is to provide maximum temperature protection range against boiling and freezing without damaging the parts it's meant to protect. Manufacturers use various solutions and additives to accomplish this, but over time they all break down. When they do, oxidation and corrosion start causing leaks and component failures.
Most extended life coolants are now promising protection of up to 5 yrs/150,000 miles. However, staying ahead of the interval on this one is definitely recommended. Once the corrosion inhibitors break down, the coolant becomes caustic to metal parts. This is when radiators, water pumps, and head gaskets start failing, which are not cheap or simple repairs.
When you flush the coolant, you want to stay safe against being scalded. Don't attempt this service in ignorance. To get a complete flush, you either have to remove the thermostat to achieve full circulation, or perform several drain and fills between drive cycles. Supplementing the service with a flushing agent is a good idea to strip rust and buildup from the system.
Watch the video below to see how the coolant was exchanged on a 2002-2006 era Toyota Camry.
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