Wait until the engine is cold before starting this procedure. Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin, or with the painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container, or in a puddle in the driveway or on the garage floor. Children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell, but antifreeze can be fatal if ingested.
Cooling system draining
With the engine completely cold, cover the expansion tank cap with a wad of rag, and slowly turn the cap anti-clockwise to relieve the pressure in the cooling system (a hissing sound will normally be heard). Wait until any pressure remaining in the system is released, then continue to turn the cap until it can be removed.
Position a suitable container beneath the radiator bottom hose connection, then release the retaining clip and ease the hose from the radiator stub
. If the hose joint has not been disturbed for some time, it will be necessary to gently manipulate the hose to break the joint. Do not use excessive force, or the radiator stub could be damaged. Allow the coolant to drain into the container.
Squeeze together the release clip each side (arrowed) and disconnect the radiator lower hose – Panda models
A radiator drain plug is located at the lower left-hand end of the radiator. Position a suitable container beneath, then undo the drain plug and allow the coolant to escape
Slacken the radiator drain plug (arrowed) – 500 models
The cooling system bleed screws should be opened to aid the draining process and help prevent airlocks. These are located on the top right-hand edge of the radiator, and on the heater inlet hose
. If the coolant has been drained for a reason other than renewal, then provided it is clean and less than two years old, it can be re-used, though this is not recommended.
Radiator bleed screw (arrowed – viewed from beneath)
The heater hose bleed screw (arrowed) is located at the left-hand end of the cylinder head . . .
. . . or at the engine compartment bulkhead (arrowed)
Once all the coolant has drained, reconnect the hose to the radiator and secure it in position with the retaining clip, or tighten the drain plug as applicable.
Disconnect the top and bottom hoses and any other relevant hoses from the radiator.
Insert a garden hose into the radiator top inlet. Direct a flow of clean water through the radiator, and continue flushing until clean water emerges from the radiator bottom outlet.
If after a reasonable period, the water still does not run clear, the radiator can be flushed with a good proprietary cleaning agent. It is important that their manufacturer’s instructions are followed carefully. If the contamination is particularly bad, insert the hose in the radiator bottom outlet, and reverse-flush the radiator.
Cooling system filling
Before attempting to fill the cooling system, make sure that all hoses and clips are in good condition, and that the clips are tight. Note that an antifreeze mixture must be used all year round, to prevent corrosion of the engine components (see below).
Remove the expansion tank filler cap, and fill the system by slowly pouring the coolant into the expansion tank to prevent airlocks from forming. Ensure that all bleed screws are open.
If the coolant is being renewed, begin by pouring in a couple of litres of water, followed by the correct quantity of antifreeze, then top-up with more water. Periodically squeeze the radiator top and bottom hoses to help expel any trapped air in the system.
Continue adding coolant until it is seen to emerge from the bleed screws. Close each bleed screw in turn as the coolant emerges.
Top-up the coolant level to the MAX mark and refit the expansion tank cap. Ensure that all bleed screws are closed.
Start the engine and run it at idling speed for two to three minutes. Allow the engine to continue running until the electric cooling fan operates, periodically increasing the engine speed gradually to 2000 to 3000 rpm.
Stop the engine and allow it to cool down completely.
Check for leaks, particularly around disturbed components. Check the coolant level in the expansion tank, and top-up if necessary. Note that the system must be cold before an accurate level is indicated in the expansion tank.
The antifreeze should always be renewed at the specified intervals. This is necessary not only to maintain the antifreeze properties, but also to prevent corrosion which would otherwise occur as the corrosion inhibitors become progressively less effective.
Always use a monoethylene-glycol based antifreeze of the specified type.
Before adding antifreeze, the cooling system should be completely drained, preferably flushed, and all hoses checked for condition and security.
After filling with antifreeze, a label should be attached to the expansion tank, stating the type and concentration of antifreeze used, and the date installed. Any subsequent topping-up should be made with the same type and concentration of antifreeze.
Do not use engine antifreeze in the windscreen/tailgate washer system, as it will cause damage to the vehicle paintwork. A screenwash additive should be added to the washer system in the quantities stated on the bottle.