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Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost – How Much Should I Expect To Pay?

Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost – How Much Should I Expect To Pay?

Your coolant reservoir is a huge part of your car that is very important to your vehicle’s overall temperature. Without the coolant, 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). 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


The coolant reservoir is the plastic reservoir mounted in the engine bay that holds the coolant for the engine. Replacing the coolant reservoir runs about $187-$226 as an average price, but this exact number will depend on the make, model, and year of your car. 

Coolant Reservoir Function

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. However, don’t be alarmed – many people are not very proficient in the inner workings of cars and often rely on 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 safely and comfortably. The best way to do this is to have a safe engine that works correctly. 

Purpose of the Cooling System

Remove Waste

The purpose of the cooling system in your car is to remove any wasted heat 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.

Maintain Pressure

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. 


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 system’s pressure maintenance, which influences why the coolant reservoir replacement cost is related to the engine system’s inner workings. 


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

Cooling System Mechanism

Your cooling system is filled with a liquid called coolant. Coolant 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 moves 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 temperature gauge’s reading. 


Low Coolant Causes

If the coolant light comes on in your vehicle, the safest bet is for you to stop driving. Pull your car over the side of the road and turn off your engine to prevent the coolant from hurting your engine any further or overheating. You need to somehow get your vehicle to the repair shop and your mechanic so they can resolve any issues with your vehicle.


Coolant Reservoir is Leaking – If you noticed that your coolant level is low and the topping-up doesn’t fix the issue, then a leak is your main concern. Check the sides and bottom of your reservoir for holes or damaged parts where the coolant is leaking from. The fix for this concern is to replace the coolant reservoir. 


On average, it costs about $130 to replace the coolant reservoir. It is about $80 for labor and $60 for parts, but the price will vary depending on your make and model of the car and the mechanic fees. 


Damaged Radiator Hose – The radiator hoses in your vehicle are constantly exposed to hot coolant when your engine is running. These hoses will break-down over time, causing coolant to escape and prompt the low coolant level warning light to come on your dashboard. If your radiator hoses are damaged, the low coolant level light in your car will turn on. 

Radiator Cap

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. 


Faulty Radiator Cap Symptoms

There are key signs that your radiator cap is damaged. The main reason is that your coolant is leaking, as we have discussed. If the cap is stuck, fluid can’t get released. This causes pressure to build inside of the radiator, forcing the hose to break open and leak. 


Another sign that your radiator cap is damaged is an overflowing reservoir. The radiator cap is released by the pressure, sending the coolant towards the overflow tank. If the radiator cap is damaged, the coolant will be released too early and cause the reservoir to overflow. A faulty radiator cap can cause the overflowing reservoir, turning on the low coolant light. 


If you replace the cap yourself, make sure the engine is completely cool and get the correct replacement cap. A replacement radiator cap is inexpensive and usually between $7-$20, depending on the specific type you need. 

Diagnosing The Coolant Reservoir 

Now that we know that the coolant reservoir plays such a key role in the engine’s cooling system, you know why it is very important to estimate 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 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.


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. 

  • Coolant Leaking

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, this could signify 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. 

  • Sensor Light 

The other sign is that the coolant level sensor light might stay illuminated. The last sign and the most common cause of low radiator coolant are 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. 

Replacing the Coolant reservoir – Steps

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. 

  • Prep the Car

The coolant reservoir is at the top of the engine compartment. It won’t be necessary to use a jack or raise the vehicle to access this part, reducing the overall coolant reservoir replacement cost.

  • Spray WD-40

The next step is to spray WD-40 on any rusted bolts. Only a few bolts 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 and increasing the coolant reservoir replacement cost. 

  • 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.

  • Remove the Bolts and Hoses

The bolts holding the parts together, and the two hoses need to be removed to get to the reservoir. The two hoses on the top of the coolant reservoir need to be removed, using a pair of pliers to remove the clamps.

  • Take the Hoses Off

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. 

  • Remove the Bottom Coolant Hose

On the bottom of the tank, there is a larger coolant hose that connects to the radiator. A clamp usually connects this as the two hoses on the top of the coolant reservoir, so loosen the clamp and slide it down the hose. 

  • Remove the Hose and the Rear Clip 

Pry the hose off of the bottom fitting and remove the rear clip from the coolant reservoir. This clip secures the reservoir to the rear of the engine compartment. 

  • Remove the Old Coolant Reservoir

Before adding a new coolant reservoir, you know the specific coolant reservoir replacement cost from either a DIY process or the mechanic you are using.

  • Clean the Area

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. 

  • Install the New Coolant Reservoir

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.

  • Attach the Hose

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

  • Slide the Clamps Onto the Hose

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.

  • Attach the Top Hoss

Attach the two top hoses by securing the left and right hoses to the new coolant reservoir.

  • Fill the Tank

 Fill in the new coolant reservoir by following your manufacturer’s guidelines.

Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost Examples

Average Cost of Replacement

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. 

Inexpensive Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost Cars

First, one of the least expensive options is the Honda Accord, which runs 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.

Expensive Coolant Reservoir Replacement Cost Cars 

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 highest prices for the coolant reservoir replacement cost estimate. 



Finding out the average cooalnt reservoir replacement cost can help give you an idea of how much you will pay to get an entirely new part in your car –