Is it easy to Replace a Radiator?


replace a radiatorIf you’re looking to replace a radiator you must have a pretty significant problem with your cooling system.  The only two reasons to replace a radiator is if you’ve got one that is clogged or inefficient, or if it’s leaking.

Your radiator is the most fragile part of your cooling system so it is not uncommon for it to become inefficient and not cool your engine properly.  Your radiator has tiny fins all along its surface to aid in heat transfer by increasing the surface area of your radiator.  These fins do a great job cooling your engine, but they do not stand up well to road debris or other impacts.  Even the gentle nudge of the end of your wrench while doing other work near your radiator is enough to bend these fins.  Bent fins keep air from flowing through that part of your radiator and can quickly reduce its efficiency.

If you think you’ve got a clogged radiator, you may not need to replace your radiator at all.  Clogs can come from debris and wear products in your system, but can often be removed by performing a simple radiator flush.  You can confirm you’ve got a clogged radiator using a non-contact thermometer and measuring the temperatures at different points in your radiator.  If you find a cold spot in the middle of a tube, then there is likely a clog there.  If you’ve got a clogged radiator, check out our article about how to flush a radiator to see how easy it can be!

The other common reason to replace a radiator is if you’ve got a leak.  Before you purchase a new radiator, make sure that the leak is actually in your radiator and that it’s not a repairable leak.  Often times, radiator leaks can actually be caused by bad radiator hoses.  Before replacing the radiator, check the hoses and clamps to make sure they’re in good condition.  The hoses should feel firm (make sure they’re cold before touching them!) and the ends should be in good condition, not cracked or swollen.  The clamps should be rust free and tightened and at least ¼” from the end of the hose.

You also should make sure that the radiator leak you have is not a repairable leak.  Sometimes, when your radiator springs a leak it is catastrophic and requires replacing the entire radiator.  An example of this would be a broken pipe or a severely cracked end tank that allows the radiator to empty quickly and your car overheat.  Slower leaks, like a leak from one of the tubes or a small end tank leak, can often be quickly and easily sealed from the inside out.  BlueDevil Radiator and Block Sealer is specially formulated to seal these types of leaks in your cooling system.  Sealing a leak in your radiator can save you a lot of time and money!  For more information about BlueDevil Radiator and Block Sealer, click on the banner below!

If it turns out your radiator can’t be flushed or repaired, you may need to replace your radiator.  In that case, it’s often a relatively simple job.  To start, place a drain pan under your radiator and drain all of the coolant from it so it is safe to remove.  Before removing your radiator you’ll need to remove the fan and shroud.  If you’ve got a mechanical fan, remove it and the fan shroud together.  If you’ve got electric fans you can often easily unbolt them and set them backwards towards the engine leaving enough room to remove the radiator.

Next, remove the cooling hoses, overflow tank hose, and any transmission cooler lines you’ve got going to your radiator.  Now you should be able to remove the radiator clamps on the top of the radiator and simply slide it up and out of the engine bay.

Installing your new radiator is the opposite of this procedure, just be very careful not to damage any of the fins on the way in.

For more information about BlueDevil Radiator and Block Sealer, click here:

You can find BlueDevil Radiator and Block Sealer at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive

Pictures Provided By:

radiator.jpg – By vladru – Licensed  by Thinkstock Photos – Original Link

BlueDevil Products can be found on or at AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, NAPA, and other major auto parts retailers.

5 responses to "Is it easy to Replace a Radiator?"


  1. Art Daugherty on June 17, 2020 at 2:40 am

    Very well put and good info! Ty

  2. Kimberly Wilson on October 30, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    How can I remove a radiator in a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder without removing the AC Condenser from within the core support?

    • BD Auto Pro on November 4, 2020 at 8:51 pm


      Thanks for your question about your 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. On some new vehicles, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to remove the radiator without removing the AC condenser. These two radiators are sometimes bolted together and then installed in the vehicle to make assembly easier at the factory so you may be stuck doing both. If it is possible to remove the radiator without removing the AC condenser you may have to remove the front bumper and part of the radiator support to be able to get to all bolts and have room to maneuver everything out. A good repair manual for your truck should give you detailed instructions on the procedure.

      Thanks again for your question!
      -BD Auto Pro

  3. Edgar on November 12, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for this information. The neck on the radiator for the hose broke so I think I have to replace the whole thing right? Anything to look out for when replacing this? I’ve heard something about the coolant and transmission fluid mixing.
    I failed to mention it is on a 2004 Honda Pilot

    • BlueDevil Pro on November 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm


      The replacement should be pretty straight forward. You may want to check out some tutorials and videos online for some helpful tips. There are several DIY videos and you may be able to find one specific for your vehicle.

      Thank you!


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