Clogged/Leak Car Radiator: Repair vs Replacement Cost Comparison

It is important for an internal combustion engine to be cooled down because the friction caused by its moving components end up generating a lot of heat. If the engine is not properly cooled while it is running, then it could overheat and cause damage to its own internal components.

Coolant fluid passes through the hot internal components of the engine. As it absorbs the heat, the coolant passes through the radiator in order to be cooled down again. The radiator takes heat out of the coolant before the fluid gets recycled back into the engine again. If you don’t have a functioning radiator in your car, then it could cause a lot of expensive damage.

You’ll know when the radiator has problems because the temperature gauge’s needle will point to the red zone. This could indicate that you either have a leaky radiator or a clogged radiator. Sometimes a leak can be the result of a clogged radiator tube because it causes pressure to build within the tube, resulting in leaky valves. If that’s not the cause of the leak, then you could have damaged radiator tubes caused by an accident or a piece of debris.

Repair Cost

If radiator leak – It will repair by welding or patch up at leaking area and or replace upper or lower radiator tube. It will cost you around $100 – $300.

You can try to repair the problem by flushing out your radiator and inspecting the radiator tubes for any small holes that may be in them. You can patch up the small holes without replacing the tubes. But if the holes are too big, then a replacement of the radiator tubes will be better for your radiator.

If radiator extreme clogged (cannot clean by radiator flush) – It will repair by clean inside all radiator paths include remove and fix lower and upper radiator tube. It will cost you around $100 – $200.

As for a clogged radiator issue, you’ll either have debris built up in your radiator tubes or on the face of the radiator. If it’s on the face, then airflow is probably being restricted. You can repair the issue by spraying water onto the debris to remove it. Compressed air can also work instead of water too. But if the radiator’s tubes are clogged with debris, it’ll be a much tougher job. You’ll have to remove the radiator and disassemble it before you can clean it out.

Here are the summary job done for radiator repair:

  • Keep the vehicle cool
  • Open the radiator cap
  • Drain radiator coolant
  • Remove radiator hoses
  • remove radiator bolt
  • Remove old radiator assy
  • Open upper and lower tube (and cleaning all radiator paths)
  • Welding leaking area (sometimes replace upper and lower tube by modified parts)
  • Fix back tubes
  • Fix repaired radiator the car
  • Fix radiator hose
  • Fix radiator bolt
  • Fill the coolant (Include in the reservoir)
  • Close radiator cap
  • Start the engine

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Replacement Cost

Instead of repair leak or clogged in your radiator, the another option is: Replace radiator assembly (depend on damage condition). That would cost you anywhere from $500 to $1,200. You should exhaust all repair options first before considering a replacement.

Here are the summary of mechanic job done for radiator replacement:

  • Keep the vehicle cool
  • Open the radiator cap
  • Drain radiator coolant
  • Remove radiator hose
  • remove radiator bolt
  • Remove old radiator assy
  • Fix new radiator assy
  • Fix radiator hose
  • Fix radiator bolt
  • Fill the coolant (Include in the reservoir)
  • Close radiator cap
  • Start the engine

Tools: Box wrench, Pliers, Coolant Drainer

Parts: Radiator Assy, Rad Coolant

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