How Often Should I Replace My Car Radiator?

Is it time to get a new radiator? One of the most crucial elements to your engine’s coolant system is your radiator. This large piece helps keep your engine running properly, but won’t last forever. Discover today how to replace a radiator, how long your radiator should last and where to find the best deals on radiator parts and fluid.

Signs of a Bad Radiator

There are several signs to watch out for when maintaining your radiator. Here are a few common signs that you may need to repair or replace this essential coolant component:

  • Overheating vehicle
  • Significant coolant leak
  • Sludge in your radiator
  • Continuously running out of coolant

Replacing Your Radiator Fluid

Before you replace your radiator, consider whether the source of the problem is truly the radiator or simply your radiator fluid. Low radiator fluid or compromised fluid can cause the same signs and symptoms of radiator damage. As radiator fluid is used, contaminants can build up and the constant heat can cause the fluid to become too acidic.

 

Just like your engine oil, your radiator fluid doesn’t have a definite lifespan. Depending on your driving habits and climate, you can expect between 24 and 36 months of use, or 24,000 to 36,000 miles before you need to change your radiator fluid. Shop for premium fluid at your local auto parts store to find a brand that’ll last longer and perform better. If replacing your fluid doesn’t solve the problem, consider repairing or replacing your radiator.

Replacing Your Radiator

A properly maintained radiator should last for years. However, radiator damage is common, particularly if the radiator fluid hasn’t been replaced consistently. Radiators have a series of fins, pipes and other elements that can easily be bent and broken. Pipes can also rust if water was added to the radiator rather than a mixture of coolant and water. Finally, radiators can become clogged and damaged when too much sludge builds up in the pipes.

If any of these happen, it’s time to replace your radiator. Replacing your radiator requires some skill, a few tools and most of a day. First, you’ll need to set up your workspace and drain your old radiator. Next, determine whether the entire radiator is compromised or if the problem is a single bearing, O-ring or other easily replaceable component.

You’ll need to disconnect the radiator, including all the hoses, cooling fan, transmission lines and other components linked with your radiator. Check your owner’s manual to ensure you don’t miss an electrical connection or radiator hose.

Finally, all that’s left is to install your new radiator, add coolant, bleed air from the system and start up your engine. This entire process can be complicated and is dependent on your particular vehicle, so it’s a good idea to discuss your project with your local auto parts store before beginning.

Finding the Best Prices

With proper care and maintenance, your new radiator should last over a decade. Whether you need to replace your radiator or simply replace the coolant in your system, discover how you can save money by joining a local rewards program. Enjoy a cool engine and improved performance with a functioning radiator.

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