Auto Repair Help
Auto Repair Help – Quick Fix Tutorial Series

by John Mosko

Your radiator hoses will wear out eventually. Rather than driving your vehicle until the problem becomes apparent with a road side breakdown, replace them as signs of wear appear and keep your vehicle free from trouble. I nthis quick tutorial, I’ll walk you step by step through the process of changing the hoses and discuss all the tools you need to do the job.

Tools Necessary:
Nutdriver, pliers, fluid pan, replacement hoses and clamps

Approx. Time Required:
25-35 minutes

Additional Useful Items:
White grease, fresh radiator coolant, small rubber hose, carter key removal tool

Cautionary Reminder: When changing your hoses make sure the engine is completely cool. Do not attempt to change the hoses if the vehicle has been running recently.

Start by draining the coolant from the radiator. Make sure your bucket or pan is in place and release the petcock at the radiator base with a pair of pliers. If you have a small piece of hose, you can use it to direct the flow of fluid into your bucket or drip pan. Once the fluid ha drained, you can retighten the petcock and begin removing the hoses.

As an aside, when changin hoses, it is always a good idea to do both the upper and lower radiator hose, as you don’t want to find that you have forgotten that lower hose one day while stranded on the side of the road. It is an inexpensive repair and deosn’t add much time to the process so get both hoses changed each time. Additionally, use new clamps as well because older clamps corrode and lose their spring which can lead to leaks down the road.

Use your nutdriver to loosen the clamps and begin to remove the hose. Once the clamps are loose, slide them out of the way to the middle of the hose. Use your hand to gently tug on the hose and remove it. If you have a hose that is stuck, the carter key removal tool will come in handy to pry it off. Continue this procedure until all hoses are removed.

When you install your new hoses, adding a small amount of white grease to the inside of the hose will lubricate it and help it slide into place easier. It will also make it much easier to swivle and move the hose as necessary when you attempt to line up the opposite end.

Once the hose is in place, use your nutdriver to snug up the new clamps. Be careful not to overtighten the clamps though as tearing or puncturing the new hose could result.

After the hoses are back on and firmly attached, you can refill the system with coolant. You can use the previously drained coolant as long as your pan hasn’t contaminated it with particles or other debris, or for a few bucks, use some fresh coolant and water in a 50/50 mixture. If you live in an area with particularly harsh weather, you might consider weighing this ratio a slight bit more towards anti-freeze.

Once everything is complete, close up the hood and give you car a quick trip around the neighboorhood. Once back home, pop the hood, and do a quick visual inspection for leaks. As long as there are none, this job is complete.


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