I made a video of removing and installing it, which is at the bottom of this post.
The radiator was leaking at the top, which at first I thought was the cap, but it was bubbling out at cracks along the top.
My first thought was to repair the radiator with some leak sealant or other method, but after looking online, Amazon had it listed at a very low cost.
For the price, it was much better to simply replace it with a new one and know it wouldn’t leak again.
AutoZone also had it available but for $170, be sure to call around for the latest prices they can change.
Example 2005-2009 Kia Spectra Radiator on Amazon
TYC – 2784 04-08 Ka Sptra 2.0L L4 A/Mt 1R Pa(New Style)Rad
Ordering it online is a much cheaper option (at least for me) if you can wait a few days.
It doesn’t take many tools to replace the radiator, and it is an easy enough job for the DIY mechanic.
- 10mm wrench
- 10mm socket and ratchet
- 12mm wrench or socket
- Phillips screwdriver
How to Replace a 2005-2009 Kia Spectra Radiator
- The first step is to drain the coolant at the bottom. It had a plastic Phillips screw for me; if yours differs, simply drain it.
- The next step is to remove the hoses with a pair of pliers. The bottom hose can be pulled from the top of the engine, which was easiest for me.
- Disconnect the fan wires. (There are two)
- There are three 10mm bolts holding the fans in at the top. Remove them, and the fans will pull out. There were plastic ties holding the hoses together that I also removed.
- Remove the two transmission coolant lines at the bottom of the radiator.
- The next step is to remove the 4 10mm bolts holding the radiator in.
- The top also has two centering attachments, which need to be unbolted using a 12mm.
- The radiator should now come out and be matched to the new one. Be sure to check the new radiator transmission coolant lines are tight so there are no leaks.
- I connected back on the bottom hose before installing the new radiator, as it was easiest for me.
- Next, put the new radiator in. On the right hand, tighten the right bolt going to the condenser. This helps align it when installing the other three bolts.
- The bottom of the car has two inserts that need to be aligned and put together.
- The rest of the installation is simply the reverse of taking it apart.
Removing and installing a 2005-2009 Kia Spectra Radiator is easy enough and falls into the entry-level DIY mechanic category.
It is usually a good idea to take pictures with a phone when removing a unit for reference when putting it back together.
The unit can be removed from the top, with the only work under the car needed is draining the coolant and aligning the inserts.
The entire job took maybe an hour and solved the problem with the Spectra now driving around with no leaks.