How to Replace a Radiator in a Kia Spectra

by Editorial TeamUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Resealable container

  • Replacement hoses, if needed

  • Replacement radiator

  • Antifreeze

  • Distilled water

How to Replace a Radiator in a Kia Spectra. It's essential to keep the radiator on your Kia Spectra in good condition, as a leaky radiator can cause overheating and potential engine damage. However, radiators can develop holes or corrode over time. If you're mechanically inclined, you can save money by replacing the radiator yourself. Although the process is essentially the same for any year or model, here's how to replace the radiator in the popular 2002 Spectra.

Be sure the ignition is in the "Off" or "Lock" position, and disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent short circuits.

Loosen the radiator drain on the bottom of the radiator. If there is a splash guard, remove it. Open the drain and let the fluids empty into a resealable container. Remove the connecting pins and clamps on the lower radiator hose, and remove the hose.

Remove the connections and clamps on the upper radiator hose, and unfasten the mounting bolts on the upper cooling fan. Remove the upper radiator hose. Inspect the hoses, and if they're damaged or worn, replace them.

Take off the mounting bolts and brackets on the upper radiator mount. If you plan to remove the cooling fan along with the radiator, disconnect the electrical connector. If you don't plan to remove the cooling fan, remove the upper mounting bolts on the fan.

Lift the radiator up and out of the vehicle, being careful not to damage the radiator fins. Install the cooling fans and other attachments to the new radiator, and make sure the blades turn freely before you install the new radiator.

Install the new radiator and reconnect the radiator hoses, and all clamps, bolts and other attachments, in the reverse order in which they were removed. Fill the new radiator with a combination of half antifreeze and half distilled water.

Start the engine and let it run for several minutes with the radiator cap off. Add more coolant mixture if needed, put the cap on and check for leaks.


Be sure to drain all engine fluids into resealable containers and recycle them or dispose of them properly by taking them to a garage or to your neighborhood hazardous waste disposal center.


Remember that cats and dogs are attracted to antifreeze, which can be fatal if ingested. Clean up any spills as soon as they happen. Be sure the engine is completely cool before replacing the radiator because the hot liquid and steam can cause serious burns. It's also a good idea to wear gloves and protective clothing.

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