Costopedia / Automotive / How Much Does a Radiator Cost?

How Much Does a Radiator Cost?

$ Radiator (just part): $100-$600 $ $ Car Radiator Replacement: $150-$900+ $ $ $ SUV Radiator Replacement: $250-$1,000+

Humans are not the only ones that can get a heat stroke if the weather is too hot; car engines produce a lot of heat that could make the car overheat; thankfully, the radiator avoids that from happening.

In fact, a radiator is the most important component of a vehicles’ cooling system, and they prevent overheating by working as a heat exchanger.

How Does A Radiator Work?

Basically, a radiator will use coolant to transfer the heat from the engine to the exterior.

The coolant takes the heat the engine produces in the combustion process and carries it to the radiator with the help of the water pump.

When the coolant arrives at the radiator, it passes through the tubes and thin metal fins where it’s cooled down, and it then goes back to the engine.

Some fans and cool air that flows from the car’s grille into the radiator also help in this process.

Here’s a video made by Engineering Explained that explains in a very easy way how a radiator works

Why The Radiator Maintenance Is Important?

If the radiator isn’t working properly, this means your vehicle’s cooling system is compromised, and your car won’t be able to get rid of the excess heat it produces, leading to overheating.

Regular maintenance can help keep the radiator in good shape or replace it before it starts showing signs of failing.

So, replacing a radiator that is not working properly or is damaged will help prolong your engine’s lifespan.

How Long Does A Radiator Last?

Well taken care of radiators can last the total lifetime of a vehicle, but in general, they can last over 100,000 miles or about 10 years; check the owner’s manual to know the manufacturer’s recommended service time.

Regularly replacing the coolant and performing a radiator flush once in a while can help your radiator to last longer.

But, even when radiators can last long, several situations can make them fail prematurely; some of these situations are:

  • A hose leaking coolant.
  • Debris built up the radiator that will clog it up.
  • An electrical current caused by electrical aftermarket accessories.
  • Low annual mileage.
  • Corrosion caused by frequent exposure to salt from the ocean or the roads.

Here’s a video by 1A Auto that explains in detail other causes that may lead to a car’s radiator failing.

Which Are The Signs Of A Bad Radiator?

Whether the radiator is clogged, damaged, or isn’t working properly, your car will show some of these signs:

  • Overheating engine
  • Low coolant levels.
  • coolant Leaks.
  • Fluid discoloration.
  • Sludge built up in your radiator.
  • Exterior fins blocked or damaged.
  • Passenger heater not functioning.

You can check this article made by that explains these signs in more detail.

What Affects The Replacement Costs Of A Radiator?

If you have already tried to repair your radiator and the overheating problems don’t disappear, the best option is to replace it.

Several factors affect the costs of replacing a radiator, like a vehicle’s make, model, and year, the type of coolant used, if the radiator replacement comes from an OEM or is an aftermarket part, and where you get the job done.

The professional replacement of a radiator can cost $150 to $900 or more.

But prices are higher to replace the radiator of a minivan, SUV, or pickup, and they can go from $250 to $1,000 or more.

Just buying the radiator can cost from $100 to $600; and labor costs are around $100 per hour, taking one to three hours to complete the job.

One method to save money is to replace the radiator through DIY methods, where you only need to pay for the radiator replacement.

Top Companies

You can get a radiator replaced at dealerships and auto repair shops like Midas and NAPA.

And radiators (only parts) are available from online retailers like Amazon, Auto Parts Warehouse, and AutoZone.

The following comparison shows the difference between prices and type of work some of them:

Company Type of Work Price Range
Midas Parts and labor $290 – $900
NAPA Parts and labor $190 – $450
Amazon Parts $60 – $380

Things To Consider

Before Buying

  1. First, the first sign of a bad radiator is overheating, so if your car is overheating, you need to check the radiator.
  2. There exist in the market “stop leak” products that can seal small holes in the radiator. They only work on small leaks, so there’s a high possibility they won’t solve the issue. They typically cost $5 to $15. Mechanics don’t usually recommend them because they can clog the cooling system.
  3. Check the local repair shops near you to know about their price range and what’s included in their service.
  4. Buying a radiator from an online retailer can help save on the budget.

When Buying

  1. Replacing a radiator should include the replacement part, new coolant, and any hoses needed.
  2. After the replacement, the technic will ensure the cooling system is working without leaks.
  3. People can replace the radiator themselves as a DIY car project. This video made by Scotty Kilmer explains how to replace a radiator.

After Buying

  1. In many cases, the water pump needs to be replaced simultaneously as the radiator. Water pumps can cost about $200 for just the part.
  2. The thermostat and cooling fans should be inspected to ensure they are working properly as part of the cooling system.
Giovanna Soto