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What kind of coolant can you use and how much

2006 Toyota Camry Base 2.4 L Engine Manual Trans.
Does it have to be genuine Toyota Super Long Life Coolant? And how many gallons do I need when flushing the engine coolant?

Go to your car, open the passenger’s door, open the glove box, take out the owners manual and turn to the section on coolant. It will tell you type and amount coolant to install in your Camry. Given the range of coolant types these days, I’d use the Toyota coolant specified even if you have to get it from the dealer.

As far as flushing goes,use clean water to flush, let it all drain, dispose of properly and replace with fresh coolant in a 50/50 mix with distilled water or buy pre-mix and use directly.


Agree but why flush? Just drain and refill but make sure you know how to get the air out of the system. I don’t so a shop did mine.

I assume that this is its second coolant exchange, it should be. Your owners manual will tell you the system capacity.

You do not HAVE to use the Toyota Super Long Life Coolant, any of the long life coolants will do, but this job is only done once every 5 years or so and the price difference isn’t that much. I can see where some people who don’t live near a dealership could be inconvenienced by the long drive to get the factory product, but if you are near a dealer, I’d say why not?

I would not flush, that can do more harm than good. Just drain the coolant out and refill with the new stuff. The little bit left trapped in the system won’t be a harmful as the potential for getting contaminants in the system by flushing. AND NEVER USE A CHEMICAL FLUSH. They can do a lot of damage to the rubber parts of the system.

If you chose a full strength long life coolant, be sure to dilute it to a 50/50 with distilled water that does not have minerals added.

I agree with the practice of draining as fully as possible and refilling. I do mine every 5 years. I drin it by disconnecting the lower radiator hose.

I also agree with using only distilled water (about $1/gal at any grocery store) if you buy the “concentrated” antifreeze and mix it yourself. I can tell you from experience that using tapwater can cause problems. While safe to drink, a lot of tapwater contains high levels of minerals and, in the case of the water I had from my last house, is highly acidic. Safe to drink, but not safe to use in the car. Your stomach contains enzymes to protect it against the hydrochloric acid it uses to break down food. Your car has no such protection.

And be sure you burp the air out well after refilling. Park the car such that the radiator fill hole will be the highest level in the system and run the engine with the radiator cap open and the heating system ON to open the path to the heater core. Do NOT allow it to heat up with the radiator cap off. Unpressurized fluid boils at a lower temperature.

The Kia dealership does a drain and refill for $60 while I have breakfast across the street. Why would I do it myself and worry about old coolant proper disposal.

I’d use the specific coolant required, not some universal stuff.

Does your vehicle have a radiator cap?

I’ve got radiator caps on my GM cars. They use Dex-Cool coolant.

I do as much car maintenance as I can from the top of the car. I have a Liquid-Vac that I use to periodically extract most of the transmission fluid through the dipstick tube, no fuss, no mess, goes right into bottles. I put in the amount that I take out.

Back to coolant… I periodically run a small diameter plastic tube straight down the side of the radiator tank, directly below the cap/neck until it bottoms out in the radiator.

Then I use a small plastic syringe (a couple bucks, sold in auto department of Wal-Mart) to create a suction and begin a siphon. The coolant is drained directly into gallon jugs sitting on the driveway, no fuss, no mess. I put back the amount I take out.

Sarge goes for breakfast during his cooling system service. I have a beer and listen to the Rolling Stones or Bee Gees.

Surprisingly, I can exchange almost all the coolant in the system by using this method (according to cooling system specs for my vehicles)!

Also, my GM cars have small brass coolant bleeders on the high point of the system at the thermostat housing. It is very easy to bleed and fill using directions in my GM Factory Service Manual. Some of the coolant gets added into the reservoir. I have never had a problem. Because I am careful to measure fluid removed, compared with the exact amount replaced, I know when the system is filled/bled correctly.

I stay clean and neat while maintaining coolant and transmission fluid, virtually no clean-up, the fluids stay clean, and I save money and get the job done on my schedule.
CSA :wink:

Suggest to purchase the coolant at the Toyota dealership. It probably won’t cost much more than aftermarket coolant anyway.

Here’s how I do that job on my Corolla. Not saying this is the best way, but my Corolla is over 25 years old, over 200 k miles, and only had to replace the radiator and thermostat once in that time. Starting with a cold engine, and the inside heater control set to MAX, I drain the radiator, then re-fill with tap water, idle the engine in the driveway to operating temperature, turn it off, and let it cool down completely. Then I drain the radiator again. Presuming what comes out looks pretty clean, the flush part of the job is done, then I refill with fresh coolant.

My car’s model year is before the specialty coolant requirement era, so I use plain old Prestone, the full strength concentrated version, and put in half the volume the car’s coolant system is spec’d for, so to end up with a 50/50 mix after topping off with water. To finish the job, bleed the air out, I remove the radiator cap and idle the engine, watching the level in the radiator. It will drop now and then, so I’ll add enough water to keep it nearly full. Eventually water will start pouring into the top of the radiator from the top hose, indicating the thermostat is open. At that point I turn the engine off, install the radiator cap, half fill the reserve bottle, done.

Most folks here recommend to use distilled water rather than tap water. Whether that is necessary probably depends on what’s in your tap water where you live. I use tap water here in San Jose and never had a problem. But there’s not much expense to use distilled water, and I doubt any harm is done using it.

Oh, one more thing. Suggest to replace the thermostat if it is original. It is a moving part with a spring and a seal that must completely seal to work correctly, and it’s been sitting in the coolant for nearly 10 years.

I hope you make up a little “white lie” story while those guys are wrestling with your Kia.

Telling them you’ll be back for the car right after a tooth extraction would be kinder than saying you’re heading out for a delicious breakfast while they slave away with stomachs growling. :wink:

Use a universal coolant that’s premixed.

These coolants were created when the military demanded that instead of having equipment with the green coolant, deathcool, or whatever else, that a standard coolant be provided so that it can be used in whatever equipment they had in their arsenal.

The military likes to keep things KISS.

And if it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for me.



Unless you can get the bottom of the tube that’s drawing the coolant from the engine to the bottom of the water jacket or the lowest point in the cooling system, you’re not draining the system. As soon as the fluid level drops below the entry opening o f the tube the suction is broken. Simple tests with a tube and two water glasses will demonstrate my point.

The brass bleeder is to burp the system. Systems that have a portion of the coolant path higher than the radiator cap or have a section prone to air bubble entrapment will have these bleeders.

I’m happy that what you’re doing is working for you, but I’d recommend checking your fluid volumes carefully against the manufacturers’ specified volumes to ensure that your system is getting well bled. Or perhaps I’m just not understanding your process correctly. That too has happened. :relaxed:

Thank you. Sir, with all due respect I understood siphons fairly well before your explanation. I need no science demonstrations.

I measure the distance to the bottom of the radiator (using the tubing) BEFORE I begin.

Please reread what I wrote. I carefully measure the coolant withdrawn and replace that amount. My Factory Service Manuals list the actual volume of the entire cooling system and I compare my procedure to that.

Believe me that on my cars this system replaces most of the coolant (some cars don’t even have radiator caps). I usually exchange about 9 quarts per siphon and I do this periodically. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy. It’s neat. It’s efficient. It’s accurate. It’s almost fun.

I meant no disrespect. Apologies for any misunderstanding.
I’m truly happy that you’ve found a good and efficient way to do the job. Keep up the good work.

I did that in my 1996 Dodge Caravan (still on the road, never driven in winter). The original green coolant would gunk up on me. I switched to the yellow universal stuff, removed and cleaned the reservoir. It stays very clean now. Life is good.

No problem. :slight_smile: Thank you! I probably should have explained better. I really hate removing shields under the car, trying to open plastic drain valves on plastic radiator tanks, or removing hoses.

I truly have turned it into an easy, clean procedure that doesn’t contort my aging athlete body or cause expletives to fly. I too use distilled water.

Here’s how I do it. We’re going on a trip for a couple weeks, can I drop my car off and change the fluid while we’re gone? Oh and can you change the thermostat and hoses too? And while you’re at it can you change the serpentine belt? Oh and can you check the left wheel bearing? Just email me if you have any problems. Our phones don’t work in Europe. And we’ll be having fun while you’re slaving away on my car. That’s life.

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LOL, Bing, I get anxiety attacks whenever anyone else works on my car. If I can’t hang out in the waiting room and watch the work, my anxiety attacks are even worse. If I dropped off my car and flew to Europe… well, I couldn’t enjoy a moment of the trip.

I tip my hat to your being able to trust someone to that level. Me, I couldn’t do it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It’s called getting lazy, and how bad could it be?

Now how can you say that after reading all the disasters that get posted here? :grin:


That’s me as well.
I know I need to “let it go” a bit.