Your engine cooling system keeps everything under the hood of your car from overheating. One important part of this cooling system is the coolant reservoir. It holds the very element that cools your entire engine--the coolant. So when your car starts overheating and you find a leak underneath it, it's about time you go shopping for a new coolant reservoir. Choosing the right one can get a little tricky because of all the available options. So be sure you've got every coolant reservoir question answered before you decide on one.
Plastic vs. aluminum vs. stainless steel coolant reservoirs
To get the most out of your coolant reservoir, you have to make sure that it is made from the toughest material available in the market. But what is the best material for a coolant reservoir? There are basically 3 types of reservoir according to material-plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel.
If you're talking about durability and resilience, it is a choice between getting either an aluminum or stainless steel reservoir. Both are highly resistant to corrosion and are more visually appealing. The important difference between aluminum and steel, besides the price, is their weight. Aluminum is relatively lighter than steel. So if you want a faster and leaner car, a more aerodynamic aluminum coolant reservoir is your best bet. However if you're strapped on cash and you just need a cheap replacement for your already leaking coolant reservoir, you can buy one made out of plastic. It is a more practical and cost effective alternative to both aluminum and steel. But be wary when choosing plastic. It tends to develop minute and almost invisible cracks over time.
Buying an individual coolant reservoir or choosing one sold in a kit
Topnotch engine cooling starts with perfectly fitted parts, so it's only natural to consider whether you should buy a coolant reservoir individually or in a kit. The answer to this question will largely depend on its material. If you decide to go for plastic, you'll hardly find one that is sold in a kit. Plastic coolant reservoirs are already made with fasteners that attach them to your system, which eliminates the use of gaskets and O-rings. But if you have your eyes set on either an aluminum or stainless steel coolant reservoir, it is best to purchase one in a kit. This will ensure that all mounting brackets, hoses, hardware, and other connecting parts are of the right shape and size.
OE replacement parts vs. aftermarket products
Some might experience difficulty when looking for replacement coolant reservoirs from secondary sources. There is no generic, one-size-fits-all part when it comes to coolant reservoirs. Most aftermarket products have limited variety and might not fit the rest of your engine cooling system. So just to be on the safer side, make sure you get an OE replacement part. This will save you the hassle of going through tons of dealers just to find one that will ensure a perfect fit.