How To Measure A Radiator

How To Measure A Radiator

One question we always get is how to measure a radiator correctly. When ordering a radiator (call us today at 734.351.5365) you need to have accurate measurements of your radiator. In addition to radiators, SouthPOINTE Radiator also carries the hoses and surge tanks you need for a proper installation.

Measure a Radiator: Downflow or Crossflow

By and large, there are two radiator designs: DOWNFLOW radiators and CROSSFLOW radiators. As the name indicates, the DOWNFLOW radiator is distinguished by the direction the engine coolant flows in the radiator – from the top tank on the radiator to the bottom tank on the radiator. The CROSSFLOW radiator is one where the coolant travels horizontally from one tank to the other.

No particular one of these designs is better than the other. Rather, they were made this way because of the functional design of the vehicle. It is very important for you to determine which type of radiator you have for measuring purposes.


There are three measurements you should be aware of, the core height, core width, and core depth.

  • Core Height: As you can see from the diagrams, the core height on a downflow radiator is measured from top to bottom; the “height” on a crossflow radiator is measured from side to side. An easy way to remember this is that CORE HEIGHT IS ALWAYS MEASURED BETWEEN THE TANKS, no matter how the radiator sits in the vehicle. Core height is represented by measurement (A) in the diagrams.
  • Core Width: This is the distance between the core side rails. DO NOT count the side rails in the width measurement of a core. The width is represented by (B) in the diagram for both CROSSFLOW and DOWNFLOW radiators.
  • Core Depth: The easiest and most precise way to measure the core depth (or thickness) is to insert a small piece of wire between the fins on your radiator until the end is flush with the other side. Mark the wire and measure it for your core depth measurement.

Following these steps will help you get an accurate measurement of your radiator. Once you have your measurements, call SouthPOINTE Radiator today at 734.351.5365 to place your order for your next radiator!

To top