How Long Does It Take to Fix a Radiator? [Everything You Need To Know]

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A non-starting engine is the last thing you want when you’re pressed for time. Many times,  this is usually due to a faulty radiator. You may need to fix the radiator, but this might take some time.

So how long does it take to fix a radiator?

how long should it take to replace a radiator

It’s safe to say that a professional mechanic shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. If additional services are required, it could take 30 minutes to an hour. There is a possibility that it will take more time, depending on the condition of the related parts. However, if you’re up to fixing it by yourself, it will take 4 to 6 hours.

This might not satisfy your search for the answer. That’s why we’ve provided all the details about this in our article. 

So read along to find more information on this.

How Long Does It Take to Fix a Radiator?

how long does it take to fix a radiator

The fixing time is influenced by a range of factors.  Such as the level of mechanical expertise, choosing the right tool assortments, etc. It also depends on your car’s model and the proficiency of the person fixing it.

However, let’s say it’s being done by a professional car mechanic. Their service usually takes only around 20 minutes if there are minor problems.

Sometimes you may also have to replace the radiator. This takes quite a long time.

Most of the time for unprofessional people, the first step is most time-consuming. That is, finding the actual problem.

Locating the damaged, even the usual parts of the radiator are challenging for non-professionals.

So considering the whole scenario, a generic assumption can now be made. 

Professionals may take 3 to 4 hours maximum to fix a radiator, in case of severe damages. For non-professionals, it may simply take double, that is 6 to 7 hours.

If you are up for a total replacement, it should take 2-3 hours. Yet again, this will vary depending on whether a professional is fixing it or a non-professional. The time will be doubled to 4-6 hours if a non-professional does it.

How Does The Radiator Become Defective?

It can be repaired more quickly if you know the cause of the damage in advance. Several reasons may cause damage to your radiator.

Your radiator will be heavily damaged if you experience serious car accidents. For instance, head-to-head collision with another vehicle. 

Another scenario can be your car overheating. If the car often overheats, then the radiator takes more beating. This will hamper the shelf life of the radiator.  Also, using a good oil stabilizer like Lucas can increase your radiators longevity.

Signs of A Faulty Radiator:

When it comes to finding a bad radiator, it won’t be obvious to find out right away. Consider these signs of a heater that isn’t working before making a decision.

  • The vehicle is overheated under normal driving conditions
  • The vehicle’s cooling system is leaking
  • Sludge accumulates in your radiator
  • Low levels of coolant

How To Fix A Radiator? [2 Different Ways]

How To Fix A Radiator

A faulty radiator may seem complex to fix but it is not. These problems can easily be fixed. We have curated 2 methods of fixing a radiator. So take a look at this- 

Method 1: Draining and Flushing Your Radiator

Draining and flushing the radiator is one way of fixing the leak in your radiator. Keep in mind that if you don’t follow all the steps correctly, your radiator will have a short lifespan.

Step 1: Drain the coolant by lifting the vehicle:

give your car some time to rest. Let the radiator cool down. After that, lightly tap the top of the radiator. Check if it’s cool to touch.

Now for draining the old coolant from your radiator, you will need a jack. To raise your car, place the jack underneath it. Raise to a height that is preferable for accessing your body.

Step 2: Drain The Coolant:

Once your car is lifted enough, place a container under it to collect the coolant.

Then, Open the petcock of your radiator. It is located on the bottom side of your radiator. Rotate the valve attached to it to open it. Drain all the coolant to the container you placed at the bottom of the car. 

Step 3: Wash And Refill The Radiator:

After finishing the draining, it is time for flushing. It is needed to wash out the leftover old coolant from your radiator. 

Pour in fresh water after removing the old coolant. Use a hose to do the job.  Start your engine of the car. Make sure to give the engine some time to warm up before you start it up.

Change the water and repeat the whole process 2 to 3 times. Your radiator is now cleaned and ready to take new fresh coolant.

Add water and coolant to the radiator to refill it. Generally, most vehicles need a mixture of 1 to 1 ratio of water and coolant for better efficiency.

Choosing coolants for your car can be a tricky process. For your convenience we have recommended some you can make use to-


PEAK PXAB53 Antifreeze Coolant

Product Description:

  • Brand: PEAK
  • Model: ‎Antifreeze Coolant, 1 gal., 50/50
  • Weight: 0.01 ounces
  • Size: 1 gal.
Engine Ice TYDS008

Engine Ice TYDS008 High Performance Coolant

Product Description:

  • Brand: Engine Ice
  • Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Model: TYDS008
  • Size: Single (64 oz)

Method 2: Sealing leaks of a radiator 

Leaking can cause heavy damage as discussed earlier. The very first thing you have to do to fix this is to replace the radiator cap. You can purchase any radiator caps suitable for your vehicle in any nearby auto parts store.

All you need to do is seal the cracks with a sealant, preferably epoxy.

To apply epoxy, first, clean the area where the cracks are visible. Spray some epoxy with the leak sealant. Rub with your hands to the whole damaged area. 

Sometimes the cracks can be so devastating that they can’t be repaired. In that case, you have to replace the radiator. 

How To Make Your Radiator Long-Lasting? [Tips & Tricks]

The radiator’s main and secondary components must be maintained on a regular basis. The car’s radiator is one of the engine’s most sensitive components. Your engine life and efficiency also depend on it.

Here are some tips to make your radiator more efficient.

  • The pressure cap keeps the radiator’s pressure constant. Maintain a tight fit on the radiator cap at all times.
  • Keep the coolant level stable and do not allow it to fall. Use only high-quality, pre-formed coolant.
  • Clean the radiator on a regular basis to keep it from rusting.
  • Make it a habit to drain the coolant and replace the radiator on an annual basis.

That’s it. We hope following all the discussion will give you deep knowledge about the radiator.

Any More Questions?

How long should I apply the epoxy before driving the car?

You should at least leave it for 12 hours to set the epoxy. 12 hours should be enough to set the epoxy material to the surface.

Is there any danger if I open the coolant system before getting cold?

Yes, there is. Sometimes, the hot coolant may spray out from behind the cap. That can do damage to your skin. So, always be aware of that. If it’s urgent to open the valve, maintain a safe distance.

How much does it cost to get a radiator replaced?

Average cost should be around 300 to 400 dollars. Along with maintenance cost, labor cost e.t.c.

Bottom Line

That’s everything we could offer you on how long does it take to fix a radiator? We will be glad if it helps you. 

Wish you all the best!

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Robert Lozano

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