How Much Should a Radiator Replacement Cost?by Johnno CaryUpdated August 06, 2023
One of the first things that may go through your mind when you notice coolant leaking under the front of your car is how much it will cost to repair it. The car radiator is an essential part of any automotive cooling and heating system and can fail from age, impact, vibration or corrosion. Broken radiator replacement costs vary greatly due to a number of variables and must be adressed as soon as possible to prevent overheating, build-up, clogs, continued coolant flow, decreased airflow and engine damage.
The actual type of radiator also matters for your price range. The upfront cost of the radiator itself depends on its construction, features and size. A basic new radiator with an aluminum core and plastic tanks, as in a 2001 Toyota Corolla, may cost $120. A larger high-end electric radiator of the same construction which also contains an internal transmission and oil cooler, as in a 2005 BMW 3, costs about $360.
The labor cost of the radiator repair depends on the shop labor time that the radiator calls for and the shop's hourly rate. A 2002 GMC Yukon radiator calls for 1.6 hours of labor while a 2006 Audi A6 calls for 3.4 hours. Assuming a shop labor rate of $100 per hour the GMC would be $160 and the Audi would be $340. If your car has some kind of warranty through the dealership, this could also help you save money and bring down the replacement or repair cost of a bad radiator.
The type and amount of coolant or antifreeze will affect the cost of a radiator system replacement. There are many types of coolant that your car may use and they can have an average cost between $12 to more than $25 per gallon. The quantity varies by vehicle; the 2001 Civic calls for 1 gallon and the 2004 Chevrolet 3500 diesel takes approximately 5 gallons.
During the replacement of a radiator it may be required that you replace radiator mounts, water pump, head gasket, radiator hose, thermostat, cooling fan clamps, hoses, or other cooling system parts. These will add to the cost of the replacement.