Radiator Repair & Service:  

A+ Japanese Auto Repair specializes in radiator repair & service along with all other cooling system related repairs. Our industry trained and certified radiator repair staff is here to help. Please contact our staff or stop by today to speak with a radiator & cooling system repair professional. Our facility offers same day radiator repair & service.  

  • Industry trained radiator repair & service professionals. 
  • Free Courtesy Shuttle - To and From San Carlos facility
  • Open / Transparent Process - including photos - helping you understand any recommendations.
  • Peace of mind - 24-month / 24,000-mile warranty.

CALL OUR EXPERTS AT 650-946-1856


What are the signs of a bad radiator?

  • Surface cracking or discoloration on the upper or lower plastic tanks
  • Coolant leaking from gaskets where the radiator tanks meet the radiator body
  • Dry coolant around the seams of the radiator
  • Overheating under extreme temperatures or vehicle load
  • Overheating in stop and go traffic
  • Pin hole leak from the metal body of the radiator
  • Oil and coolant mixed in the radiator (this would be for vehicles with automatic transmissions)

Can I repair my radiator?   

Most cars newer than 1990 have no repair option, you can only replace the radiator. These newer radiators are made of an aluminum core, plastic upper and lower tanks, and two gaskets to seal them together. A plastic radiator tank or rubber gasket may fail at anytime and the vehicle manufactures don't sell repair kits for these style radiators. Fortunately, radiators have become more and more affordable to replace overtime.

Below is an image showing the upper plastic tanks which are crimped down with a gasket by the metal tabs on the radiator. In this image you can see the leak from worn upper and lower radiator tank seals.

An image showing seeping upper and lower radiator tanks - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc.

Besides the upper and lower tank leaking from a worn gasket we commonly see cracked upper and lower radiator tanks. Tanks can crack due to impact from road debris or due to the constant heat of the motor, coolant reservoir tanks can become brittle and crack with time as well. Below is an image of a cracked radiator tank requiring a radiator replacement. This impact caused a large amount of coolant loss, and steam, which alerted the customer to the cooling system failure likely saving them from an overheating issue.

Image shows cracked radiator tank due to impact damage - A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. San Carlos, CA

How much does it cost to replace a radiator?

Radiators can cost between $250 to $1000 depending on what type of vehicle you drive. On average, the replacement cost is $650. When replacing a radiator, be sure to factor in the cost for coolant, a new radiator cap, a thermostat, and thermostat gasket.

All of these other cooling system components should be replaced at the same time as the radiator. It's also important to inspect the water pump for any signs of leaks.

Can you drive a car with a broken radiator?

Do not drive your car with a broken radiator or a coolant leak of any kind. The loss of engine coolant will allow to engine to overheat. Once your engine overheats, you risk causing major engine damage and being stuck on the side of the road.

Get to a safe place and shut off your engine off until you can have your cooling system inspected by a qualified auto repair technician.

How long is a radiator suppose to last?

Most radiators will last 7-10 years before losing cooling performance or failing. Today's vehicle radiators have plastic upper and lower tanks along with rubber gaskets which expand and contract over time which causing them to have a limited life.

Most vehicles prior to 1980 had radiators made completely from metal and could last the lifetime of the vehicle with the proper coolant and care.

How long will it take to replace the radiator?

Radiator replacement with hoses, thermostat, gasket, coolant, and a new radiator cap will take 2-5 hours on average. There are vehicles that can take much more time depending on how many components are necessary to access to the radiator assembly.

Can I make an appointment to change my radiator?

If you need help, we would love the opportunity to repair or replace your radiator. You can call us immediately at 650-946-1856. We will arrange a tow truck, a courtesy car for you (if we have one available), and repair your coolant system. We are located at 780 Industrial Road, San Carlos CA 94070 and have been replacing radiators and repairing cooling systems for over 21 years. All radiator repair work will be covered with our 24 month / 24,000 mile warranty.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

A worker checking a car's radiator - A+ Japanese Auto Repair - Radiator Repair & Service Professionals

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