Used radiator versus new aftermarket radiator
If your radiator has more holes than a slab of Swiss cheese and you left it tall and dry, then it’s time to replace it. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be considering a used radiator or an aftermarket radiator, but which is a better option?
Obviously, buying used can have a great benefit in terms of costs. Unless you have a rare or high-end sports or luxury car, a salvage deposit special will cost anywhere from $ 25- $ 50. Not bad compared to the cost of a new cooling system from your local dealer.
The problem with buying used is that you have no idea what condition the unit is in. Appearance is not a good indicator and you have no way of doing a pressure test. Then what do you do?
If you must buy a used one, be sure to do a thorough visual inspection. That means you have to look inside and out. Inspect the cooling fins and hose connections for internal corrosion and damage.
To get a good look inside, you will need a flashlight, so be sure to take one to the junkyard. Look for excessive flaking and corrosion. If it doesn’t look clean, then it wasn’t well maintained.
Check the joints, too. Look where the cooling coil connects to the tanks. If you find a build-up of sediment or mineral deposits due to external corrosion, this is a good indicator of poor condition.
Look for repairs. If you see large drops of “cold weld” cement like JB WELD, the unit has been patched and should be avoided.
If it is an aluminum system, check for corrosion and epoxy around the tank joints. Aluminum radiators need a special coolant. If left unused they will quickly corrode and start to leak from the pins. Also, a common fault with aluminum cores is separation from the plastic tank. The common repair is epoxy cement. Stay away if you see these obvious repairs.
Before looking in junk yards, consider the aftermarket. For just a little more money, you can get a high-quality aftermarket replacement unit with a warranty. The median price for an aftermarket radiator in 2011 is $ 120 shipped.
Most aftermarket components are exact Original Equipment (OE) specifications. In many cases, manufacturers provide the parts to the automaker. In other cases, the components are “multi-fit,” meaning they are the correct capacity and size for your vehicle, but will have mounting hardware or connection points for a variety of accessories.
CSF, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers in the world and specializes in multi-adjustment radiators. According to CSF, they provide the best overall value. All of their products meet or exceed original equipment engineering specifications. Its manufacturing plants comply with ISO 9000 standards and provide parts to original equipment manufacturers. They manufacture over 1000 different models to suit 2001 vehicle assembly applications. If that wasn’t enough, they offer an industry leading warranty. Simply put, you can’t buy a used radiator with the same quality or performance guarantee.
If using is your only option, be sure to inspect it thoroughly. For complete confidence, invest in a quality aftermarket radiator.