Asked by Jazz Aug 26, 2019 at 09:45 AM about the 2004 Volkswagen Jetta

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My car informed me that i was low in coolant . By
time i put some coolant into the car , brown liquid
came up . I didn't think much about it , until i went
to get my oil changed and they informed me that i
had some sludge in my radiator and it would have
to be flushed . Is there anything i can do myself to
clean the sludged out of my radiator ( car ) ?

1 Answer


I would be more concerned with the possibility oil is mixing with coolant, meaning a problem with the head gasket may exist. If that gunk is in the radiator it's throughout the cooling system. I'd check it with "Block Tester" or run a pressure check on the cooling system, or even a compression test on cylinders, in addition to flushing cooling system. You also may have a transmission cooler built into your radiator, and a leak there can allow tranny fluid to mix with coolant and result in sludge. Another possible source of sludge is mixing incompatible coolants (like red and green). If you do flush yourself, try to use deionized water, it won't promote rust like tap water. Finally, it's always a good idea to replace all coolant once every couple years, as it has rust inhibitors that break down over time.

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