How To Replace Your Car Radiator

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can replace your radiator yourself. Doing so can save you up to several hundred dollars, depending on the automotive repair shop you normally visit. We strongly suggest that, if you choose to do-it-yourself, you take some of the money you saved and blow a little on a night out on the town.


WHAT YOU'LL NEED (Best to gather these items first.)

(1) A new model-specific name brand replacement radiator.

(2) New radiator clamps and hoses, if needed.

(3) Coolant (Check your owner's manual to determine the exact type and amount required.)

(4) A screwdriver set (You can get a reasonable deal on a quality set by shopping at a discount store such as Wal-Mart -- aww, heck you knew that right?!?)

(5) Long nose pliers.


STEP-BY-STEP RADIATOR REPLACEMENT INSTRUCTIONS (Just follow the directions and you'll do just fine.)

(1) Don't start this right after you return from that 150-mile round trip to see your Great Aunt Betty. Your radiator and the surrounding parts must have time to cool down -- otherwise you'll burn yourself redder than a possum in the New Mexico desert.

(2) Make sure the ignition is off, the car is in park, and the parking brake is on. Fail to do this, and you might be replacing more than just your car's radiator.

(3) Using the correct screwdriver, remove the radiator guard located on top of the radiator.

(4) Remove the two metal radiator clips found on either side of the radiator.

(5) Unscrew and remove the radiator cap.

(5a) Do yourself a favor, and put all the clips, and screws in a safe place.

(6) Using a screwdriver, remove all of the top hoses attached to the radiator.

(7) Use your long nose pliers to remove the hose that connects the overflow.

(8) Place a bucket underneath the radiator and loosen the bottom hose. With the bucket positioned underneath, pull the hose off which will allow the coolant to drain into the bucket. Remove all hoses and inspect for wear and tear or other kinds of damage. Replace with new as needed and set all aside.

(9) Carefully remove the fan guard that surrounds the radiator.

(10) The radiator should be unattached and you'll be able to slide out the old unit.

(11) Slide the new radiator into place slowly so that the holes line up with the prongs at the bottom of the radiator. If the radiator is seated properly, it should not move freely.

(12) Return the radiator fan surround to its original position.

(13) Replace both metal clips located on each side of the radiator.

(14) Reconnect all hoses to their original connection points. Be certain to tighten them well to avoid any coolant leakage.

(15) Place the radiator guard into the correct position at the top of the radiator.

(16) Refill the radiator with coolant, pouring in as much as possible. Run the car for one minute and then top it off again.

(17) Run the car for several minutes while checking for leaks.

Note: While the process is straight forward and the steps are easy to follow, only attempt this service if you feel confident in following these directions. If my 3rd cousin bubba can do it, you probably can too, but only if you feel confident in attempting it.

These instructions are provided for your convenience, and does not offer any warranty, express or implied, should you use these instructions and damage your part, and/or your vehicle and/or injure yourself. Use at your own risk.

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