How to Flush a 2002 Ford Explorer Cooling System

Since its introduction in 1991, the Ford Explorer has gone through some subtle changes. 2002 was the first year in the Explorer’s history that the SUV was completely redesigned from the ground up. Your 2002 Explorer had a revamped exterior, but it also was available with either a 4.0-liter V-6 that produced 210-horsepower or a 4.6-liter V-8 that produced 239-horsepower. No matter which engine your Explorer has, flushing the cooling system is the same.

Items you will need

  • Coolant catch pan
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Coolant flush kit
  • 2 gallons ethylene glycol coolant
  • 2 gallons distilled water
Step 1Park the Explorer. Open the hood and allow the engine to cool completely. Remove the coolant pressure cap and add the coolant flush kit. Install the cap and shut the hood. Drive the vehicle as recommended in the flush kit instructions.

Step 2Park your Explorer and apply the parking brake. Turn the engine off and allow it to cool. Remove the coolant pressure cap. Place the catch pan under the radiator. Locate the coolant drain plug on the bottom, passenger side of the radiator. Loosen the drain plug until coolant begins to drain — you may need to use the pliers. Close the drain plug until it is snug once the coolant has finished draining.

Step 3Add a 50-50 mixture of coolant and distilled water into the cooling system until it is full. Install the cap. Start the engine and set the climate control on high heat. Allow the engine to run until ti reaches operating temperature — if it begins to overheat turn it off. After it reaches operating temperature, turn the engine off and allow it to cool. Check the coolant level and fill as needed.


  • Do not mix different color coolants.

Photo Credits

  • Darren McCollester/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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