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Radiator Hose

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What are the radiator hoses and where are they located?

Radiator hoses connect the radiator to the engine, allowing coolant to flow from the radiator to the engine and back again.  Your car has two radiator hoses: an upper hose and a lower hose. 

 The lower radiator hose - or radiator outlet hose- sends cooled coolant from the radiator to the engine via your water pump. The upper radiator hose—or radiator inlet hose—carries hot coolant from the engine to the radiator once the engine has warmed up and the thermostat has opened. After the coolant has taken on the heat produced by the engine, it returns—via the upper radiator hose—to the radiator where it dissipates that heat. 

 The radiator hoses have to fit around other engine components, so they are molded rubber hoses, made specifically for a given model. The upper radiator hose can be found attached to the top of the radiator near the front of your engine compartment. The lower radiator hose connects to the bottom of the radiator. 

How do I know if my radiator hoses need to be replaced?

Over time, the hoses can become brittle and cracked, or they can become spongy and soft. In either case, they can develop leaks. Leak formation can be exacerbated by electrolysis corrosion. Small amounts of metal may seep into the coolant from the engine. This can create an electrical charge in the coolant that can sometimes discharge. This cracks the hose from the inside out. Changing your coolant regularly will help prevent this from happening. 

A leaking radiator cooling hose can result in visible coolant leaks under the car or truck. Look under the vehicle for liquid that's the same color as your coolant. Your coolant may be a blue-green or a reddish color. If you are having a hard time identifying leaks, you can park on top of a piece of cardboard or butcher paper to make the leaks stand out more. 

If you suspect that your radiator hose is leaking, you can visually inspect it. Look for cracks or soft spots. If the engine and hoses are not hot from recently running, you can feel if the hose has spots that are brittle or spongy by squeezing along their length with your hand. 

A leaking hose can cause lost coolant. If you find you have to refill your coolant frequently, one of your radiator hoses may need to be replaced. Lost coolant can eventually lead to overheating, which will cause further damage to your vehicle. An engine that overheats is a sign that you have let a cooling problem go on for too long. 

The radiator hoses have hot coolant constantly running through them, and are found near other hot engine parts. While they are designed to withstand some high heat, they will eventually wear out.

In general, upper hoses suffer more wear, because they carry hot coolant from the engine, while lower hoses carry cooled coolant from the radiator back into the engine to begin the cooling process once again. 

Can I replace the radiator hoses myself?

Replacing a radiator hose is a fairly straightforward process. You’ll want to let the engine cool down before working around the radiator to avoid burning yourself. Be sure to have a catch pan ready when you drain the coolant. Be careful not to spill coolant, since it can be dangerous to children and animals. With the coolant drained, you’ll be able to unclamp the hose from the engine and the radiator, pull it out, and clamp on the new one. The clamps that hold the hose in place can, themselves, wear out, leading to leaks. So, it’s a good idea to replace the clamps at the same time you are replacing the hose. 

Need a radiator hose replacement?

If your radiator hose has failed, you are likely to experience problems with your vehicle’s cooling system, which can lead to a bevy of other issues, such as overheating of the engine. That’s why it is important to purchase and install a radiator hose replacement as soon as possible. Luckily, here at 1A Auto we carry a large selection of replacement radiator hoses for many makes and models, and at great prices.

At 1A Auto, we make shopping for a replacement radiator hose for your car, truck, SUV, or van easy - we're here to help you select the right part for your vehicle! Call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about our aftermarket radiator cooling hoses, warranty, compatibility or to purchase, or you can buy online.

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