Radiator Hose Replacement

Radiator Hoses
How to Replace Radiator Hoses

Before inspecting your radiator hoses, make sure your vehicle engine is cold. You don’t want to inspect your hoses when they are hot. Most radiator hoses are made out of silicone based rubber that offers resistance to hardening, cracking, aging and leaks. Over time, rubber products tend to dry out and crack reducing the integrity of the rubber. High quality radiator hoses have multiple-ply construction with a fabric mesh reinforcement depending on the application. Hoses can also show signs of bulging when they get close to failure, others can fail with no warning. When systems are under pressure, the weakest point will fail first.

Signs your Radiator Hoses Need to be Replaced

  • Hoses can also show signs of bulging
  • Hoses are cracked and dry
  • Bulging or enlarged spots
  • The vehicle is more than 10 years old and they have never been changed
Before we start park your car on a flat surface with the engine "off" and the parking brake applied. Also place the transmission in park and wear protective clothing, eyewear and gloves.

Tools and Supplies Needed to Complete This Job

1. Flashlight

2. Jack stands

3. Floor jack

4. Coolant

5. Replacement radiator hose

6. Hose clamps

7. Coolant catch pan

8. Pliers

9. Channel Locks

10. Screwdriver set


Step 1 - Block the rear wheels front and back to prevent wheel roll.

Step 2 - Jack up the front end using a floor jack and rest vehicle on solid floor jacks

Step 3 - Put on gloves and safety glasses and lift hood to gain access to the engine compartment.

Step 4 - Remove any covers that are blocking your access to see and touch the upper radiator hose.

Step 5 - Inspect the hose clamps and the condition of the hose ends.

Step 6 - The upper radiator hose connects the radiator to the thermostat housing on the intake manifold on the engine. (Note: When replacing the upper radiator hose, you should also replace the thermostat which is located in the thermostat housing.)

Step 7 - Inspect the radiator hose closely with the flashlight and flex the hose and look for small cracks.

Step 8 - Remove any lower covers to gain access to the lower radiator hose.

Step 9 - The lower radiator hose connects the radiator to the water pump. Inspect for any of the signs of aging.

Best Practices

  • Always clean the hose fitting before installing the new hose to ensure proper seal.
  • Use new hose clamps

If further technical assistance is needed, our certified car repair technicians are ready to answer your car questions. For manufacturer specific repair information visit - Car Repair Manuals

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Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-11-28)