Is this a good price for a radiator replacement?

2003 Dodge Caravan SE. 105K miles.

Car place says I have a 3 inch crack in my radiator and it needs to be replaced. Said it’s near the top right where a hose connected, and said it’s a common place for a crack to develop. Said there was only about a gallon of fluid left in it.

Quoted me $520 for replacement, including MOPAR fluid. Is that a good price?

Also: is there anything I could have done to repair the crack if I had caught it when it was small, before it became a large crack? Just wondering.

The car has 105,000 miles on it, and I’ve had it since '06 and have never done a radiator flush on it (stupidly). I imagine that’s what caused the crack?

Are there any other components besides the radiator that I should have them check for possible damage, having never done a radiator flush on it?


EDIT: Radiator fluid actually was replaced in 2017 at 95K miles when water pump was replaced.

That in my opinion is a great price. Radiator failure at this age is expected. For proper maintenance you should change your antifreeze as recommended in the owners manual. Might as well check the manual for other maintenance schedules to keep this thing most dependable in the future.


does this include the radiator hoses too? they should be changed while doing this job.


Remember that there are actually 4 hoses which connect to the radiator on this model–two large coolant hoses and two transmission cooler hoses. All of these should be changed.

I asked him about the radiator hoses, and he said they looked fine and didn’t need replacing. (I had mentioned that I hadn’t done a flush on the car since I’ve had it.) So, no, doesn’t include the hoses

Enter your info here,

And you’ll get an idea what it should cost for your area.


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Good price ? Might be for your location . Could be more in some places or less . It would have to be towed to another shop to get a lower price ( 80.00 to 100.00 towing ) plus you owe the current shop for their time spent . Just let them fix it and move on.

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Ask the shop to replace the thermostat at the same time.


Agree, thermostat and hoses at the same time. Cost me about $700 a few years ago but included some other air dam parts so would guess it is not outrageous. Main issue, is it a good shop and the part a quality part?


I’ve been going to the shop for years. Found them to be very honest and do decent work. I trust that the part will be good. I don’t think they’re going to try to use a cheap part but charge me for a more expensive one. So I think that’s fine.


And as I mentioned, I asked the guy about replacing the thermostat and hoses and he said it didn’t need them. So not sure what to do.

Also, correction to my post. I said I’d never done a flush. Was looking through my repair log and I see that in 2017 at 95K miles, I had the water pump replaced, as it was leaking radiator fluid. At that time, they drained and refilled the radiator fluid. So that fluid had 10K miles on it.

@ tcmichnorth

Thanks for the note. It’s good to know that it’s expected at that age. Makes me feel better. :slight_smile:

For proper maintenance you should change your antifreeze as recommended in the owners manual.

They’re going to be flushing out the old fluid and replacing. Or did you mean in general, going forward?

Yeah, I wasn’t considering taking it to a different shop. I just wanted to know if it was a good price for peace of mind. :slight_smile:

Seems like a decent price. I don’t think frequency of coolant changes would have any effect on developing a crack.

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I have done that work myself on our now gone Caravan and it is pretty involved. Just make sure they use a good radiator and the transmission cooler lines don’t leak after work is done.
I am doubtful flushing the coolant would have prevented this.

I paid around $600-700 to have the radiator replaced on my 2009 Dodge Challenger, for what it’s worth.

Generally speaking, the radiator tends to break over time. It’s not got much to do with how often you have the coolant changed (or not).

Repair cost is just like the price you paid for a vehicle or a house. It does not matter if you got a good price someone will always say you paid too much . That is why I never tell anyone what we paid for anything . If the work was satisfactory then that is all I need .

Radiator problems expected at that age. In years past they used to last longer, but today’s are made to be lightweight, lifespan is the compromise. Replacing coolant every 3 years might help, but not a definitive cure . Once they spring a leak, trying to repair is a fools-errand. Quoted price, assuming it includes parts, labor, and new fluid, that seems very reasonable. Suggest to also replace thermostat and – if a new cap doesn’t come with the new radiator – replace the radiator cap.

The only other consideration is if the engine overheated. Did it?

I would urge you to ask your mechanic to check the engine mounts. If one breaks, the engine can move under acceleration, putting tremendous stress on the upper radiator hose, and cracking the radiator.

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Yes, I meant in general going forward. You were concerned that you may have avoided this problem. Your radiator served you well, but if you follow all of the recommended maintenance schedules you can be sure that you’ve done what you’ve needed to do to prevent unnecessary break downs.

I remember fixing lots of plugged up and/or leakiking “old” radiators. Repair now means replacement, but I don’t think it’s more frequent.

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