Radiator Repairs

JDM P/L performs radiator replacements for most vehicle types at our Charmhaven workshop.

The radiator is designed to work in unison with the thermostat (the thermostat is a  mechanical device which opens and closes manually) to control the amount of coolant that will flow through the engine.

Air flows over the fins of the radiator, which cools the coolant down. The water pump then pushes the coolant back through the engine.

The majority of radiator services we do are replacements with new units, we normally do not try and repair them. It’s usually cheaper and better practice to replace the radiator with a new unit.

How important is replacing the radiator?

When a radiator is failing, a car’s cooling efficiency is minimised.

The running temperature of the car will increase dramatically. A failing radiator is unable to cool the engine properly.

In a worst-case scenario, the engine temperature will rise and expand to a point where the radiator hoses, heater hoses or the top tank will explode. This can damage the engine beyond repair.

How we test for thermal problems

As Technicians, we have diagnostic tools as well as our experience to draw upon. However, if the cooling problem is difficult to locate we also use a thermal imaging gun. 

This wonderful piece of technology uses infrared to detect heat, friction, electrical resistant and pressure changes. Allowing us a clear map of the heat signature.

We also use coolant test strips to detect the Glycol levels of the coolant. Testing glycol levels tells us if the liquid has diminished. Lastly, we also have a snap on antifreeze hydrometer to test the temperature of the coolant.

How much does it cost to replace a radiator?

The price is usually between $300 and $1,500.

Standard cars (i.e. Holden Commodore) are towards the lower end of this price range, whereas new European cars are often more expensive.

How often do radiators require replacing?

These are not replaced very often. We would estimate that the average person would replace their radiator every three to four years.

What radiator models does JDM P/L recommend?

We provide our customers with several options to choose from. We have seen the market flooded with poor quality radiators, which we avoid. As the saying goes – “the poor man does the job twice”.

Depending on the customer’s situation, we may recommend a very cost-efficient model.

Our preference is to use ADRAD radiators, which are the cream of the crop! With radiators, you get what you pay for

Symptoms of a failing radiator

There are some obvious, and not so obvious warning signs to look out for.

  • The temperature gauge will rise
  • Warning light on the dashboard
  • Leaking coolant on the ground
  • Loss in engine power

What other parts commonly fail with the radiator?

In our experience, we usually find the top and bottom radiator hoses are replaced simultaneously.

If the car is driven with a failing radiator to excess, both the head gasket and motor could be damaged, which is a very expensive repair!

The process to replace a radiator

To start the process, please use our book online page or call us to make a booking.

Our Technicians will look over the vehicle and:

  • Use a radiator pressure tester to apply pressure to the cooling system (as per manufacturer’s specifications)
  • Locate any leaks
  • Remove the radiator
  • Replace the radiator with a new unit
  • Refit cooling fans, hoses and occasionally transmission lines
  • Perform a flush  – flushing involves using a chemical solution which removes all traces of the old coolant, as well as removes rust and dirt particles
  • Replace coolant with the correct type for the individual vehicle
  • Road test the vehicle
  • Allow the vehicle to sit stationary and recheck coolant levels