How to Replace Radiator Covers

Written by paul vaughn
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Most modern vehicles have a plastic cover that rests on top of the radiator and cooling fan area for safety. This cover is removed to access the radiator cap and to expose the headlight assemblies for adjustment and bulb replacement. It is possible to damage the cover during removal if you use too much force when removing the screws or pulling the cover loose.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 5/16-inch socket
  • 1/4-inch drive ratchet
  • Replacement radiator cover
  • Shop towels

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    How to replace radiator covers

  1. 1

    Remove existing cover, using your 5/16-inch socket and 1/4-inch drive ratchet and turning counter clockwise. Be careful not to lose any of the screws, as the new cover does not come with new screws.

  2. 2

    Clean any coolant, oil or debris from the area under the old cover, using a shop towel.

  3. 3

    Line the new radiator cover up with the holes on the front grill area and the radiator cap, so that the holes match up and the elevated part of the cover is over the radiator cap.

  4. 4

    Snug each screw down by hand, turning clockwise and making sure all the holes stay lined up.

  5. 5

    Use the same process with your socket and ratchet until all the screws are snug. Do not over-tighten the screws. The cover is plastic and will break if too much force is applied, leaving you with the same problem again.

Tips and warnings

  • Apply the minimum force necessary to tighten the screws to prevent stripping threads and breaking plastic.
  • Misuse of hand tools always has a potential for injury. Use your tools correctly.

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