Every few years, it is a good idea to change your car’s radiator hoses even if they have not started to leak. The high temperatures and high pressure takes a toll on the materials of the hose and weaken the hose. Eventually, this will lead to a pressure bubble forming on the hose that will at some point rupture.
Because the bubble only is apparent when the hose is pressurized, you often cannot see it when the motor is not running. Unless you are someone who enjoys poking around under the hood of your car all of the time, it is better to just plan on replacing your radiator hoses about every other year. This will help prevent an unexpected breakdown.
Cars have two radiator hoses. One is the upper or top radiator hose, and the other is the lower or bottom hose. While you are getting dirty changing one, you should just change them both. When you raise the hood, you can always see the upper radiator hose. It is about 2 inches in diameter and runs from the top of your radiator to the top of your engine block. These are usually black, but the do sometimes show up as red, blue, or some other color.
Depending on your car, you may or may not be able to see the lower hose from above. Put something on the ground or use a creeper and slide under the front of your car. You should not have to jack it up for this unless you have very low ground effect molding. The lower hose will start somewhere near the bottom of the radiator and run to a fitting on the water pump.
Both hose will have some type of clamp on each end that secures them to the radiator and engine. When you buy the new hoses, buy replacement clamps. The old ones might work, but new ones will be much easier to use during the replacement. Old clamps sometimes get damaged when they are being removed. By buying new ones, you avoid having this issue later.
If you are new to this repair, start the job by removing the upper hose first. It is usually easier and faster than the lower hose. You can practice on the easy one first. Use a screw driver and loosen the clamp at each end of the hose. Some clamps will require the use of pliers.
Sometimes, one end is easier to remove. By loosening both clamps, it allows you to remove the one the comes off first, and you can use the hose as a grip to help remove the other end. Once the clamps are loose, pull and wiggle the hose near one end until it come off. Repeat the process on the other end.
Since the fittings on the engine and radiator have a bead to help secure the hose, it can be hard to get the hose to let go. If it is too difficult, use a sharp knife or utility knife and cut the hose from the end up past the fitting. You should be able to peel the hose loose.
Once the old hose is removed, slip one of the new clamps onto the new hose and push the end over the fitting on the engine. Slip the clamp down to about 1/2 inch from the end of the hose and tighten it until it will stay in place without holding it. Do not tighten it all of the way. Now, put the other clamp on the hose and attach the hose to the radiator. Once the hose has been put into place, tighten both clamps as much as possible.
It is time to start on the lower hose installation. Basically, you will do exactly the same procedure on the lower hose only from the underneath of the car. Once the hose is on and the clamps are tight, you have finished the job. Dispose of the old hoses and clamps, put away the tools, and wash up.