Radiator Replacement Cost Guide | Airtasker UK (2024)

Have you ever been in a car and see the temperature indicator light up? In other words, the vehicle you are driving is at risk for overheating and a warning signal alerts you to the issue. It is fairly unnerving because it means your vehicle may be about to cease functioning, breakdown or experience multiple mechanical failures.

In most instances, a high-temperature indicator is meant to warn you of problems in the car’s air conditioning and cooling system, with the radiator a major area of concern. In this radiator replacement cost guide, we are going to learn a bit about the radiator, warning signs that it may be failing and how much to expect to pay to get it replaced.

What does the radiator do?

Engines create heat through the process of combustion, but that heat cannot remain trapped in the engine or the vehicle in general. The radiator is a heat transfer unit that relies on coolant and air to eliminate the heat and keep the vehicle running. It works with a water pump to keep the engine cooled and is part of a closed system that is required in every sort of vehicle.

A radiator may feature two tanks and a core as well as a cooling system for transmission fluid (for automatic transmission vehicles). The tanks are connected to one another, and coolant passes between them. A radiator fan blows air over the radiator and reduces the coolant’s temperature. Unfortunately, the components in a radiator can crack and leak. Radiators can also clog, and whenever there are any such issues, an engine is at risk for overheating.

Clearly, you need a radiator, and it should work properly in order to protect the vehicle from overheating. If it fails or malfunctions, a radiator replacement may be needed. Naturally, there could be other issues, and so it is a good idea to know the signs that you have a bad or malfunctioning radiator.

How much does it cost to replace a radiator in the UK?

As is the case with almost any vehicle repair, how much it costs to replace a radiator for your vehicle is going to depend on several factors. These are:

  • The make, model and age of your vehicle

  • Any other issues such as thermostats, malfunctioning fans, and so on

  • Where the radiator is located in the vehicle

The labour cost to replace a radiator in the UK will vary based on a mechanic’s preferences, too. They may be paid by the hour or by the job, i.e. a radiator replacement cost in UK may be at a fixed amount or quote. The average hourly rate for mechanics is from £72 or more. This can influence the total costs, and if you are supplying parts and materials, that will also affect the final price for the work. To help you get a good idea of what the average radiator replacement costs in the UK can be, see the table below for the labour costs:

Type of vehicle

Price guide

Ford Fiesta


Fiat 500


Volkswagen Golf


Mercedes C Class


Audi A4


BMW 5 Series


Land Rover Range Rover


Volkswagen Tiguan


Audi Q5


Airtasker specialists charge these rates on average for radiator repair and replacement jobs, and the same variables apply (i.e. what they ask per hour, whether the vehicle owner provides parts and materials, and so on).

What are the warning signs of a bad radiator?

If a vehicle is “running hot,” it is a clear sign that you may have radiator trouble. Overheating, fluid leaks, and steaming or hissing from beneath the bonnet are all signs that you may have a bad radiator. Also, if you are not up to date with fluid changes or the radiator has never been replaced, serviced or checked and there are more than 40,000km on the vehicle, problems with the radiator can occur.

If you even suspect that the radiator is malfunctioning or failing, you must get in touch with a mechanic as soon as possible. Why? Radiator replacement costs are far less than engine repair or replacement, and it is that which is possible when a vehicle is allowed to overheat.

Can you drive with a broken radiator?

While a car will run for a short time if the radiator is failing or fails, the engine will quickly overheat. A cracked radiator may be able to keep the engine just cool enough to operate, but eventually, the coolant disappears, and the engine overheats. This usually damages the engine to a major degree, and the end result is a hugely expensive repair.

Because a radiator replacement cost is so reasonable (averaging between £150 to £450+), it is far more sensible to have the work done the very moment you suspect a problem. After all, it may be problems with hoses, seals or a simple clog, which would be even less expensive than the radiator replacement cost!

Do I need to hire an expert for a radiator replacement?

The most realistic answer to that question is yes. Why? Because it is not a simple matter of unhooking apart and installing a new one. There are things like pressure tests, system flushing and the installation or replacement of hoses and lines to such areas as the transmission and radiator itself. These are not simple tasks and vary from vehicle to vehicle. It takes an expert with the right tools to do the job correctly and keep the engine and vehicle in safe, working order.

Keep in mind that it could be that your vehicle manifests signs of a radiator problem, but a radiator replacement may not be needed. It could be that a repairable leak is an issue, and a skilled mechanic will understand this and know how to make the repair.

Also, remember that there is a great deal of disassembly needed, and then re-assembly. This is not for a novice or amateur as it can affect the engine, transmission and more.

What does radiator replacement involve?

To help you understand what the work involves, and why it is not always that the radiator needs replacement, let’s look at the steps taken during a radiator repair or inspection.

  • A mechanic checks the radiator for leaks

  • If the leak is reparable, the radiator is drained, mended and new coolant added

  • If it is to be replaced, a radiator must be drained and the cooling fan, various hoses connecting to the radiator and transmission are removed

  • The radiator is removed from its housing and taken out of the vehicle

  • The entire system is flushed to ensure there will be no debris to clog new parts

  • A new radiator is installed (typically, a new thermostat is installed at the same time though it is not required), and all the parts reconnected. This includes radiator and transmission hoses along with cooling fans

  • New coolant is added to the radiator and the entire system has to be tested, with air bled out of the lines and parts

  • A pressure test should be done to ensure there are no leaks

  • The vehicle must go through a road test to ensure everything is fully operational

Clearly, this is no small task and can be time-consuming if the vehicle has a small engine compartment and the mechanic is forced to disconnect other parts to remove the unit.

Tips for creating your radiator replacement task

To create an accurate Airtasker listing for any radiator repair or replacement, you can follow the tips below. You need only write and post a listing, and then wait for providers to get in touch and make an offer. Don’t base the choice on cost alone. Look at customer comments or feedback, experience and more.

Here are our tips for what you will want to include in a radiator replacement task listing:

  • When the work needs to be done (emergency, longer amount of time available, etc.)

  • Your budget (the amount you have for the project)

  • The make, model and age of the vehicle along with notes about other issues you feel might affect the project

  • Include a list of any materials and parts you will provide (OR ask for a quote on them if you want to compare your options)

  • If you require a warranty on labour (and materials if you don’t supply them)

  • Your location and any issues you feel might occur due to the location (i.e. it is outdoors or there is no power supply nearby, and so on)

Radiator Replacement Cost Guide | Airtasker UK (2024)


How much should a radiator cost to replace? ›

According to Fixr.com, the average cost nationally for a house radiator replacement ranges from about $1,000 to $3,500, though some replacement jobs can be accomplished for as little as $500 on the low end and as much as $8,600 on the high end. The majority of radiator replacements end up costing around $1,500.

Is changing radiators a big job? ›

For a plumber or heating engineer, replacing a radiator is a fairly straightforward task. For those with less experience in this field, DIY is not recommended.

How much does it cost to install a new radiator UK? ›

The average cost of fitting a radiator is between £150 and £500 in 2023. The cheapest option is a single-panel radiator which would cost around £100 to £200. This guide reveals all about radiator installation, labour costs and more!

Is replacing a radiator a difficult job? ›

How Easy Is It to Change Radiators? Changing your radiators is a pretty straight-forward job that can be done in just a couple of hours if you know what you are doing. The easiest way to do it is to replace your radiator like-for-like; meaning finding one that is the exact same size as your old one.

How many hours does it take to replace a car radiator? ›

That means that you should plan on 4-6 hours for a radiator repair. Your mechanic may need longer, depending on what level of damage exists and part availability. It's also possible that your mechanic may discover additional problems part way through the repair, which can impact how long it takes to fix your radiator.

How many hours does it take to replace a radiator? ›

If you have it professionally done, changing a radiator shouldn't take longer than two or three hours. At best, it may only take an hour or less but don't be surprised if it's a little longer.

Are new radiators better than old? ›

Efficiency. You may think all radiators are born equal, but you'd be wrong. Radiator performance has improved a huge amount in response to quality and performance regulations. In fact, modern radiators can be up to 50% more efficient than their year 2000 counterparts.

Is it worth replacing old radiators with new? ›

Are old radiators less efficient? Over time, all appliances age and begin to work less efficiently, and this has a knock-on impact on energy efficiency and energy bills, so yes, old radiators are less efficient than new ones, particularly where newer models have been designed with energy efficiency in mind.

Does having radiators on high cost more? ›

Put simply, a lower flow temperature = more efficiency = lower heating costs. Do radiator covers block heat? Check our guide and more energy-saving tips.

Can I change a radiator without draining the system? ›

If you're removing one or two radiators, it usually isn't necessary to drain the whole system. There's no harm in doing this, but you'll only be adding more work to the process. You will need to drain the radiator of excess water before removing it, though.

How long does it take a plumber to install a new radiator? ›

LST radiators have to be installed by a qualified plumber. Each LST radiator should take around one hour to install and this is the recommended amount of time that you should allow per heater.

Is it worth replacing radiators in car? ›

Because the cooling system is vital to the health of your automobile, it is advisable to repair it yourself or get an auto mechanic to repair it for you as soon as possible when there are problems.

How many days does it take to replace a radiator? ›

Replacing a radiator can take most of a day, but, with care and patience, it is is doable. In order to replace a radiator, you'll need to drain the old radiator, detach any the parts keeping it in place, remove it, install a new radiator, re-install any parts that were removed, and add coolant.

Is it better to repair or replace a radiator? ›

As long as the damage isn't severe, repairing your radiator may be a much better option. A professional technician can evaluate the overall condition of the part, ensuring that your radiator won't fail again shortly. If your mechanic discovers more damage or weak spots, then those can be repaired at the same time.

Is moving a radiator DIY job? ›

Moving a radiator isn't the ideal first project. This DIY task is more suited to people who have a sound knowledge of heating systems and plumbing. If you don't, you could damage the heating system, the pipework, and even leak dirty water into your room.

Can a car radiator last 20 years? ›

Your car's radiator should typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Still, it is not uncommon for them to need replacing sooner. Several signs indicate it may be time for a radiator replacement.

When replacing a radiator What else should you replace? ›

The three parts that commonly cease working after the radiator goes bad are the thermostat, water pump, and heater core.

How long can a car run with a bad radiator? ›

Depending on the reason that your radiator's leaking, you may be fine driving around for a week or two and just refilling the radiator tank with coolant as needed. But if your radiator leak is serious, topping off the coolant a couple of times a week might not cut it—unless you're prepared to drop big bucks on 50/50.

What tools do you need to change radiator? ›

Everything You'll Need To Change A Radiator
  • Ratchet and socket set.
  • Pliers.
  • Screwdriver set (hose clamp pliers are great but not necessary)
  • Hose pick set (optional)
  • Drain pan.
  • Hydraulic floor jack.
  • Jack stands.
Aug 29, 2022

How long does it take to get a radiator fixed in a car? ›

A repair on your radiator shouldn't take long; it takes about 2 to 3 hours. However, you can't guarantee that a technician will be available right away. You may have to leave your vehicle in overnight, so take your personal items home with you if you think you'll need them before you get your vehicle back.

What time of year is best to buy radiators? ›

During the summer you will find it so much easier to get an appointment with an engineer at a time that is convenient for you. Getting radiators installed over the summer means that when winter does arrive, you can feel safely assured that when you need your radiators, they will be in good working order for you to use.

Is it worth replacing 20 year old radiators? ›

It's easy to assume that radiators made decades ago are less efficient, but studies have shown that a new radiator can be as much as twice as efficient as even a twenty year old equivalent.

When should I buy a new radiator? ›

There is no straight forward answer but in general you should replace your radiators anywhere between fifteen and twenty years. Sometimes, a lack of central heating does not mean that you need a new boiler but need to replace your radiators instead.

What is the best type of radiator? ›

For the greatest heat output consider a triple radiator which uses a combination of three panels and three convectors. Great for larger spaces, they're also ideal if you are extending a room and don't want to install additional radiators.

How often do radiators need to be bled? ›

You might also need to let out trapped air if you have noisy radiators which are making banging, clanking or gurgling noises. It's recommended that you bleed your radiators once a year, even if they are working properly.

What does a new radiator improve? ›

Investing in an improved radiator can also lead to increased engine performance. Since the engine is always cool and efficient, it can run better and for longer. An upgraded radiator can also help boost fuel efficiency and provide a smoother driving experience.

Is it cheaper to leave radiators on all the time? ›

According to the experts at the Energy Savings Trust, the idea that you can save money by keeping your central heating permanently on low is a myth. This is mainly because of problems with home insulation. If your house is old or draughty, for example, heat will be leaking out through windows and doors.

What is the most cost effective radiator? ›

Well, aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat. This means these radiators can heat rooms up quickly and use less energy to bring them up to temperature. Aluminium radiators also tend to use less water than other kinds. Because of this, less energy is needed to heat the water and pump it around your heating system.

Are upgraded radiators worth it? ›

If your radiator is overheating, clogging, or leaking more often, a replacement or an upgrade might be needed. This way, it will have a longer lifespan, better materials, faster cool-off, cleaner components, and improved visual appeal. This will affect your driving experience too!

Would it be best to drain radiator coolant before changing radiator? ›

Simply draining the radiator may get rid of most of the old antifreeze but could leave some coolant and contaminants behind, which would then mix with and pollute your new antifreeze and cause overheating. You want a full flush, a forced removal of anything old so you can pave the way for new fluid.

Is a towel rail as good as a radiator? ›

Are towel rails as warm as radiators? A towel rail usually gives out less heat than a radiator, however, if it has been sized correctly, then it should still be able to make your bathroom a warm and cosy place. A towel rail might take less time to heat up than a radiator.

Can I replace a radiator with a towel rail? ›

Can I replace a radiator with a heated towel rail? Yes. Heated towel rails plumb straight into your water system, just like a normal radiator, and warm up when your central heating is running. Heated towel rails are ideal for bathrooms that are short on space, such as an ensuite or downstairs toilet.

Do new radiators need new pipes? ›

The good news is, when fitting new radiators, it's not always necessary to replace your pipes. In fact, if your home is less than 20-years-old, your pipework is probably in great shape. Moreover, with the right maintenance, good pipes can last many years or even decades to come.

Do plumbers look at radiators? ›

A plumber can work on your heating system (radiators, pipework etc), but cannot work on the boiler or the gas pipe. The main difference between a plumber and a heating engineer is that a plumber does not carry any gas safe qualifications.

Who can install new radiators? ›

Plumbers can replace or add radiators and thermostatic valves, but only Gas Safe Registered engineers can add or repair the pipes that connect the radiator to the boiler.

Why are car radiators so expensive? ›

Radiator replacement is partly expensive because you will need to drain and refill your cooling system. Due to the size of most vehicle's cooling systems, there can be a significant expense just in antifreeze.

At what mileage should radiator be replaced? ›

How do you know when to replace a radiator? Radiators typically last for the lifetime of your vehicle. On average, they have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. However, there are some factors that can reduce a radiator's working life.

Are cheap radiators worth it? ›

Basically, a cheap radiator purchase might be a good option for a stopgap, and worthy of investment at the right price if you really don't want to spend too much at all.

Can a car run with a damaged radiator? ›

It is very unsafe to drive with a broken radiator.

Your radiator plays an important role in circulating and regulating the temperature of your engine coolant which, as its name implies, helps keep your engine cool. With a busted radiator, you run the risk of overheating your engine.

How much is labor for putting in a radiator? ›

Labor and installation cost

You should expect to pay between $600 and $800 to install a plumbed (hot water and steam) radiator system and $200 to $450 for an electric radiator system.

How much does it cost to remove and replace a radiator? ›

The cost to replace a radiator in a typical home is $1,500, though prices can range anywhere from $500 to $3,500 depending on a multitude of factors like the type of radiator and area that it's located in.

Why are radiators under windows? ›

This is because the heat in the room is easily lost through the thin glass which creates a cold area close to the window surface. By placing a radiator directly underneath the window, hot air is produced and released, which then rises to hit the cold air from the window.

Is replacing radiators worth it? ›

There are various benefits that can come with replacing the radiators in your home, and this is something many properties would benefit from. Not only will replacing the radiator offer better heat in the home, but you may also find that it is much cheaper to turn the heat on in the first place.

Can I drive my car with a bad radiator? ›

Stop driving as soon as you notice the signs of radiator failure. Driving with a vehicle in disrepair is incredibly dangerous, and it could damage your vehicle further. Find a safe place to pull over, and shut off the engine. Don't turn the engine back on until your radiator is repaired.

What all should you replace when replacing a radiator? ›

The three parts that commonly cease working after the radiator goes bad are the thermostat, water pump, and heater core.

What is the average life of radiator? ›

The car radiator is a component of your vehicle that helps to regulate the car's temperature by transferring heat away from the engine. Your car's radiator should typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Still, it is not uncommon for them to need replacing sooner.

How much difference do new radiators make? ›

Are old radiators less efficient? Over time, all appliances age and begin to work less efficiently, and this has a knock-on impact on energy efficiency and energy bills, so yes, old radiators are less efficient than new ones, particularly where newer models have been designed with energy efficiency in mind.

What happens if you keep driving a car with a broken radiator? ›

If your vehicle's radiator fails, not enough coolant will reach your engine, causing it to overheat. Driving with a broken or cracked radiator—and an overheated engine—is very dangerous. We recommend you contact your local Rad Air as soon as you suspect a problem with your car's cooling system.

Can a bad radiator mess up your engine? ›

If the radiator is leaking coolant, it needs to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible at the hands of a certified Honda technician. Low radiator coolant levels can cause the engine to overheat, which can lead to severe engine damage.

Can a radiator ruin an engine? ›

If your car's radiator fails to operate correctly, the engine can quickly overheat. Overheating will cause your engine and other components to become damaged, which will become an expensive repair job.

Can bad radiator affect transmission? ›

Shifting issues

You may have noticed some issues with shifting. The reason for this is, in some vehicles the transmission is cooled by its fluid running through the radiator. The radiator can fail and the transmission fluid will become contaminated with coolant.


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