Coolant flush or drain & refill in a 2011 Camry?


#1

I drive a 2011 Camry LE with 90,000 miles on it. (I bought it in 2010)

I’ve never replaced it before.

The manual says I have to “replace engine coolant”.

The dealer told me that $300 for flush or $140 for drain & fill.

The manual doesn’t really specify. It just says “replace coolant”.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.


#2

My 2005 Said 10 yrs or 120K miles/whichever comes 1st. I did it earlier at 110K miles. The coolant was pretty clean at that time. I paid $115 with a coupon at the dealership for a flush. ButnNot sure if you need a flush. Drain and refill should get 60+% of it out. I do most of the stuff myself, but with this one, the Toyota coolant is expensive and disposing of used coolant is a PITA in my area. So I paid the dealer to do it.


#3

@Galant. Yes. leave it to a capable shop. The days of draining coolant on your driveway are over. I had the complete coolant service done on my Toyota last fall and it cost $140, Now I’m good for another 50,000 miles although Toyota says I can go longer.


#4

Toyota calls for a drain and fill but, unlike the transmission service, a flush is ok (won’t harm anything) and is more effective at fully purging and exchanging the coolant. Whichever one you do I highly recommend you use the recommended Toyota coolant (typically red in color). The dealer will use this but so will many independent shops if you request it. Expect to pay a little more for it than the generic green stuff. The Toyota coolant is spec’d to give your water pump long life.


#5

I don’t advocate the use of additives, including chemicals for flushing, unless there’s a problem that one is trying to deal with. Draining and refilling washes the suspended crud out and replaces the silicates necessary for corrosion inhibition.

I vote for a drain & fill.

I absolutely agree about using the correct coolant.


#6

I’d go for the drain and fill at the dealer to ensure no issue with compatible coolant.


#7

I would base it on an inspection of the coolant system by a qualified person. If there is buildup and it needs a flush, do the flush. If everything is as clean as the day it was born just do a drain and refill.


#8

Its only 5 years old, there won’t be any build up. DON"T FLUSH. If you flush, you will put various contaminants into the coolant system from using unfiltered water and even worse, flush chemicals.

Just drain and refill and don’t worry about a little residual old coolant being left behind. That old coolant is not contaminated, it’s just that its corrosion inhibitors are worn out, the new coolant will have fresh corrosion inhibitors in it and you will be good for another 5 years.

If your car were 15 years old and the coolant had never been changed, then I’d agree to a flush, but in all reality, it probably wouldn’t save the system.

If you do a drain and refill every 5 years, your system should give you 20 years of trouble free operation, though you may want to replace the thermostat and all the hoses at the 10 year drain and fill.


#9

For the record, I too am due. Come spring, I’ll be doing the second drain & refill on my own 2005 Scion. My current coolant is still clean. I try to practice what I preach.


#10

Either method is ok. I’d do the d&r unless there was evidence a flush was necessary. And it’s easier for a diy’er to do a drain and re-fill. Manufacturers are extending the recommended intervals for routine services in part to make their products appear less costly to own. A sales strategy in other words. But the manufacturer’s sales strategy may not be in the owners best interest, esp if the owner wants to keep the car for 10-15 years. My recommendation is to change the coolant at least every three years. You’d be saving money anyway by doing the drain and re-fill method. Doing it that way and more frequently imo is better than the flush method less frequently.


#11

@CamryLE2011 Did the dealer recommend one over the other? I’m guessing not or you probably wouldn’t have asked. I’d go with the drain and refill option, too.


#12

IMHO a dealer will always recommend the most profitable option.


#13

@“the same mountainbike” Unfortunately, I think you’re right in many dealer service departments. I hope the OP will respond with the dealer’s recommendation just to satisfy my curiosity.


#14

The new coolant have no trouble going 5 years, I have pushed them to 7 years without any repercussions. I always do a drain and refill.


#15

I had to go back and check my receipt. The dealer did a drain and refill, it cost $80+Tax. It was a special. Even though my wife took the car in, they didn’t want to do anything different.

I have also been perpetually disappointed with the brakes on this car despite checking everything/properservice/etc. So I had also requested a brake system check and they reported “brakes function properly/as expected”, so all in all as much as I stay away from dealers, I guess I shouldn’t complain much. Granted, this generation Camry is known for crappy brakes and my wife and daughter, after driving our Sonata, refuse to drive this one.


#16

Make sure the shop drains the radiator AND the block

Unfortunately, some lazy bums don’t even bother looking for the block drain

I’m not 100% sure, but I think there is one on that car

I’m basing that on my personal experience


#17

I had mine done last year. I just said to change it but the invoice said a flush and refill with Dexcool. Don’t know what it cost since I had other work done at the same time while we were on a trip. Belt, hoses, idler pulley, thermostat, wheel bearing, for $640. Total labor was $360 and Dexcool was $30. I had all the hoses and thermostat though. All in all I was happy with the cost for all the work done.


#18

@bing I think you are fine, but I am on the global replacement after dexcool sludge problems if not perfectly sealed.


#19

Drain and refill is best as long as the technician drains the block and radiator. This method drains 90 to 95% of the coolant.

Using common flush equipment the new coolant is mixed with the old while the engine is running. That is acceptable with old engines without block drains but not as effective as a complete drain.

Replacing the coolant every three years as mentioned on a vehicle with ten year coolant is a waste of materials. The coolant would be changed three times before it is necessary and will be changed when the radiator or water pump fails, changing the coolant more frequently won’t extend the life of these.


#20

Thank you for your help!