How to Take a Radiator Off

Updated February 21, 2017

In order to repair or replace a leaking or broken radiator, you need to remove it from the engine compartment. You can take off the radiator using just a few tools at home in a couple of hours.

Place a catch pan under the radiator. Remove the radiator cap and open the radiator's drain valve with your hand or a pair of slip joint pliers. Drain the coolant and then close the drain valve.

Remove the upper and lower radiator shroud if your particular model is equipped with them. Use a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Disconnect the upper and lower hoses from the radiator. Use a pair of rib joint pliers or standard screwdriver to loosen the hose clamps at the radiator. Twist and pull the hoses from the radiator fittings with your hand.

Unplug the radiator and condenser fans, if your model is equipped with them. Unfasten the fans' mounting bolts using a wrench or ratchet and socket and remove them from the vehicle.

Detach the oil cooler lines from the radiator using a flare nut wrench to avoid damage to the retaining nuts.

Unplug any electrical sensors attached to the radiator.

Disconnect the reservoir hose from the radiator filler neck using the rib joint pliers.

Unfasten any brackets over the top of the radiator using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Unscrew any bolts from the sides of the radiator using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Raise the front of the vehicle using a floor jack and support it on 2 jack stands. Chock the rear wheels and apply the parking brake.

Check underneath the radiator base and make sure there are no mounting bolts you need to remove.

Lift the radiator straight up and away from the vehicle engine compartment.

Things You'll Need

  • Catch pan
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Wrench
  • Ratchet and socket
  • Rib joint pliers
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Flare nut wrench
  • Floor jack and 2 jack stands
  • Wheel chocks
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