The radiators found in more cars, utes and private vehicles are tremendously robust and sturdily built and can function in excellent condition for years or even decades as long as they are given some occasional care and attention. As such, if you are seeking to replace a damaged or destroyed radiator in your car, you may wish to replace it with a used, refurbished radiator purchased from an auto parts recycler or salvage yard.
What are the advantages of purchasing and installing a used radiator?
Price: New radiators can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the make, age and complexity of your car. Used radiators, on the other hand, can be picked up for a fraction of the price, while providing the same effective engine cooling you would expect.
Availability: Used radiators are particularly handy for car owners trying to repair older, discontinued car models. When it comes to classic cars, used radiators may be the only option available to you, as aftermarket manufacturers tend to manufacture new parts for only the most popular and sought-after classic models.
Speed: Even if your vehicle model is still in production, ordering a new radiator from the manufacturer or an aftermarket vendor can be a lengthy process, with new parts taking days or weeks to be delivered. Purchasing a used radiator from a parts recycler puts the radiator in your hands straight away, allowing you to fix up your vehicle and get it back on the road as soon as possible.
How should I go about purchasing a used radiator?
If a used radiator sounds like the ideal solution to your vehicle's engine problems, your first priority should be to visit a reputable, established auto parts recycler. Calling ahead or checking websites can help save time and determine whether the recycler has the parts you require.
Once you have found the used radiator you require, you should give it a thorough inspection to check for any damage, leaks or corrosion. Even if a used radiator was in good condition when it was brought to the recycler, it may have degraded due to exposure and improper storage, another reason to choose a reputable recycler with adequate storage facilities. You should also ask about the the state of the vehicle the radiator was pulled from, as buying radiators taken from crashed cars is generally inadviseable unless the vehicle suffered a rear-end collision. Ask to see the vehicle it came from (if it's still in one piece).
Finally, you should establish a returns policy with the parts dealer, and enquire about any warranties on offer. Used auto parts generally come with much shorter warranties than new parts, for obvious reasons, but a radiator that does not come with any offered warranty may be in far poorer condition than it appears.