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Is this a good price for a radiator replacement?


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nrgins
User

Dec 4, 2021, 2:05 PM

Post #1 of 9 (243 views)
Is this a good price for a radiator replacement? Sign In

2003 Dodge Caravan SE. 105K miles.

Car place says I have a 3 inch crack in my radiator and it needs to be replaced. Said it's near the top right where a hose connected, and said it's a common place for a crack to develop. Said there was only about a gallon of fluid left in it.

Quoted me $520 for replacement, including MOPAR fluid. Is that a good price?

Also: is there anything I could have done to repair the crack if I had caught it when it was small, before it became a large crack? Just wondering.

The car has 105,000 miles on it, and I've had it since '06 and have never done a radiator flush on it (stupidly). I imagine that's what caused the crack?

Are there any other components besides the radiator that I should have them check for possible damage, having never done a radiator flush on it?

Thanks!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 4, 2021, 5:02 PM

Post #2 of 9 (228 views)
Re: Is this a good price for a radiator replacement? Sign In

That's a credible quote for this IMO you didn't say which engine of 4 versions may matter some. Any listed time for labor to do this at age could make it difficult that isn't counted in just a time to R&R with new especially if using MOPAR actual parts.


If you have an itemized quote it may include hoses, new pressure cap and more likely and justified.


Hard part right now is knowing there's no damage caused by it leaking out It can't hold pressure greatly needed to raise boiling point temperature for the antifreeze mix or boiling coolant already passed thru acts as air doesn't carry away heat mandatory for this and most any engines out there.
Read the quote see what's labor and what are parts. Flushing now would be called for also.


There are risks of more that just this once back together and run just might surface a hidden problem best known after doing it.
Place by place have a legitimate need to dispose of any antifreeze left as some cost.


IF you want this right again you need to allow for this to be pricey it's a must have thing to work as intended.


You asked about fixing that one? No, it's old enough and new enough to use plastics that don't fare well heat and time not friendly to those.


If you feel better get another quote based on an itemized one you should have not just a final price?


Hope it didn't do unseen damage such that it's not done could get really nasty,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 4, 2021, 8:30 PM

Post #3 of 9 (210 views)
Re: Is this a good price for a radiator replacement? Sign In

It's a plastic tank and there is no repairing it. The heat and liquid pressure will open the crack right up again.

What worries me is these cracks are usually triggered by combustion gasses getting into the cooling system from a blown head gasket. Not saying that is the case but it's a concern.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nrgins
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Dec 5, 2021, 9:03 PM

Post #4 of 9 (175 views)
Re: Is this a good price for a radiator replacement? Sign In


In Reply To
If you have an itemized quote it may include hoses, new pressure cap and more likely and justified.


The receipt showed $189 for parts and $300 for labor (total was actually $505 with tax). Used MOPAR fluid.

The tech said that he checked the hoses and they didn't need replacing. Said he did a flush with water and a high-pressure machine. Seemed to know what he was doing.

From the time he called for approval until the time he called to say it was ready was less than 2 hours. So I doubt the whole thing took more than 1.5 hours. So not sure where the $300 labor charge is coming from. I think their shop rate is about $80 an hour, last I checked, a few years ago. Maybe it went up to $100 an hour. But that would still be 3 hours of labor billed!

As for the crack, good to know it couldn't be repaired. Still, I'm wondering if it needed to be replaced, or if it could have just had fluid added to it once in a while. The crack was about 3 inches vertically down the plastic side. And then the fluid dripped another few inches before it dried up. So didn't seem like that big of a leak. I'm wondering if I needed to replace it?


nrgins
User

Dec 5, 2021, 9:06 PM

Post #5 of 9 (171 views)
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In Reply To
What worries me is these cracks are usually triggered by combustion gasses getting into the cooling system from a blown head gasket. Not saying that is the case but it's a concern.


I asked him about the head gasket. He said it was fine. Hopefully there's no unseen damage.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 5, 2021, 11:23 PM

Post #6 of 9 (164 views)
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Quote you "> So didn't seem like that big of a leak. I'm wondering if I needed to replace it?<"

It's not fixable you toss those. Still hope it's not hiding a problem, head gasket or other damage?

Parts seem on the low side I saw a radiator alone for $250 + misc parts would run right up there fast.

There are things called "flat rates" for flushing or he/she "beat the clock" with better tools was faster than listed averages??

Rates should be posted or listed. $80 is history about now try lots more than that. It has to, the shops cost a fortune - MILLION$ PER BAY depending on location.

See how it all works out now and look for leaks or signs of overheating. If this stays good for you consider it a deal IMO and lucky you got away this long without doing much to help save it along the way!
Tom



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 6, 2021, 5:41 AM

Post #7 of 9 (152 views)
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The flat rate time to replace the radiator alone is 2.3 hours. At an average of $100 per hour, that $230. It would have been advisable to replace the thermostat along with the radiator.

It doesn't really matter how long it actually took, they would charge the book rate.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nrgins
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Dec 6, 2021, 10:30 PM

Post #8 of 9 (124 views)
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Thanks, guys. Good to know.

Does the 2.3 hrs include the flush? Otherwise, it might be 3 hrs total if the flush is extra time.

Otherwise, yeah, I guess it was $130/hr.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 6, 2021, 11:12 PM

Post #9 of 9 (115 views)
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What does the quote - "bill" on this say? If not itemized for you get one that is?

That's now primal for this old a vehicle what is included.

Sport - I'll be different than Hammer Time here in that I'm in a rust belt area such that much of anything over a new car warranty period is impossible to know how long it would take for even simple stuff no "book" is going to quote how long to fight thru a rusted mess - if so.

Do this, get the quote and see what it includes. Find a parts outlet's web site and look up the parts costs yourself then factor time to install based on what you see plus parts markup vs get your own is because shops sell you the parts not the outlets directly. That markup is necessary if and when it failed they sold YOU the parts is then THEIR responsibility not the source.

Think of a normal time (it's not around me) if you brought food to restaurant and didn't like it when cooked who would you blame on that?

That analogy stands as the example here too.

Said out of the gate it was a credible price but know what that meant would be done I can't know what or how they are quoting from just a price given to you?

YOU need to trust this shop or get other quotes from others if price only shopping for a repair?

It doesn't work that way so easily, Tom







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