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How Much Does a Radiator Replacement Cost?

$250 - $1,300

    How Much Does a Radiator Replacement Cost?

    The radiator is one of the most important parts of your car. Modern combustion engines produce an incredible amount of heat as they operate. The radiator cools the engine and keeps it from overheating. If yours breaks, the radiator repair cost is between $250 and $1,300 for most.

    Radiator replacement cost is divided into parts and labour. Both of these items can vary according to where you live. However, labour costs are one of the factors that differ the most when estimnating radiator repair price. The national average in Australia is $25 per hour. Here is what you can expect to pay per hour for labour in different areas of Australia.

    City Average Cost (per hour)
    Sydney $20 – $50
    Melbourne $25 – $40
    Brisbane $25 – $40
    Canberra $25 – $50
    Perth $25 – $35
    Darwin $20 – $30
    Hobart $25 – $40
    Adelaide $20 – $35

    What is a Radiator?

    A radiator works as a heat exchanger. The radiator has a series of thin pipes. Inside of these pipes is a coolant. The coolant circulates throughout the engine, where it picks up heat. It then flows through the radiator, where it loses heat to the cooler atmosphere. The system works because heat flows from areas that are warmer to areas that are cooler. The coolant is circulated through the system by a pump.

    Signs your Radiator needs Replacing

    If your radiator is no longer doing its job and keeping your engine cool, then you need to have it repaired or replaced. It is always better to do it sooner rather than later because if you do not, it will damage the engine. Radiator replacement price might seem expensive, but it is not as expensive as replacing the engine due to heat damage. Here are some signs that your radiator needs to be replaced.

    • Overheating vehicle. If your vehicle’s temperature gauge indicates that your vehicle is overheating, then it may be the radiator. The car might smell hot, or you may smell something burning.
    • Vehicle leaking fluid. Fluid leaking can be from a number of places. Coolant is usually green, but it might be red, pink, or orange. If it is leaking from the front of the car, then it is more than likely coolant.
    • Steam coming from bonnet. Steam coming from underneath your bonnet is a good sign that your radiator has gone bad.
    • Physical damage. If you have been in an accident and the front of your car is damaged, then you probably need a new radiator.

    Benefits of Radiator Repair/Replacement

    If your radiator has a catastrophic failure, then you have no choice but to replace it quickly. However, if the system has a minor leak, it might be tempting to put off the repair. There are many reasons why you should not put off repair because car radiator cost is much less expensive than the cost of replacing an engine.

    • Ensures long-term health of your engine. Heat can damage many parts of the engine. Components made of plastic or rubber can become brittle and break when exposed to heat. This can lead to other parts of the car breaking, too.
    • Protects the water pump. If the radiator continues to fail to do its job properly, then the water pump will eventually fail, too. When the water pump goes out, you will not only have to replace the radiator, and you will have the additional costs of the water pump, too.
    • Ensures optimal power and performance. Today’s performance engines are made to operate within a certain temperature range. An overheating engine will get poor fuel mileage and might experience a loss of power and acceleration.

    Factors Impacting the Cost of a Radiator Replacement

    Several factors could affect car radiator price. Keep in mind that a bad radiator is only one part of the equation. If your radiator has not been working properly for some time, then you might need other parts replaced, too. Here are a few factors that can determine the cost of radiator replacement.

    Make of your vehicle. Radiators for some car manufacturers are more expensive than others. Some cars have special radiators that might be more expensive. If you have a luxury make, such as a BMW or Mercedes, you can expect to pay more to have your radiator replaced.

    Model of your vehicle. The model of your vehicle will also affect cost. You can expect to pay less for the radiator on a subcompact than on a large truck. Some high-performance models also have more expensive radiators because they produce more heat.

    Age of your vehicle. In general, you will pay more for newer car radiators than for older ones where aftermarket parts are available. However, this is not always the case, especially if you have a classic car or antique. For some makes and models, parts might no longer readily be available, and this can affect cost.

    Size of your vehicle. Big vehicles produce more heat and require bigger radiators, which makes them more expensive. In addition, the more powerful the engine, the more you can expect to pay for a radiator. The cost of the radiator is relative to the amount of heat that it needs to dispel.

    Price Estimates for Different Vehicle Manufacturers

    Here are a few examples of radiator costs according to vehicle manufacture.

    Vehicle Manufacturer Average Cost
    Ford The average cost to replace the radiator on a Ford F-150 is between $700 and $1,200.
    Holden The replacement cost for a Holden Commodore is around $350 to $600.
    Subaru Subaru radiator replacement cost ranges between $330 and $700.
    BMW BMW radiator replacement cost is between $600 and $820 for most.
    Honda A honda radiator replacement cost for a Civic is between $450$720.


    Price Estimates for Radiator Parts

    If you are fortunate, only part of the radiator might need to be replaced. If this is the case, the cost will be much less.

    Type of Part Average Cost
    Hose Radiator hose replacement cost is between $130 and $250.
    Fan Radiator fan replacement cost is between $700 and $900.
    Water pump Radiator water pump replacement cost is between $600 and $800.

    How to Hire a Mechanic

    When you begin researching radiator installation cost, you will find big differences in price. In general, parts costs are typically the same, but labour costs can differ significantly. Here are a few tips to help you hire a professional who can get the job done right and at a fair price.

    How to Create an Accurate Estimate

    To help your mechanic give you an accurate estimate over the phone, you will need to have the following information.

    • What is the make, model and year of your vehicle?
    • What is the VIN number of your vehicle?
    • When did the problem start?

    Licencing and Qualifications

    Anyone who does car repair professionally must have a licence. However, from there, you will find a wide range of skill levels and experience. Here are a few questions to ask before hiring a mechanic.

    • Are you licenced to do this type of repair?
    • How long have you been repairing cars?
    • Are you familiar with this make and model?

    How to Save Money Hiring a Mechanic

    Saving money is always a concern, but you want to make sure that you do not sacrifice quality. A poorly performed repair job and end up costing you more in the end than having the job done right the first time. Here are a few ways to save money.

    • Ask your mechanic to use aftermarket parts.
    • Get at least three estimates on the cost.
    • Trust your judgement when talking to them.


    How long does it take to replace a radiator?

    How long it takes to replace a radiator depends on the tools and experience of the mechanic. In general, it takes about an hour for most mechanics to replace a radiator.

    Can you drive a car with a broken radiator?

    Technically, you can drive a car with a small leak, but it is not a good idea. The longer you drive it with a broken radiator, the more damage it will cause to the engine.



    * The cost data is based on Oneflare and third-party sources

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