How to Replace a Radiator on a PT Cruiser

by Eli LaurensUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Socket set

  • Screwdrivers

  • Pliers

  • Coolant

  • Line bolt wrench

  • Transmission fluid

The Chrysler PT Cruiser uses a pressurized radiator cooling system that is fitted with a transmission fluid cooler. The twin-core radiator can become corroded or damaged, requiring replacement. An average backyard mechanic can replace a PT Cruiser radiator in about an hour.

Disconnect the battery by turning the positive terminal screw counterclockwise. Set the wire aside and do not let it touch any metal.

Jack the vehicle up and place it on the jack stands.

Place the drain pan underneath the front bumper and turn the radiator petcock counterclockwise. Unscrew the radiator cap and allow the unit to drain completely.

Disconnect the transmission fluid lines by turning the steel line bolt counterclockwise. There are two lines, top and bottom, that must be removed. Some fluid may drain out so catch it in the drain pan.

Remove the coolant hoses, top and bottom, by turning their hose clamp screws in a counterclockwise direction. Some types of hose clamps may need to be pinched with pliers to disengage. Coolant will splash out when removing the hoses and can be collected in the drain pan.

Disconnect the A/C line bolts from the condenser with the line bolt wrench after draining the A/C of all freon. This evacuation must be done by a licensed mechanic, and most shops will do this without charge. Set the lines aside so they are not in the way.

Disconnect the fan's electrical wiring plug adapter by disengaging the small clip and pulling it free.

Unbolt the radiator assembly from the top frame mounts, and it will slide out toward the top of the engine compartment. The "radiator assembly" is the twin-core main radiator, the A/C condenser, and the fan housing. These are one complete unit and must be removed as one piece.

Slide a new radiator assembly into place and bolt it to the frame mounts.

Reconnect the transmission lines, the A/C lines, and the top and bottom hoses.

Reconnect the fan electrical adapter by pushing it until a click is heard.

Turn the radiator petcock clockwise, then refill the radiator with coolant from the top fill opening. Cap the radiator when it is full.

Lower the Cruiser from the jack stands. Reconnect the battery.

Replace any lost transmission fluid by filling the system at the transmission dipstick opening. The car must be running when this check is performed.


Use proper safety equipment when working with automotive coolant.


Do not start this procedure without disconnecting the battery.

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