How to Repair a Radiator Hose

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How to Repair a Radiator Hose

Internal combustion engines generate a significant amount of heat that must be dissipated in some manner to prevent the engine from damage. Most motor vehicles use water-cooled engines with a radiator acting as the heat exchange unit to keep the motor at acceptable temperatures. Radiator hoses allow the engine coolant to flow from the engine block to the radiator and are important components in the engine cooling process. Radiator hose repairs usually involve the replacement of the hose assembly itself and parts to accomplish the task are available at auto parts stores or dealerships. Sellers on eBay offer radiator hoses to fit common vehicle types, as well as the tools necessary to perform the repairs.

Radiator Hose Repair Versus Hose Replacement

A radiator hose failure generally necessitates replacement. The cooling system operates under high pressure, so a leaking hose requires the installation of a new part. Mechanics can often repair hoses that leak around attachment fittings and hose clamps by cleaning corrosion off the water outlet housing or replacing old, worn out hose clamps.

Tools Required to Perform a Radiator Hose Repair

Having the proper tools and supplies on hand makes the job of replacing a radiator hose a much easier and more efficient task. Mechanics should check to make sure that they have all of the necessary tools and supplies and that they are in good condition.

Tool or Supply


Hose clamps

Attaches the hose to the radiator and engine water outlets

Emery cloth

Cleans metal water outlets

Lime cleaner

Cleans plastic water outlets


Loosens or tightens hose clamps

Adjustable pliers

Twists the radiator hose to loosen the seal to the outlet

Water based lubricant

Makes it easier to slip the radiator hose onto a water outlet

Engine coolant

Refilling the radiator

For hose clamps with nut style tightening points a nut driver can substitute for a flat blade screwdriver to secure the clamp. The adjustable pliers need to be large enough to encircle the radiator hose.

Repairing Leaks at Radiator Hose Connections

If the radiator hose is in good condition, but leaks have formed around hose connections, these conditions can often be repaired. Clamps that have lost tension are one cause of hose connection leaks and replacement with a new clamp resolves the issue. If the clamp is tight and a leak still exists at the hose attachment point, it may be necessary to repair the radiator outlet or replace the cooling inlet on the engine. If an inspection of the radiator reveals a split or pin hole where the radiator hose attaches to the radiator, it is likely the owner needs to remove the radiator and send it to a shop that specialises in radiator repairs. Splits in plastic radiator outlets can sometimes be sealed with a plastic epoxy.

Replacing a Radiator Hose

Radiator hoses that have any type of puncture require replacement. Before starting a radiator hose repair, make sure the engine is cool. Then open the radiator cap to release any residual pressure in the system. Remove the radiator hose clamps by loosening the clamp tightening mechanism with a flat blade screwdriver or nut driver. Twist the radiator hose around the inlet or outlet connection to free the seal from the clamp. Using a pair of adjustable pliers can help to loosen the hose connection; be sure to grasp the hose away from the outlet connection point to prevent damage to the outlet.

Installing a New Radiator Hose

After removing the old radiator hose, clean the connection points with emery cloth for metal outlets and a lime cleaning solution for plastic outlets. Place new hose clamps on the new radiator hose and leave loose until the hose is in place. Slide the radiator hose over the connection points and tighten the hose clamps. Refill the cooling system with the proper coolant for the vehicle, being certain to allow the motor to heat up and establish good flow through the system to eliminate air pockets. Then install the radiator cap and tighten to seal the system.

How to Buy Radiator Hoses on eBay

Buyers can use the "find a part or accessory" search tool on the eBay Motors page to search for radiator hoses to fit their vehicle. Using the drop down menus to enter year, make, and model returns results for all matching parts. Buy with confidence from eBay sellers by reviewing feedback left by previous buyers about the manner in which individual sellers interact with their customers. Buyers looking for tools to assist with a radiator hose replacement can check the eBay Deals page for specials on common repair tools. Replacing a radiator hose themselves can save vehicle owners the cost of a professional technician performing the repair and provide a sense of accomplishment.

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