If you’ve been in the fast lube business for a
while, you’ve seen many different ways to
perform a coolant change. Remember having to cut
the heater hoses and install the plastic valves
(the ones that always leaked) in order to change
coolant? Or how about removing the bottom
radiator hose and letting gravity drain the
coolant, drop by time-killing drop?
None of these systems really worked will for
fast lubes, many of which, according to our
names, want to get customers in and out in less
than 15 minutes.
A Few years ago, the flush-and fill service hit
the market. Simply open the radiator drain plug,
drain the coolant, close the drain plug and
refill the radiator with coolant. Unfortunately,
these systems, too, left much to be desired. Say
you serviced a Ford Escort with a 1.6L
four-cylinder engine. The vehicle’s cooling
system holds 6.5 quarts of coolant. Using the
flush-and fill method, only three quarts of
coolant was removed and replaced. What, really,
did the service do for customer vehicles? How
well will the mixture of old and new coolant
work? The fast lube industry has long prided
itself on doing professional work, but this type
of service is not professional.
Which brings me to the point of this article. I
had stopped performing radiator flasher
altogether unless they were specifically
requested by customers. In fact, I was probably
averaging barely one or two such services per
month. That will most definitely change after
testing the latest coolant changer from Palm
Crest, the LC-2B.
The Palm Crest LC-2B coolant changer comes
shipped in a cardboard box, with very little
assembly required. In fact, in 30 minutes or
less, you can have the unit set up and ready to
The LC-2B has two clear towers, a sturdy metal
base with a built-in handle and rollers for easy
transportation, and a red work station that
places all the control valves within easy reach.
The hoses are clear plastic – allowing you and
your customer – to witness old fluid being
removed from the radiator and new fluid being
As with any such device, the first thing one
should do is read the owner’s manual. I
specifically look for precautions, because it is
to find them before
operating the machine than after something has
already gone wrong.
Once the manual has been thoroughly reviewed,
you’re ready to do two things – professionally
service a customer’s vehicle in less than five
minutes and add money to your bottom line.
To get started with the LC-2B, it must first be
attached to a compressed air source, preferably
shop air. Next, make sure the vehicle’s engine
is a least 140 degrees F. Never attempt a full
coolant change on a cold engine.
Following the instruction, you fill the right
tower between half and three-quarters of its
length with new coolant, hook the machine up to
the vehicle, and let it rip. With the clear
towers and hoses, you can see what is happening
as the used coolant reservoir fills and the new
coolant reservoir drains. And, since both
plastic tanks are clearly marked, you can make
sure that the same amount of coolant is being
installed as was drained (although on occasion,
you find that more coolant is added than was
drained, usually because the system was low in
the first place).
There are several things I like about this
system. One is that it is a no-brainer to use.
Secondly, it pumps the new coolant to be used
from your pr-mix drum. Third, it exchanges ALL
of the coolant in a vehicle, including that
stored in the reservoir bottle. Fourth, it pumps
old coolant back into your waste coolant drum.
And last but not least, your customers can sell
all this happening, which is a great sales tool
in and of itself. In just a few minutes, the
service is complete, and the only thing the
machine has not done is collect money from the
Generally when I test a product, I do not
advertise the service with customers because
some products I test simply to not work as will
as one would like.
However, remember when I said I did one to two
coolant services before I tested this device
(collecting around $100 per month). During the
test I ran on this product, without any
advertising, I was selling enough coolant change
services to average nearly $3,500 per month in
additional income. That is potentially $42,000
per year added to my facility’s bottom line.