Time for a new radiator

Suzuki Swift - Leaking Radiator - Unika chladic

Houston, we have a leak

Annoyingly my radiator developed a leak recently. It’s strange too, as I’ve owned more than 20 cars in my life, and I’ve never had such a recently-built car have a leaking radiator.

Even the rubber mounts can't handle Slovak roads.

Even the rubber mounts can’t handle Slovak roads.

I know why this happened, and it’s not because of overheating or hard driving, it’s just because the roads in Slovakia are quite poor and the base of my radiator has been shaken to pieces. I try to avoid as many pot holes as possible, but on Slovak roads you can’t always miss them all.

It seems driving in Slovakia is really tough on cars.

Suzuki Swift - Chladic

New radiator: €147

Finding replacement parts for Suzuki Swifts was a piece of cake however, and within a couple of days I had a brand new radiator in my hands for €147 from the supplier AutoKelly. Next comes the fun part: replacing it. First of all, remove the car’s bumper. 

It’s actually pretty easy to remove, and even the non-technically minded could do this.
As you can see, there are actually two radiators in the picture below. This is normal. The bigger radiator at the back is the one that keeps the engine cool. The smaller radiator in the foreground is the air conditioning condenser.

To begin, first you must drain the radiator. Do this by taking off the top radiator cap, then unscrew the plastic plug behind the radiator at the bottom. You can see where it’s located on the third picture on this page. The water will pour out, and you should really catch this and bottle it so it doesn’t go down the drain (it’s toxic). A quick phone call to your local council will tell you where you can drop it off for recycling next time you’re out & about.

How to remove or replace the radiator in a Suzuki Swift

Replacing it is a real piece of cake and anyone can do it.

Once your radiator is empty, undo all the bolts you see in the above picture, and put them aside. The red bolts hold the radiator to the car body; the purple ones hold the condenser to the radiator, and the yellow ones hold the hood release  mechanism. You will probably need a little lubricant on these bolts if they haven’t been undone recently.

Radiator hoses

Next, undo the hoses.

The next step is to undo the three hoses connected to the radiator. There are two at the top, and one at the bottom. Use a pair of pliers or poly-grips to squeeze the clamp, and move the clamp back down the hose. Let go, and it’ll stay there. Then you can wiggle off the rubber pipes.

Suzuki Swift - Removing radiator

Almost ready to remove…

Once the hoses are moved aside, you can move the hood release mechanism out of the way, and move the condenser up and away too.

Suzuki Swift - Radiator removal

So far so good.

The last step before removal is disconnecting the electrical plug on the far right. After everything’s disconnected, and the condenser is wiggled out of the way a little, the radiator (with the fan still attached) should lift straight out.

Suzuki Swift - Radiator Fan - Ventilator

That’s my car’s biggest fan (bah-dum-tishhh).

With the old radiator out of the way (which still looks in very good condition – grrrrr!), you can remove the four bolts which hold in the cooling fan & its metal casing.

Suzuki Swift - New Radiator Installed

New Radiator Installed

When you have replaced the fan & fan casing, reverse the entire process and re-install all the bolts. I recommend spraying all the bolts and holes with lubricating oil to prevent rust.

chladič kvapaliny a destilovanej vody. Topdrive destilovana voda. kapalina Sheron Antifreeze MAXI D.

Part of a healthy car’s balanced diet.

With all the hoses reconnected, it’s time to add fresh coolant with distilled water. Try not to use tap water as the minerals & metals in most tap water will lead to corrosion in your engine (which means spending lots of money in the future).

The anti-freeze coolant will have a guide to the correct dilution on the back. In my case I used one part coolant to two parts distilled water.

Testing the new radiator

Testing the new radiator

When you’re confident all the hoses are connected properly, the coolant system is filled up, and your radiator cap is on securely, you can start your car and warm it up until the engine is hot, and the radiator is run in. I let mine run for 30 minutes to be safe it can handle the heat.

Job complete!

Job complete!

Once the car has cooled down again (the next day for example), check the coolant levels again. You might need to add another splash if there was a little air in your car’s cooling system.

I’m confident I’ll squeeze a few more years out of that radiator. The only thing that worries me now, is what else the harsh Slovak roads could do to my poor car! Time will tell.

You can use all images from this site, but please keep “suzukiswift.info” in the corner.

5 thoughts on “Time for a new radiator

  1. Great post. Thank you very much! It just saved me 350 euros.
    Just a few comments:
    1st. If you have the Swift DDiS with fiat engine (a91s) and you buy this radiator DDiS radiator you will find that there’s an extra pipe hole that you will have to close… (I couldn’t find any other radiator that fitted)

    2nd. The diesel version of the car has an extra radiator for the turbo air to cool down before entering the engine. I had to take it out before taking the coolant radiator out. Otherwise It won’t come out.

    3rd. In addition to take the turbo radiator out, I had to unscrew the fan and leave it inside the car. I don’t see how you could manage to take both out together. It seemed impossible at least in my version of the car.

    FYI: I am no expert and took me about 4-5 hours, most of which I spent closing the extra pipe hole. If you are a handyman, and they plan to charge you 450€, and you found this great, great webpage, repair it yourself!


  2. Hi. Very nice article. I have a question. I bought a brand new last year (2014). The car has a problem. The coolant level decreases (very very slowly) over time. I showed it at the dealer ships, and there was no leakage in the piping anywhere. My hunch is that there is a leak within the radiator (since the radiator is so much covered, one can’t see if there is leak in the rad’s body). My car has done around 28K kms, and during this mileage, the coolant added till now is around 1.5 litres. So the car lost 1.5 liters of coolant in about 28K kms. Any idea what can be causing the leak? Is it something to worry about since the coolant decrease is exceptionally slow. The car has never gotten hot (even when the day temp was around 48 degrees celsius. Any idea what can be the cause of this coolant level decrease?

    • Hi Ali, it sounds like you do have a coolant leak, albeit a really really small one. Your car is probably leaking coolant in such a tiny quantity that it’s burning up/evaporating before you get the chance to see it. It doesn’t sound like a big issue if you keep an eye on it, but in theory you shouldn’t have to add coolant on such a new vehicle every few months. Next time your car is going for a service ask the guys to check again, more thoroughly. Even if it means keeping your car for a couple of days. I hope that helps! :)

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