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When and How Should You Replace Your Radiator Hose?

Have you driven your vehicle only to see that after a while, your engine temperature starts to rise?

Maybe you smell something burning under the hood or see white smoke rising around the front of your vehicle. These are all signs of coolant somehow leaking from your radiator.

When this happens, you’re going to have to ask yourself—Is it time for me to replace the radiator hose? Find out the signs when you need a replacement and how to make it happen with this guide.

What is a Radiator Hose?

The radiator hose is a hose made of a synthetic rubber that directs the flow of liquid coolant from the engines water pump and through the radiator. Radiator hoses are typically made of synthetic rubber to resist the bouncing of everyday driving.

When Does the Radiator Hose Need to Be Replaced?

The cooling system in your vehicle is essential to maintain the temperature of your engine. If you continue to drive when your cooling system isn’t working, you can cause substantial damage to your engine and all of its moving parts.

A common issue when it comes to overheating engines is coolant not being present. When coolant isn’t present, this usually presents itself in the form of a leak in the cooling system. 

  • Tell-tale signs that you have a leak is if you experience the following.
  • Fresh green Liquid puddle from under your car 
  • Steam rising from under the hood
  • A burning smell emitting from the front of your car
  • The AC isn’t working well
  • The engine temperature rises above its normal range
  • Drop in the coolant level
  • Discoloration or corrosion around the radiator.

How to Replace the Radiator Hose

The first step in tackling any type of automotive project is prepping yourself for the job. No one wants to start something they can’t finish because they’re not prepared for the job.

Here is a list of tools and parts you need to ensure you get the job done right:

  • New Radiator hose – you can find one from this manufacturer
  • Coolant recommended for your vehicle
  • Distilled water
  • Utility Knife
  • Large bucket or pan
  • Screwdriver

Step 1

Before you start anything, make sure that you haven’t driven your car for at least 30 minutes before you begin touching any of the radiator and engine components. 

Your engine, hoses, and radiator will still be hot, and the coolant can be boiling if you try to change it before its cooled down.

Failure to do this can result in burns and significant injuries.

Step 2

Once your engine is cooled down, place your large bucket or pan underneath the radiator. The plan is to drain all of the coolants out of the vehicle by unscrewing the drain plug on the radiator.

This screw location is at the bottom of the radiator. Once all of the radiator fluid is drained, don’t dispose of quite yet. If the radiator fluid was put in not too long before you can pour the liquid back in once you are finished with the job.

Step 3

Locate the hoses you want to replace and take a flat head screwdriver and loosen the hose clamps at both ends. Due to the high heat these hoses sustain over time, you may have to pry the hoses off the ends with a utility. You may have to tug at it with a pair of pliers gently.

Step 4

Take some time to clean off the metal hoses that were attached to the radiator hose. Ensure there are no cracks, bends, or tears in the metal hoses. 

Step 5

Put the hose clamps on the ends of the new radiator hose and insert them back to the ends of the metal hoses. Tighten the hose clamps until they are tight, and there is no wiggle room.

Step 6

Take off the radiator and pour in a 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water into the radiator. Don’t forget to screw the drain plug back on the bottom of the radiator. Make sure to use the recommended coolant that your car manufacturer suggests.

Step 7

Without putting the radiator cap back on, start your vehicle and turn the heat to its highest setting. Press the gas pedal a few times to allow the circulation of the coolant.

Step 8

Secure the radiator cap

step 9

Before you consider yourself the king of changing radiator hoses, continue to run your engine and give it a few more revs. Get back under the hood and visually inspect that the tubes are holding up, and there are no leaks.

Once you have done all these steps, you are done with your radiator hose replacement. 

Important Tips to Consider

Most radiator hoses last about 60,000 miles or every four years. Stop and go traffic is hard on your engine, and in turn, your radiator hoses, so make sure you inspect them frequently for any damage or leaks.

When changing your radiator hoses, make sure you replace them with new ones that are designed specifically for your vehicle. Radiator hoses are made of synthetic material and are not comparable to other types of hoses used on your car.

When Changing your radiator hoses, make sure you also inspect the radiator cap, water pump, and the radiator itself.

If damage has occurred the radiator hose, there could be more damage in those areas of the cooling system. In the end, always make sure you are keeping up with your vehicle maintenance. Annually checks can prevent expensive mistakes.

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