How to Replace a Radiator in a VW Beetle

by Editorial TeamUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Jack and jack stand

  • Resealable container

  • Engine coolant

  • Distilled water

How to Replace a Radiator in a VW Beetle. It's important to keep the radiator on your VW Beetle in good shape, as a damaged radiator can cause overheating and destroy your car's engine. If you have some mechanical know-how, you can save money by replacing the radiator yourself. Here's how to replace the radiator in VW Beetle models after 1998.

Jack up the front end of the VW Beetle and put it securely on a jack stand.

Open the drain on the bottom of the radiator and drain the fluids into a resealable container. Remove the front wheels and inner fender liners. Take off the splash pan.

Unhook the headlights and take them out.

Remove the bolts and screws holding the front bumper and fender, remove the front clips. Carefully pull off the fenders and bumper covers.

Unfasten the radiator mounting bolts and remove the radiator carefully from the car. Replace it with a new radiator and reattach the fenders, bumper covers, headlights, and all associated components in the reverse order. Be sure the electrical connections are connected properly.

Fill the radiator with a mixture of half engine coolant and half distilled water. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes with the radiator cap off. This will bleed the air from the system. Check the fluid level and add more if necessary, then put the radiator cap on securely.

Lift the car enough to pull out the jack stand, then lower it and remove the jack.


Drain engine coolant into sealed containers. If the coolant is clean, reuse it. Otherwise, take it to a garage or hazardous waste facility for proper disposal.


Remember that cats and dogs are attracted to antifreeze, which can be fatal if ingested. Be sure to keep antifreeze in a tightly sealed container and clean up any spills immediately. To avoid scalds, wear gloves and protective clothing, and always be sure the engine is completely cool before replacing the radiator. The steam and hot liquid can cause serious burns.

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