Engine coolant, also known as an anti-freeze, is an important fluid for an engine’s proper running. Each vehicle has its specific engine coolant, so be sure to know the right fluid before embarking on the process of flushing it. The specific fluid is usually indicated in the manual under the section titled ‘Fluid Capacities.’
Follow these steps to flush Tesla engine coolant:
It is important to flush the coolant, but how often largely depends on your vehicle’s mileage. When the coolant needs flushing, the following tools should be at hand: large drain pan(s), funnels, wrench, and shop towels. You need to wear a long-sleeved shirt or coat, gloves, and safety glasses for your protection.
2. Types of Coolant System
There are two types of cooling systems that can be found on a Tesla. There is the traditional system with the coolant in the radiator. The coolant cycles up through the engine, after which it goes back to the radiator. In this system, the radiator has a cap, and the coolant reservoir has only one hose leading to the radiator.
The other is the pressurized cooling system. It looks very similar to the traditional system except that the reservoir connects to the engine and the radiator. The reservoir is pressurized; thus, the coolant goes from the engine to the reservoir before mixing and returning to the system through the radiator.
3. Pop the Hood
In Teslas, you can pop the hood from the infotainment system. Once popped, lift the hood. Other variants have a manual hood release lever just under the dashboard. Check your manual for this information if you are unsure how to do so.
4. Locate the Coolant Reservoir
Once the hood is open, you may find another panel covering the hybrid battery and engine. Remove the rivets that fasten the panel. You may need to unlock various clips on the panel’s sides before you can lift it to reveal the interior.
Once the panel is off, some models may have an air filter intake vent that partially covers the battery and engine. You only need to pull it upwards to reveal the interior. At this point, you can find the reservoir and identify if it is a traditional or pressurized system.
5. Drain the Reservoir
Remove the reservoir cap and pump the coolant out. Caution: Ensure that the engine has cooled down before removing the cap as it can cause the cap to fly off and splash hot coolant—drain the coolant into the drain pan.
6. Drain the Coolant From the System
Place the drain pan beneath the vehicle where the coolant will drain. This will prevent any spills around your work area. If the car has a pet cork, turn it around and leave it that way until the coolant has completely drained. Identify areas that may leak and place shop towels at these points to make your clean up easier.
If your car does not have a pet cork, you will have to drain it through the radiator cap. This is done by disconnecting the hose between the engine and the radiator. This is a lot messier, so a lot of cleanup will be required.
Let the coolant drain until it begins to trickle as it needs to work its way through the fins of the radiator. Let the process go on for at least 10 minutes. It is important to keep track of how much coolant is drained as this is roughly the same amount you will have to replace.
Afterward, push the pet cork in and turn it clockwise to lock it back. In the case of the radiator hose, ensure you connect it back tightly.
7. Fill the Coolant Reservoir with Distilled Water
Using only distilled water is considered better than tap water, which contains minerals that could react with the engine and radiator parts. The water will drain into the engine from the reservoir, so make sure you fill it until there is no more dropping in the level and replace the reservoir cap.
Do the same with the radiator. Afterward, start the vehicle and let it warm up to normal operating temperature or rev it. Run it for at least 20 minutes. Turn off the car and let it cool down before draining the water.
8. Refill with Coolant
After draining the distilled water, it is time to refill with the engine coolant. This is done the same way as step 7. However, the coolant has to be mixed with distilled water in the ratio of between 50:50 to 70:30 anti-freeze to water. Never exceed this ratio.
9. Burp the Coolant System
For a pressurized system, squeeze the upper hose connecting the reservoir and the engine to remove excess air from the system. If your model has a bleeder valve, lift that to help release excess air.
Repeat the burping process several times. Note that some cars are self-burping, and you may need to check for this information in the manual.
Flushing coolant on a Tesla is a pretty straightforward process. If you follow these steps that apply to all Tesla models, you should have an easy time. Remember to check your vehicle’s manual for any specific instructions that may differ from what we have shared here.