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Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost: Everything You Need To Know

Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost

Your coolant reservoir is a huge part of your car that is very important anto the overall temperature of your vehicle. Without the collant, your engine would overheat and the engine would not run properly. Without a working engine, your car would not be able to run correctly (or safely). The coolant reservoir is the plastic reservoir mounted in the engine bay that holds the coolant for the engine. Replacing the coolant reservoir runs at a cost of about $187-$226 as an average price, but this exact number will depend on the make, model, and year of your car. 

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What is the coolant reservoir ?


When you finally open the hood of your car to try and get a feel for what goes on underneath the hood, you might see a bunch of parts, wires, hoses, and containers that you have no idea what they are or what they are used for. However, don’t be alarmed – many people are not very proficient in the inner workings of cars and often relayon mechanics to tell them what is going on in their vehicle and fix their issues.


Every vehicle however, has the same basic purpose and the same mechanical parts inside of the car – the job is to get you from point to point in a safe and comfortable way. The best way to do this is to have a safe engine that works correctly. 


The purpose of the cooling system in your car is to remove any wasted heat that is created by the combustion process, keeping the metals in your engine at a safe temperature so that it doesn’t overheat or generate too much friction so that it can’t run safely. This way, the engine can operate for multiple hours at one time without any damage done over time to the system or the engine parts.

The role of the cooling system


Your cooling system is filled with a liquid, called coolant, that is a mixture of water and chemicals that prevent the engine from freezing in very cold weather, overheating in warm weather, lubricating the system and the parts to prevent unnecessary friction, prevent corrosion and break down over time, and aid in heat transfer. 


The coolant is pumped through the entire engine system by using a water pump, either electric or powered by your engine via a mechanical system that is used with the belt and pulley. Your vehicle will also contain a thermostat and radiator which is in charge of analyzing and regulating the temperature of the coolant in your engine by sending either more amounts of coolant, or less coolant, through the radiator – the amount of coolant either sent to the engine or withheld depends on the reading from the temperature gauge. 


Another function of the cooling system is that it must maintain a constant pressure. The coolant reservoir plays a big part in this, so it can be understood why the coolant reservoir replacement cost could be high. Like most parts in a car, or any mechanical parts, as your coolant begins to heat up within the engine system, it expands. 


If your system is just full of coolant that will expand as the heat rises, then the engine system will explode while you are driving your car. This is due to the quick change in pressure. Your radiator cap is manufactured and created to keep his pressure under a certain amount and under a certain level, preventing things from leaking and your cooling hoses from popping off or bursting under the high pressure. 


Once your system reaches operating pressure, the radiator cap can allow the coolant to go past it into the coolant reservoir to maintain the correct pressure. As you can see, the coolant reservoir plays a huge part in the pressure maintenance of the system, which influences why the coolant reservoir replacement cost is related to the inner workings of the engine system. 


As the temperature goes back down and your coolant begins to shrink again, the vacuum is created to draw coolant back through the radiator cap to make sure your coolant system just has coolant, does not contain debris, and does not have any air bubbles inside.

Coolant Reservoir’s role in the cooling system


Your coolant reservoir, as we just learned, plays a key part in your cooling system, since it keeps the system full and free of air bubbles so that the engine does not overheat, the pressure does not expand, and the engine can operate at its full performance potential. Your coolant reservoir is also important for detecting a leak, since this is the first place you would see a leak. 


If you notice coolant leaking out from the system, then the level of the coolant will not get to the same level it previously would in the coolant reservoir. If you notice this, try and keep your coolant reservoir topped off so that no air can work its way into the cooling system and create air bubbles. 

How to replace a coolant reservoir


Now that we know that the coolant reservoir plays such a key role in the cooling system of the engine, you know why it is very important to get an estimate for the coolant reservoir replacement cost. Most coolant reservoirs are made of plastic and mounted on the right side of the engine compartment. However, due to the location, and also the design and location, this part is susceptible to break down over time, and can even develop cracks over a long time of use. If this happens, you will have to figure out the total coolant reservoir replacement cost.


Step 1 – Diagnose the Issue


Before you decide that you need to replace the coolant reservoir, you need to diagnose the signs and symptoms to ensure this is the real problem with your vehicle. The coolant system has many components that work together, so confirm the coolant reservoir is the main issue. 


There are a few warning signs that the coolant reservoir is damaged and needs to be replaced. First, there might be coolant leaking from underneath your motor. If you notice that there is coolant or colored water leaking, then this could be a sign that the coolant reservoir is damaged and needs a coolant reservoir replacement. The leak could be coming from a loose coolant line, a crack in the reservoir, or the cap of the reservoir having damage. 


Another sign is that the coolant level sensor light might stay illuminated. The last sign, and the most common cause of low radiator coolant is that it has leaked from the coolant reservoir or radiator coolant line. Inspect all of the coolant lines to ensure the leak is coming from the coolant reservoir tank and you need to determine the coolant reservoir replacement cost. 

Part 2 – Remove and Replace The Coolant Reservoir


As we know, every car is unique and requires knowledge of the specific vehicle to know where the coolant reservoir is located. Make sure you consult your service manual before you start this process. 


Step 1 – prepare the vehicle. The coolant reservoir is in the top of the engine compartment, and won’t be necessary to use a jack or raise the vehicle to have access to this part. 

Step 2 – Spray WD-40 on any rusted bolts. There are only a few bolts that connect the coolant reservoir to the engine compartment, but since they are usually in contact with liquids like coolant, and water, they could be rusted and hard to remove. Using WD-40 ensures you can remove the bolts without stripping them or damaging  the parts. 

Step 3 – Locate the coolant reservoir. The coolant reservoir is on the top of the engine compartment ,on the passenger side. Make sure you verify this is the coolant reservoir, so you have the right spot for the coolant reservoir replacement cost. 

Step 4 – Remove the bolts. 

Step 5 – Remove the two top hoses. The two hoses on the top of the coolant reservoir need to be removed, using a pair of pliers to remove the clamps.

Step 6 – Take the hoses off of the reservoir tank. Once the clamps have been replaced on the hose, take a flat screwdriver and take the clamps off of the fitting. 

Step 7 – Remove the bottom coolant hose. On the bottom of the tank, there is a larger coolant hose that connects to the radiator. This is usually connected by a clamp as the two hoses on the top of the coolant reservoir, so loosen the clamp and slide it down the hose. 

Step 8 – Pry the hose off of the bottom fitting.

Step 9 – Remove rear clip from the coolant reservoir. This clip secures the reservoir to the rear of the engine compartment. 

Step 10 – Remove the old coolant reservoir. Make sure before adding a new coolant reservoir that you know the specific coolant reservoir replacement cost from either a DIY process or the mechanic you are using.

Step 11 – Clean the area underneath the old coolant reservoir. Clean up any debris or dirt that might have gathered under this area before adding the new coolant reservoir. 

Step 12 – Re Install the new tank. Verify the new coolant reservoir tank has the same fittings, is the same size, and the same shape as the previous coolant reservoir so that it will fit. 

Step 13 – Attach the bottom hose to the coolant reservoir. The bottom hose needs to be secured before trying to attach the tank to the engine. 

Step 14 – Slide the clamps onto the hose and the fitting. Using a pair of pliers, close the clamp and slide the clamp on to the base of the tank. 

Step 15 – Attach the two top hoses, by securing the left and right hoses to the new coolant reservoir.

Step 16 – Snap the new tank onto the rear clamp fitting.

Step 17 – Secure the coolant reservoir with bolts to the engine compartment.

Step 18 – Fill the new coolant reservoir by following your manufacturer guidelines.

Step 19 – Check with the manufacturer of your specific vehicle about the coolant system, ensuring that you do not need to prime the system to avoid air bubbles or pockets. 

Part 3 – Test Drive


After you have replaced the coolant reservoir with the new coolant reservoir replacement and calculated the reservoir replacement cost, you need to check the reservoir for leaks. The best way to do this is to start the engine, and refill the radiator fluid to see if there are any air bubbles or cracks. 


Let the engine warm up before driving the car, and then check for leaks from the coolant reservoir or the lines, and then see if the low coolant level light is illuminated. Then, drive the vehicle until the radiator fan comes on. Once you do, make sure you keep an eye on the engine temperature. After driving for one hour, if the coolant reservoir is working fine, then you have successfully replaced your coolant reservoir for a minimal cost!

Sample Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost Estimates


As we know, the average cost for a coolant reservoir replacement is between $187 and $226, but this can vary depending on the car’s make, model, and year. Let’s check out some sample prices from popular car models on the market today. 


First, one of the least expensive options is the Honda Accord, which runs at around $72-$83. The second cheapest is the Honda CR-V, costing between $96 and $116. The third least expensive option is the Honda Civic, which runs between $139 and $171. As you can see, the Honda cars are the least expensive for the coolant reservoir replacement costs, possibly due to their ease of getting to the reservoir and lower labor costs.


The middle of the price spectrum holds the Nissan Altima at $149-$200, the Ford F-150, coming in at $165-$247, while the Ford Explorer costs $179-$244. 


The high range of the price spectrum features the Chevrolet Silverado, costing between $229 and $293, one of the most expensive prices for the coolant reservoir replacement cost estimate. 

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