How to Replace a Radiator Hose

Most radiator hoses are made out of silicone based rubber that offers resistance to hardening and cracking. Hoses can also show signs of bulging when they get close to failure, others can fail with no warning. High quality radiator hoses have multiple-ply construction with a fabric mesh reinforcement depending on the application.

Hoses Need to be Replaced When

  • Showing signs of bulging
  • Cracked and dry
  • Hoses are more than 8 years old

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Flashlight
  • Jack stands
  • Floor jack
  • Coolant
  • Hose clamps
  • Replacement radiator hose
  • Fluid catch basin
  • Pliers/channel locks hose clamp removal tool
  • Screw driver set
  • Pick Tool

Best Practices

  • Always clean the hose fitting before installing the new hose.
  • Recheck the cooling system after a couple of days to ensure proper operation.
  • Use new hose clamps.

Let's Jump In!

Open the radiator cap to release any residual pressure and to allow the coolant to flow freely when drained.
removing radiator cap

Locate the radiator drain plug which is where the system coolant will be drained from, some cooling systems do not have a drain valve, the lower radiator hose should be used to drain the system.
locate drain valve

Loosen the drain plug allowing the coolant to flow into a catch basin, tighten the drain plug once the coolant has completely drained.
drain coolant

Identify the radiator hose that needs to be replaced.
upper radiator hose

At each end of the hose clamps are used to secure the hose to the radiator and engine. Use pliers, channel locks or a hose clamp installation tool can be used to loosen the clamp, a twisting motion will help loosen the seal of the hose.
removing hose clamp

Watch the Video!

Please watch this video of the job being done, then continue down the guide to glean additional helpful information.

Remove the remaining hose clamps at the opposite end of the hose.
removing hose clamp

After the hose clamps have been removed from the clamping area, use a pick or screw driver to "break" the seal by forcing it between the hose and fitting.
hose removal tool

Grasp the hose and twist the hose which will fully release the hose seal.
twisting hose remove

The hose will pull off the fitting, a small amount of coolant maybe present which is normal. A small amount of coolant can be trapped on top of the closed thermostat.
hose removed

Match the new radiator hose to the old hose to ensure a proper installation.
new radiator hose

After transferring the hose clamps to the new hose and cleaning fitting ends, push the new hose onto the fitting while squeezing the clamp open, repeat this for action the opposing hose end. Replace any clamps that are broken or worn.
install new radiator hose

When installing the hose clamps position the clamp in front of the fitting ridge, this ridge is designed to help the hose and clamp stay secure under pressure. The alignment of the clamp should be "square" (not crooked) to hold pressure needed to successfully seal.
clamp position

Once the new hose or hoses have been replaced, refill the radiator with coolant. Start the engine and allow to warm up to operating temperature which will allow the thermostat to open, continue adding coolant until the level is between the indicator lines on the coolant reservoir.
refilling coolant

 Reinstall the radiator cap and tighten, allow the engine to run while checking for leaks. If leaks are present release the system pressure and reposition the clamp.
reinstalling radiator cap


Our certified technicians are ready to answer radiator hose replacement questions for free. We hope you saved money and learned from this guide. We are creating a full set of car repair guides. Please subscribe to our 2CarPros YouTube channel and check back often for new videos which are uploaded regularly.

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