How To Replace a Radiator in a VW Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta, or VW Jetta, is undoubtedly one of the best small family cars. Since its start of production in 1979, VW Jetta has already amazed car enthusiasts because of its style and performance. But no matter how much recognition it has received, VW Jetta is still just another small family car that needs proper maintenance like radiator replacement.

Installing a new radiator in this car is not as easy as letting a professional mechanic do this for you. At least, you can save hundreds of dollars while learning a new skill. The steps below will guide you through the correct procedure on replacing the VW Jetta radiator:

  • Let the VW Jetta to cool down. The engine parts and the radiator fluid are extremely hot that they could cause burning. It’s also best to wear a pair of working gloves when replacing the radiator.
  • Remove the radiator’s drain plug. It is located at the bottom of the radiator. Before you unfasten the plug, make sure that the resealable container is ready to catch the engine coolant. Wait until all the fluid is drained out of the radiator. Set the resealable container aside.
  • Remove the radiator grill. To do this, disconnect first the electrical cables of thermal switch and coolant fan. Unhook also the release lever that secures the bumper. The radiator grill can now be taken off.
  • Remove the bumper. Loosen the bolts and screws that are connecting the front bumper. Remove the bumper off the car. Take off the connectors for the car’s temperature sensor and its spoiler. Removing these parts will help you to easily uninstall the radiator.
  • Take off the coolant hoses. These are attached to the radiator. Disconnect the hoses’ quick release couplings and these will be detached from the radiator.
  • Uninstall more car parts. These include the headlights, air conditioner, and air conditioner condenser. Headlights can be disconnected by loosening their screws. Meanwhile, bolts and brackets must be removed to uninstall the A/C and A/C condenser. Take note that the bolts of condenser bracket can be found on radiator’s left side.
  • Remove the old radiator. There are mounting bolts that secure the radiator. Loosen these and then slide down the radiator along with the radiator fan. Do not take off the refrigerant lines from the radiator yet. Remove refrigerant clamps from the refrigerant lines first. Remove also the securing bolts beside the radiator. Continue to slide the vehicle down until it is removed from the vehicle. Be careful when doing this and make sure that the lines and hoses are kept from being bent or stretched.
  • Install the new VW Jetta radiator. Do this by following the steps above in reverse order. Doing so will also guide you to put the removed auto parts back together.
  • Pour in radiator fluid. Once everything is set up, fill the radiator with its appropriate fluid. Start the VW Jetta and keep it running until the engine is warm enough. This will take about 15 minutes. Check the radiator fluid after that and pour in more fluid if needed. Cover the radiator with its cap and the VW Jetta is ready to function with its newly installed radiator.

The drained out coolant can still be reused if it’s not old enough or contaminated. If not, bring the old coolant to the nearest center for hazardous waste. Do not dispose it similar to disposing other wastes.


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