Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade

Helping You Wrench

Scott Tsuneishi
Sep 22, 2011

With the summer days upon us, your engine’s cooling system should be inspected, flushed, and refilled with fresh coolant. One area of cooling systems that even do-it-yourself mechanics overlook is checking the radiator hoses. A quick visual inspection could uncover a weakened hose that could leave you stranded if remained unrepaired. If you’ve never inspected radiator hoses, we offer this simple guide.

Impp 1110 01 o+radiator hose inspection+hoses Photo 2/5   |   Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade

1. Upper and lower radiator hoses, along with the heater hoses, should be checked for deterioration, leaks, and/or loose hose clamps every 3,000 miles. When checking the hoses, make sure the engine and cooling system are cold. Begin by visually inspecting for cracking, rotting, or collapsed hoses. Firmly squeeze both the upper radiator and heater hoses. They should feel firm, stiff, and rigid. A hose that feels very hard or makes a “crunch” when squeezed is an indication of age-related hardening or deterioration and should be replaced immediately. Oil is another enemy of rubber hoses. A swollen, soft, or spongy hose could be caused by transmission fluid leaking in the coolant or an internal engine oil leak breaking down the composition of the rubber hose.

Impp 1110 23 o+radiator hose+damage Photo 3/5   |   Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade

2. Next, you want to finish inspecting your car’s hoses with a warm engine. After driving the car, turn off the engine and immediately open the hood. If a weak, swollen, or ballooning effect is present on any part of the hose, it should be replaced.

Impp 1110 02 o+radiator hose inspection+warm engine Photo 4/5   |   Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade

You also want to look for small, damp spots or trails of coolant at the hose ends. Dry coolant tracks, often greenish or pink in color, depending on the type of coolant, leaking downward from the hose ends, thermostat housing, firewall, or radiator, may indicate a damaged radiator neck, or a leak caused from a hose clamp that was overtightened, causing the hose to separate and tear on either side of the clamp.

3. Silicone hoses such as Samco Sport’s are an excellent replacement, and are designed to operate at much higher temperatures and pressures, are chemically resistant to oil and fuel, and are more durable than OEM rubber hoses.

Impp 1110 26 o+radiator hose+samco hoses Photo 5/5   |   Radiator Hose Inspection - Tricks of the Trade

Following these simple inspection tips only takes a few minutes, and can save you a great deal of stress and costly repairs in the long run.

By Scott Tsuneishi
247 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE HOW TO

500 horsepower. It's a number that whoever made your car never thought it ought to have.
Aaron BonkJan 31, 2017
Audi B8 A4/S4 coilover kit and VW MK4/5 Golf/Jetta airbags are now available from Raceland
Bob HernandezJan 25, 2017
Engine and chassis bolt-on bits for the undeserved Scion iM
Sam DuJan 24, 2017
The 944S2 is capable of making solid power but to keep making it reliably it's important that maintenance is up to date.
Rory JurneckaJan 18, 2017
You not plowing into the back of that Chrysler starts with your brake pedal and ends with its pads, but that's not the whole story.
Aaron BonkJan 16, 2017
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP