Is it Safe to Drive With a Cracked Radiator? | YourMechanic Advice

Is it Safe to Drive With a Cracked Radiator?

The radiator in your vehicle is used for cooling the internal combustion of the engine. Coolant is passed through the engine block, the heat is absorbed, and then fed into the radiator. The hot coolant is passed through the radiator, which cools it down and dissipates the heat. Without the radiator, the engine could overheat causing damage to the vehicle.

Some things to watch out for include:

  • Coolant puddle: One sign of a cracked radiator is leaking coolant. The coolant fluid is red or green in color, so if you see a puddle of this under your vehicle, contact a mechanic as soon as possible. The coolant is toxic to both humans and animals so be careful if you have small kids or pets. Do not drive with leaking coolant.

  • Overheating engine: Since the radiator cools the engine, a cracked radiator may not cool the engine like it is supposed to. This can cause the engine heat to rise, and eventually the vehicle will overheat. If your vehicle overheats, pull over to the side of the road right away as driving with an overheating engine can cause more damage to your engine.

  • Constant need to refill: If you constantly have to put coolant in your vehicle, this may be a sign you have a cracked radiator and it is leaking. The coolant needs to be refilled on a regular basis, but if you are filling it up more than normal, this may be a sign something is wrong with your radiator. You should have your coolant system checked before you continue to drive.

  • Replace your radiator: If your radiator is cracked, it may need to be replaced depending on the severity of the damage. A mechanic will be able to let you know how bad the crack is, and whether they will be able to repair it or if the entire radiator will need to be replaced.

  • Keep your coolant fresh: To keep your radiator in good working condition, change the coolant on a regular basis. If you do not change your coolant enough, the radiator can start to corrode and crack over time. This can cause the radiator to leak and the engine to overheat.

A cracked radiator can be dangerous to drive with because the engine may overheat. A cracked radiator does not allow the proper amount of coolant to reach the engine, which causes the overheating. Contact the professionals at YourMechanic to make the correct diagnosis and to repair the radiator properly.

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Rating Summary


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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