How to change Radiator Hose

Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 10 minutes
How often: Every 60,000 miles
The radiator is important to keep your car running at its best. It’s responsible for keeping the engine from overheating. Your car produces friction and heat while operating, and the radiator, through passageways and coolant, keeps your engine at a safe temperature. The radiator hose connects the radiator to the engine. Over time, this hose needs to be replaced to keep the whole unit running smoothly.

Things you’ll need from your garage or your local Southern Auto Parts Store:

  • New radiator hose
  • Original equipment recommended coolant
  • Distilled water
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Large pan or bucket

Before you begin to replace your radiator hose, you need to make sure you can reach it easily. Depending on your car, the hose may be in a difficult location. If this is the case, take your car to your nearest Southern Auto Care Center and have them replace it for you.

Step 1

Diagnosing radiator hose problems.

If your car is over four years old or has more than 60,000 miles, it may be time to replace your hose. If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving and/or your car has a four-cylinder engine, this can accelerate the hose’s damage.

Step 2

Replacing your radiator hose.

If your radiator hose is easily accessible and you want to replace it yourself, follow these steps:

  • 1. Make sure your car has cooled down before touching or opening the radiator.
  • 2. Place a large pan under the radiator and drain it by unscrewing the drain plug. This is located at the bottom of the radiator.
  • 3. Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the hose clamps on both ends of the hose. You may have to use a utility knife to remove the hose completely. If so, remember to cut carefully so you don’t damage the radiator.
  • 4. Put the hose clamps on to the new radiator hose and put it in proper position. Tighten the hose clamps.
  • 5. Use a mixture of half parts coolant and half parts water to refill the radiator. Always use the coolant recommended by the car manufacture. Use either pure coolant mixed with distilled water or use premixed coolant.
  • 6. Leaving the radiator cap open, start your car and turn the heat to it’s maximum. Press the gas, holding down for about 10 seconds at least two or three times.
  • 7. Put the radiator cap back in place.

Important Tips

  • It is recommended that you replace your hose every four years or 60,000 miles.
  • Stop and go traffic and/or four cylinder engines may require more frequent replacement of your hose.
  • If you are going to replace your hose yourself, get the exact hose for your car from your local auto parts store. Hoses are not interchangeable and your car requires a specific size and shape.
  • If your car requires a new water pump, this is a sign that it has overheated before and hose replacement is suggested.
  • If your car requires a new radiator cap, you should check your radiator hose carefully because a faulty cap can put additional pressure and wear on the hose.