Engine coolant keeps your engine cool and properly working. The job of the radiator is to make the engine coolant cool by removing heat from it. So, without a properly functioning radiator, you can’t drive smoothly. That’s why picking the best replacement radiator for Jeep JK is mandatory when the OE one cannot support you.
Not all radiators out there are designed and made to serve you for a long time. So, you need to be extra careful while buying a replacement radiator. That’s why I’m here, to help you pick the best one.
I’m already familiar with several replacement radiators for JK, both for regular and racing applications. So, I’ve made a top-five list and reviewed each so that you can make a better pick. Check them now.
Also, you’ll find a buying guide here, with answers to some frequently asked questions. In a word, this article has everything you need to know before buying a replacement radiator. So, start reading.
5 Best Replacement Radiator for Jeep JK: Editor’s Picks
1. OSC Cooling Products 2957 New Radiator
If you want an OE replacement that works like your OE radiator, this one from OSC Cooling Products is definitely your pick. It comes at a reasonable price and fits the Jeep JKs of 2007-2016 models. Let’s see the reasons behind this one being the best pick for you.
First, I must appreciate the raw material and manufacturing process of OSC products. They use high-quality aluminum and other materials to make this radiator. Alcoa aluminum is the primary material for these ones.
Besides, the manufacturing process includes a three-step testing process to ensure the quality of the radiator. Preheated fluid is flown through it for cycle testing. Then, vibration testing and burst testing are performed to ensure they can handle off-road conditions.
At last, environmental testing is done to ensure that it is suitable for winter and coastal conditions. The process includes salt and chemical spray. I don’t think you should overlook a radiator that goes through such a dense testing process.
Installation is not too tough as it is designed to ensure that professional installers can do this quickly. Also, everything needed to install it is included in the package.
In case you want a great radiator that can meet the OE performance, or sometimes exceeds it, pick this without any hesitation. It supports your vehicle cooling system for a long time.
- Made for durability
- Tested multiple times after manufacturing
- Perfect OE replacement
- Comes at a reasonable price tag
- Installation is a bit tough for beginners
2. Mishimoto MMRAD-WRA-07V2 Aluminum Radiator
If you’re searching for something for your performance Jeep JK that runs off-road regularly, this performance radiator from Mishimoto would be the best pick. It is designed after countless hours of R&D, according to the manufacturer. So, even if it comes with an expensive price tag, you should try it once.
To ensure quality, Mishimoto has used 100% brazed aluminum as the core of it. A high-pressure radiator cap is used here. Components are TIG-welded for perfection and strong joins. So, overall durability is good.
Compared to your OE radiator, it offers 18% more volume in the overall structure. Also, the cooling capacity is increased by around 13%. So, you can expect it to perform better than almost all other replacement radiators for your Jeep JK.
A great feature of this radiator is its magnetic drain plug. It captures metallic debris from the cooling fluid. Also, extruded tube with internal struts is another beneficial feature. It plays a great role in enhancing strength and pressure-taking ability.
Mishimoto lifetime warranty covers this radiator. So, you’ll have Mishimoto to hold your back when you buy this. It may cost you more than others, but the value it offers is also greater than others.
- Designed for off-road performance vehicles
- Comes with more volume and capacity
- Have several beneficial features
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- A bit too expensive
3. AutoShack RK1187 Radiator Replacement
This crossflow style aftermarket radiator is your pick if you need something offering similar performance as your OE radiator. You’ll get it by spending a bit less than a hundred bucks. Let’s see the other features it comes with.
The core is made of aluminum, and the tank is built using plastic. The materials also ensure long-lasting and dependable performance. To make it last longer, AutoShack has applied an anti-corrosion finish to it. So, corrosion buildup is not possible here.
It is made for the 2007-2017 Jeep JK. As an exact replacement radiator, it comes at the OE dimensions. Also, you won’t find any additional hardware with it.
AutoShack provides a six-month warranty with this replacement radiator. However, my experience tells me that it lasts way longer than just six months. However, you need to take proper care of it. Though it is made to be strong, regular off-roading may have a negative impact on it.
Overall, it is a great replacement radiator for your Jeep JK if you’re not into racing or regular off-roading.
- Comes at a very reasonable price
- Exact replacement radiator piece
- Supports for a long time
- Ensures value for money
- Doesn’t come with any hardware, not even a radiator cap
4. CoolingMaster Aluminum Radiator
This one from CoolingMaster is there to offer optimum performance through its high-quality materials and smooth design. It is manufactured using lightweight aluminum and is suitable for the 2007-2018 Jeep JK.
While the aluminum core offers better cooling than the OE one, the CNC-machined filer neck and cap ensure smooth airflow to and out of the radiator. Multiple grades of aluminum are used here to ensure maximum lightweight and longevity.
Besides constructing through a properly decorated process, CoolingMaster tests it using Wind Tunnel Test to ensure its performance and durability. So, each radiator ensures maximum efficiency in cooling the engine coolant. If your Jeep JK goes on off-roads often, it can handle the cooling operation without any issue.
I’ve found that installing it is pretty straightforward. It is designed to be the exact OE radiator replacement. So, someone with basic knowledge about working with radiators can easily replace the old one with it.
CoolingMaster’s 12-month warranty policy backs each radiator. In case of fitting or quality issues, you’ll get a replacement or refund.
- All-aluminum construction
- Very lightweight and durable
- Exact replacement for the OE radiator
- Wind Tunnel Tested to ensure performance
- Could be a bit cheaper
5. ReadyCool Aluminum Radiator
This is another 2007-2018 Jeep JK radiator replacement in a medium price range. But you’ll get value for the money you spend on it. In case you go racing or off-roading frequently, this can be a great support for you.
Just like other performance radiators, it is made using high-quality aluminum. Aircraft-grade AA5052 aluminum core, raw aluminum finish, and 100% TIG weld ensure that it is strong and lightweight. It lasts and supports you for a long time too.
It is made to be the exact replacement for your stock radiator. But the cooling capacity is increased in this radiator. As a result, it ensures around 30%-45% more efficient cooling process based on the weather outside.
For racing applications, it comes with a 3-tubes core design. Thus, it can cool faster and better compared to your stock one. Also, it is a great pick for off-roading.
I haven’t faced any issues with the installation. All you have to do is seect the right size per your vehicle’s model and engine.
- Much more efficient than a stock radiator
- Fully aluminum constructed
- Strong, lightweight, and durable
- Suitable for off-roading and racing applications
- The price is a bit high
Buying Guide for Radiator for Jeep JK
When picking a good replacement radiator for your Jeep JK, you must focus on several criteria. The criteria should be matched because the performance of your radiator depends on them. Let’s see the things you need to keep an eye on.
You first need to ensure that the radiator is compatible with your vehicle. When you’re looking for the best replacement radiator for Jeep JK, picking one made for Jeep Grand Cherokee won’t help.
Also, you need to ensure that the making year matches.
When you pick a radiator compatible with your vehicle model and make, you won’t have to worry about issues like size, radiator hose, etc.
Typical materials for radiators are aluminum, brass, copper, and plastic. Among them, aluminum is the preferable option.
Most old radiators were made of brass and copper. But they are expensive and heavy. Compared to them, plastic and aluminum radiators are cheaper and lighter.
Plastic lasts less than aluminum. So, overall, aluminum radiators are the best choice when you’re trying to pick one.
Type of Radiator
Radiator comes in several types. Based on the design, you’ll find two different types- Downflow and Crossflow. Downflow radiators come with tanks placed at the top and bottom of the core. On the other hand, in crossflow ones, tanks are situated on the left and right sides of the core. Among these two, crossflow radiators are more efficient because of having a larger core.
You’ll find two types of radiators based on the core design- tubular core and cellular core. In a tubular core structure, the coolant is passed through the tubes in the core. On the other hand, in the cellular core design, tubes contain cool air, and the coolant flows in between the tubes. From the benefit perspective, the cellular core design is more beneficial.
To be on the safest side, you should pick the same design as your previous radiator. Picking a different one may need small changes in the vehicle.
Type of Fan
Radiator fans can be either mechanical or electrical. Mechanical fans collect power from the engine to run, whereas electrical fans collect power from a battery. The electrical fan is prepared based on the performance.
Cost is a matter when you’re picking radiator fans. Some come at a very reasonable price, whereas some fans ask for a high price. Going for the cheapest one is not my suggestion. Also, don’t pick the high-end ones if you don’t have a huge budget.
Check the performance first, then decide. You may find one that costs you less but performs better.
Factors to Consider When Installing a Replacement Radiator
Before installing the radiator, you will need to prepare the vehicle. This may include draining the coolant, disconnecting the battery, and removing any parts that may be in the way. It is also a good idea to consult your vehicle’s service manual to get a better understanding of the installation process.
Tools and Equipment
You will need to gather the necessary tools and equipment to start the installation process. This may include a socket set, pliers, wrenches, coolant drain pan, and a torque wrench. You may also need a fan clutch tool and a cooling system pressure tester, depending on your vehicle’s cooling system.
Radiator installation process typically involves removing the old radiator and then installing the new one. This may include disconnecting hoses and electrical connections, removing the old radiator, installing the new radiator, and then reconnecting the hoses and electrical connections. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and to tighten all connections to the specified torque.
After installing the replacement radiator, it is important to perform a number of post-installation checks. This may include checking for leaks, checking the coolant level, and checking the operation of the fan.
It is also important to run the engine and let it reach operating temperature to ensure the new radiator is working correctly. If everything checks out, you can then fill the coolant system with the appropriate coolant and check the level again.
Benefits of Replacing Radiators for Jeep JK
A radiator is one of the most important components of a vehicle’s cooling system, and it plays a crucial role in keeping the engine from overheating. Over time, radiators can become clogged or damaged, reducing their ability to effectively cool the engine. Replacing a radiator can bring a number of benefits to a vehicle, making it a worthwhile investment for any vehicle owner.
Reduced Engine Wear and Tear
Overheating can cause significant damage to an engine, leading to increased wear and tear and a shorter lifespan. Replacing a damaged or clogged radiator can reduce the risk of engine damage and extend the lifespan of the engine, helping to save money on costly repairs in the long run.
A damaged or clogged radiator can cause the vehicle to break down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Replacing a damaged or clogged radiator can increase the reliability of your vehicle, reducing the risk of breakdowns and ensuring that you can get where you need to go with confidence.
Improved Engine Performance
An inefficient radiator can cause the engine to overheat, reducing its performance and potentially causing damage. Replacing a damaged or clogged radiator can help improve the engine’s performance by ensuring that it stays at the optimal temperature, even during high-performance driving. A properly functioning radiator can also improve fuel efficiency, helping to save money on gas over time.
A new radiator can provide improved cooling compared to an older or damaged radiator, ensuring that the engine stays within its optimal temperature range. Improved cooling can also help to reduce engine noise, making for a smoother and more pleasant driving experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can I say that my radiator is down?
The duty of the radiator is to keep the engine fluid cool. So, when you see your engine is too hot, you need to check the radiator. Radiator issues happen mainly because of a leak in the tube.
If you see bright green, pink, or yellow fluid leaking, it is a sign that your radiator has a leak in it.
How much does it cost to replace a radiator?
The cost of replacing a radiator has two parts- labor cost and the price of the new radiator. A new radiator would cost you around 100-800 USD, depending on which one you pick.
The labor cost is around 200-300 USD depending on the area, additional work needed, and several other issues.
So, the overall cost can be anything between 300-1100 USD for a radiator replacement.
How to take care of a car radiator?
If you take proper care of your radiator, you can keep it running for a few additional days. So, you must maintain it carefully, especially if you regularly go for race or off-roading.
Keep the radiator full of coolant if you want it to last long. Also, wash it once or twice a year. Don’t forget to fasten the cap properly. Also, inspect it regularly for wear, tear, or leakage.
How to Install Radiator for Jeep JK?
Picking the right radiator is mandatory as it keeps your engine cool. Not all the available radiators will perform the same. So, be careful while choosing one.
The ones I’ve discussed are undoubtedly the best replacement radiator for Jeep JK. I’ve suggested radiators from different price points to make picking one easier for you. Among them, I pick OSC Cooling 2957 if you ask me to pick one for OE-like performance.
For better performance, I would pick Mishimoto. As it comes with a too-high price tag, I’ve added other options too.
Now the stage is yours. Pick the one you like the most.