Part needed

Hello, My husband recently noticed his radiator was leaking and has a crack. We are wondering whether we should get a brand new one or go with a used one? How long can we go with the radiator cracked? If we go with a used one…does any one have one? We have not been able to find a used radiator in our area (Minneapolis MN). Thanks for any advice.

Car type: 2000 Suzuki Esteem (wagon), Manual Trans, 1.8L

A radiator is generally not a great bet as a used part. Here’s what I would propose the cheap out on this repair (in order of descending preferability). One, depending on what kind of radiator it is, you might be able to have a radiator shop repair the one you’ve got. Secondly, you can usually find bottom-barrel super cheap radiators online.I’ve used these a couple of times and while they were clearly not up to the quality of an OEM or name brand radiator and there were some installation annoyances like bolts that didn’t line up quite right, once installed they worked just fine. Thirdly, if it isn’t a huge gushing crack, you can try using a radiator stop leak product in the radiator or a sealing cement like JB Weld on the outside of the radiator. This would most likely be a temporary fix at best, but sometimes you hear stories of such products working for a long time.

Definitely do get some sort of fix in place sooner rather than later. Even a little leak can reduce the effectiveness of the cooling system drastically by reducing the system pressure and letting air in. Not to mention it’d be nice not to be dripping antifreeze all over the neighborhood.

Go new. It should cost less than $200. I just replaced mine in my Ford Explorer, and the radiator was $142.00 after tax. It came with a lifetime warranty. I coupled that with anti-freeze, a new thermostat, and a new radiator cap for under $200 total. Did a flush and fill before replacing the radiator, so the new radiator had nice and clean cooling system to work with.

It is only a short matter of time before that crack becomes a gushing hole. Normally happens at the worst moment, like caught in traffic or drive home late at night on a lonely road. And a used radiator is a crap shoot on how long it will last. Normally, a salvage yard gives you 30 to 90 days. These aluminum and plastic radiators typically last 7 to 10 years, so you got your 10 years out of it. If you expect to own this car for only a few months to a year, used may get you by. Any longer than that, go with new.

If you are even a little bit handy, you can remove the radiator on most cars. Take it to a radiator shop, and you can usually get it fixed and rodded out for about 100 bucks the same day. A saturday is a good day for this if you get the radiator out on fri. night and go to the shop when it opens. Give the guy a hot coffee or a cold soda depending on the weather, and he will expedite your radiator. put it back in in the afternoon. go for breakfast while he is working, cause you do not want to watch him work, its rude. Good luck, but I would avoid any of that radiator fix it goop it has never worked for me and it makes a mess. In an emergeny, when you have a small hole in a radiator, unscrew the cap, so it is loose but still retained, and you can drive short distances with no pressure in the system. Oh, and if you ever overheat, and blow all or most of your coolant due to a bad radiator or hose, stop and let your engine cool down so it is only warm to the touch before you add more coolant. cold water in a hot engine is a sure fire way to crack a block or head.

Just go get a new one. Auto Zone, O’Reilly’s, Car Quest, they’re all good.

If you want used call LKQ Star at 800-362-9451. They have yards across the USA and can locate. This is my best source for used. I buy from them almost every day.

You could go new aftermarket from places like Keystone 309-698-0700. Call them and ask for the location nearest you. Sometimes/sometimes these are not an exact fit so compare carefully.

Of course if the price for a new is not that bad go with that. Use the most cost effective easily obtainable one you can.

Thanks everyone! I am thinking a new one is the way to go…anyone have advice how to get my hubbie to go along with that? Maybe I will ask for it as a valentine gift…for him!

I looked these guys up when shopping for my Ford’s radiator. Found a local guy who beat their price by $45 without knowing the other quotes I received.

Used may be bad, I’ve seen it and it’s a pain in the rear. New will have a warranty and more easily obtainable. It also may be more cost effective.

I’m not really an expert, but I have replaced the radiators on two of my cars, and I’ve seen lots of radiator queries here, and the expert responses. Here’s how I would look at it:

Radiators nowadays are wear-out items, engineered for maximum manufacturability; lots of plastic, not like the old-time brass ones you could solder up. If your car is on its original radiator, it’s about ten years old, which is not an unusual age for one to wear out. If you DID find a used one, it would already have several years of age on it, so you could not expect it to last so long. And finding a used one is hard because the salvage yards won’t bother pulling them because they can’t make enough money on them because everybody is too smart to put in a used radiator.

Get a nice aftermarket new radiator.

I’ve bought several from 1-800-RADIATOR AKA and never had one come back.