Products to Compare (max of 3)
Compare These Parts

How To Choose A Radiator For Your Car

Add Article To List
What's The Best Radiator For My Car or Truck?

Our technicians are often asked a multitude of cooling system questions, including “Will this radiator cool my engine?” No matter if it's a factory engine with only 200 hp or an extreme high-performance engine making 600 or more wild ponies, this is a valid question. However, it can also be a tough one to answer. The fact is, every application is different. It is our primary objective to provide you with the best option for your hot rod, muscle car, classic truck or race car. Our techs are here to help, but ensuring they have the "whole picture" and all the details of your build will help ensure we provide the best product suggestions possible to get you on the road quickly.

There are a few things to consider before we single out the radiator as a cause of your cooling issue. The remainder of your cooling system and engine should be in proper working condition; meaning the appropriate pulley ratios, adequate airflow, proper thermostat, correct ignition timing, air/fuel ratio, vacuum and mechanical advance curves, etc. need to be addressed. This is mainly because we have found, time and time again, that many cooling issues are caused not by the cooling system components themselves, but other root mechanical engine issues creating excessive temperatures that the cooling system can't handle.

An Aluminum Crossflow Radiator Is An Efficient Design If It Will Fit Your Application
How Does a Radiator Work To Cool An Engine?
A Detailed View Of The Typical Radiator Cooling Tubes and Fins

When we discuss radiators it is helpful to understand exactly how they work to cool an engine. A stock engine can produce around 42 BTU per horsepower, and it's the job of the radiator to remove an amount of heat proportional to that. If we take a look inside the radiator's core the main source of cooling comes from the tubes and fins. As the heat dissipates from the coolant through the tube wall, it is transferred through a joint to the fins. When air passes over the fins it carries the heat away from the radiator. Depending on the air temperature and speed moving across your radiator, it should remove about 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit from the coolant. You can check for proper function by using an infrared temperature gun on both the inlet and outlet ports of your radiator. Check out Longacre's handy Infrared Thermometer for your thermal testing needs.

Is Using a Fan with a Shroud Important?

You can purchase the most expensive radiator money can buy, but if there isn't any airflow across it then it doesn't do you any good. Whether you're running an electric or mechanical fan, you should always install a fan shroud that will cover as much of the core as possible. A fan shroud will not only help shield the radiator from the engine heat, but it also increases and directs the airflow.

Dual Electric Fans With A Shroud Offer The Best Cooling If You Have Room For Them
Are Electric Cooling Fans Better Than Mechanical Fans?
A Typical Cooling Fan Relay With Thermostatic Switch

There are many advantages of using an electric fan vs. a mechanical fan. Not only will an electric fan save horsepower, it can be mounted directly to a fan shroud and can be automatically controlled by a thermostatic temperature switch. This will reduce fan noise and current draw when the engine is running cool enough that it doesn't require additional airflow from the electric fan.

How Are Speedway Aluminum Radiators Made?
Speedway Motors Uses A Radiator Core With Two 1-Inch Wide Tubes For Better Cooling

We offer a multitude of direct bolt-in and universal fit radiators that are 100% TIG-welded, which means there is no epoxy joints or seams to fail, causing leak points. All of our single and double pass radiators are extremely efficient, lightweight, and designed with two rows of large 1-inch wide aluminum tubes in the core.

Shop for Radiators and Cooling System Components

Updated by Mark Houlahan

Products Featured in this Article

Related Articles

Electric Radiator Cooling Fan Guide
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
What is the best radiator cooling fan setup? Do you need a pusher or puller style fan? Should you run two fans or one? Our guide has the answers.
How to Wire Dual Electric Cooling Fans
by Speedway Tech Team - Posted in Tech
Learn how to wire dual electric radiator fans. Use our dual fan wiring diagram and guide to make sure you properly wire your fans to your thermostat.
What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Radiator Cooling Fan
by Pat Orth - Posted in Videos
What electric cooling fan is right for you? This Tech Talk will take you through some key questions to consider when choosing a cooling fan for your radiator.
LS Engine Flexplate Fitment Guide
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Videos
The LS swap is no doubt still going strong, but if you’re planning to run an automatic behind your 4.8, 5.3, or 6.0L LS-powered ride, you’ll need to pay attention to a few items we discuss in this buyer’s guide.
Easily Back Your LS Swap with The Manual Transmission of Your Choice
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
Leave all the head scratching to us, as we have your manual transmission bellhousing solution for your LS swap all figured out already
Mopar Flexplate Identification Guide
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
Determining the correct flexplate for your V8 Mopar-powered project takes a little understanding of how these engines were balanced. Our Mopar flexplate buyer’s guide will help.
Ford Flexplate Identification Guide
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
Ford’s small block and big block engine families have their share of flexplate differences. We’ll show you what to look for in this buyer’s guide.
Small Block and Big Block Chevy Engine Flexplate Guide
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
Over several generations of small block Chevy (and big block Chevy) engines there have been several changes that dictate what flexplate works with them. We’ll help you determine the correct flexplate for your Chevy engine in this buyer’s guide.
What You Need to Know About Flexplates
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
The engine’s flexplate is a critical part to transferring power to your drivetrain. Using the correct part is imperative to engine longevity and proper drivetrain assembly.
Two Pedal Tech: Finding the Best Automatic Shifter for Your Build
by Mark Houlahan - Posted in Tech
There are a lot of choices when it comes to automatic shifters, and we’ll help unpack all the options and features in our automatic shifter buyer’s guide