How to Buy a Good Quality Radiator | YourMechanic Advice

How to Buy a Good Quality Radiator

The numerous moving parts of a vehicle are certain to rub together, causing friction which generates a generous amount of heat. The motor oil that is being pumped in as lubrication can only do so much – it can’t reduce all of the heat energy being produced and this excess heat will cause delicate parts to begin breaking down much sooner than expected. To keep the engine safe, the radiator helps bleed off some of that extra heat.

Radiators help dissipate heat by passing through a coolant into the car engine, a critical function that ensures the vehicle will keep running within acceptable parameters. While radiators are not overly cheap, they are much less expensive than replacing an engine. A centrifugal pump transfers the coolant from the overly hot engine to the radiator, which then cools down the liquid by transferring that heat into the air to reduce the temperature before the liquid is returned to the engine to begin the process again.

Here are some helpful tips about radiators:

  • Aluminum fins on the radiator work in parallel to help bleed off the heat from the coolant fluid passing through the pipes.

  • Another type of fin is called a turbulator, and this particular fin helps increase the liquid flowing through the pipes. Liquids flowing through the middle of the pipe may not cool down as quickly as fluid that is touching the pipes themselves – and the turbulator, as the name suggests, increases the turbulence of the coolant increasing the amount of liquid that has a chance to touch the walls of the pipe.

  • Aluminum is often used for radiators for its durability and lack of corrosion.

The staggering variety of radiators on the market today makes choosing one challenging to all but the most knowledgeable driver. Key factors include airflow, tubing, construction, and cost. Here are a few things to consider when making a decision on buying a radiator:

  • Radiator fan: Radiator fans can be either electrical or mechanical – with electrical being the preferred version as mechanical fans can consume as much as 20 horsepower, and electrical fans consume much less.

  • Strong wide tubes: It’s important to get tubes as wide and strong as possible to carry the volume of liquid that you need to carry, without the chance of these important parts breaking down.

  • Free flowing: Keeping the coolant cool is the key reason for having a radiator – be sure that the coolant is able to freely flow through the pipes and radiator before you make a purchase.

When you’re looking for cost-effective and good quality radiators, you can consider aftermarket parts instead of OEM. However, you want to be very cautious of remanufactured parts as they may have hidden problems like tubes that haven’t quite cracked yet, but may have weaknesses that aren’t yet visible.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality radiators to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a radiator that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on radiator replacement.

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Recent Car Radiator Replacement reviews

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21 years of experience
56 reviews
21 years of experience
Lexus LS400 - Radiator - Indian Springs, Nevada
Michael was very professional and efficient in performing the service he did on my vehicle. I will definitely request him for service on our vehicles. His 21 years of experience as a Mechanic definitely showed in his service. Thanks again, Michael!
Hyundai Tiburon - Radiator - Henderson, Nevada
This was my first encounter with Michael. I had previously done business with another mechanic from the site who wasn't available. My car had been in an accident 5 years ago. The front frame was bent/caved in a little. I knew this would make the installation of a new radiator more difficult. My old radiator was leaking after 17 years and it was time for a new one. Michael showed up and almost immediately started working. Michael was dressed appropriately in mechanic clothing. I appreciated this. Michael had all the necessary tools to complete the job within the time frame allotted. Michael was polite, friendly, wore a face mask, and got the job done properly. I did not however like or approve of draining the radiator fluid on the asphalt. In this case, there needed to be a drain pan or bucket used. Pet's can get sick and the radiator fluid stuck to my shoes. Outside of this matter, I would indeed recommend Micahel and I would use him again.


15 years of experience
43 reviews
15 years of experience
Lincoln Navigator - Radiator - Surprise, Arizona
I'm very particular with my vehicles and Robert Farmer didn't disappoint. Will use his services again.
Hyundai Tucson - Radiator - Mesa, Arizona
Robert was great. Very friendly and knowledgeable. He was on time, completed the work in less time then quoted. We are extremely happy with the work he does. Will definitely try to ask for him specifically for any other work we might do in the future.


21 years of experience
125 reviews
21 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Radiator - Keller, Texas
My experience with was spectacular thanks to Robert! Robert was very knowledgeable, professional and patient as he worked on my radiator replacement. He went the extra mile to help me figure out how to secure the right parts and materials for the repair needed on my 2009 Toyota Corolla. I was very pleased and would refer others to use Robert and Thanks!!
Chevrolet Tahoe - Radiator - Mansfield, Texas
I truly appreciate Robert coming out on this hot Sunday morning to repair my Tahoe. He was very professional, informative, and a joy to talk too. Thank you Robert for your service!!!


32 years of experience
20 reviews
32 years of experience
Chevrolet G20 - Car Radiator Replacement - Sacramento, California
Called me three times and kept me informed and confirmed what he was doing. Called and asked if he could come early if ok. It was and he we looked everything over showed me the parts and finished the job asap. Recommended highly. Thank yyou Steve Turner

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