The national cost for a coolant reservoir replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $113 and $386 with an average of $223.

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What is a coolant reservoir and how does it work?

The coolant reservoir, also known as a coolant expansion tank, is a storage receptacle for excess engine coolant, or “antifreeze”. The reservoir also allows coolant to expand as it heats up without creating excessive pressure in the system.

As engine temperatures rise, the coolant inside the engine block expands and causes pressure to increase within the cooling system. Typically mounted near the radiator, the coolant reservoir creates a cavity into which the coolant can expand. When the engine temperature drops, the radiator draws coolant out of the reservoir, keeping the fluid level balanced in the system and air out of the system.


How is a a Coolant Reservoir Replacement done?

The procedure to replace a coolant reservoir will differ from one vehicle make and model to another, although the steps are similar. With some vehicles, it may be necessary to remove components in the engine compartment for access to the reservoir. In any case, a technician must allow the engine temperature to drop before working on the cooling system to prevent serious injury from scalding hot pressurized steam.

Once the engine has cooled down, the steps to remove and replace the reservoir include:

  • Disconnect the upper and lower rubber hoses on the reservoir (the lower hose will likely need to be crimped to prevent coolant from leaking
  • Unplug the wire that connects to the coolant level sensor in the reservoir
  • Unfasten the coolant reservoir from its mounting position in the engine compartment
  • Remove the reservoir
  • Dislodge the coolant level sensor from the old reservoir and insert it into the new reservoir
  • Fasten the new reservoir in place, plug the wire into the sensor, and connect the rubber hoses
  • Top off the system with fresh coolant

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National average cost of a a Coolant Reservoir Replacement
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Signs that your vehicle needs a new coolant reservoir

The usual problem with a coolant reservoir is related to physical damage to the component. The reservoir is made of plastic that can crack over time and allow engine coolant to leak out. Signs of a bad coolant reservoir include:

A noticeable crack in the reservoir

The coolant level is low in the cooling system

A fluid leak in the engine compartment or on the ground under the front of your vehicle

A syrupy odor

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Other questions customers ask

What happens if the coolant reservoir is broken?
Two things can happen if your coolant reservoir is broken. First, it will no longer be able to adequately compensate for changes in cooling system pressure that results from the engine temperature rising and falling. Second, coolant will escape from a broken reservoir, causing a low coolant level and possible engine overheating.
What can cause a coolant reservoir to leak?
The coolant reservoir (also known as an expansion tank) usually leaks because of a crack somewhere in the plastic reservoir body. This can happen anywhere on the component, but frequently occurs near one of the attachments for the rubber hoses that connect it to the rest of the cooling system. A leak can also occur from a bad seal around the cooling temperature sensor mounted inside the reservoir.
Can a coolant leak destroy an engine?
Yes. In order to prevent engine overheating, the cooling system must be in sound shape. That means it is filled with the proper amount of coolant, it is free of obstruction, and does not contain any air in the system. A leak depletes the system of coolant, allows contaminants to build up, and allows air to enter in place of the leaked coolant. All of these can cause overheating, a condition that can destroy an engine.

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