How Can You Tell When Radiator and Heater Hoses Need to be Replaced?

Sun Devil Auto Expert, published on 08/24/2015

Radiator and heater hoses are integral to your engine’s cooling system. While both are comprised of the same material, soft, pliable rubber, each hose has a different function. Radiator hoses are connected to both the radiator and engine to direct coolant to the radiator so it can be cooled and then back into the engine so it can maintain a certain temperature, preventing overheating. Heater hoses are used to transfer heated coolant into the vehicle’s heating unit or heater core.

Since most fluid-system hoses deteriorate from the inside out, you will not be able to rely on a visual inspection. A crackling sound, though, while squeezing (when the vehicle is not running) is a good indication that replacement is needed. Occasionally, a hose may develop a visible bubble on the outside or become very soft to the touch. However, waiting for these types of indications could mean you have waited too long.

You’ll also need to consider weather extremes. Excessive outside temperatures, engine heat, and rubber materials are all factors that lead to hoses drying out or hardening. Finally, certain acidities that may leak in your engine, such as oil, can eat away at the rubber which could compromise the integrity of the hoses.

With Arizona’s extreme temperatures, you should consider replacing your hoses every 4 years or 50,000 miles, not to exceed 75,000 miles. Any time your hoses are replaced, it is also recommended that you replace your hose clamps. Hose clamps keep your engine and radiator hoses in place and can weaken from constant tension over time.

Avoiding hose replacement can cause a variety of concerns. Your engine may begin to leak coolant which will cause the engine to run hotter, which could in turn lead to overheating and costly repairs.

If you are in need of new hoses or need an experienced technician to inspect your radiator and/or heater hoses, be sure to bring your vehicle to Sun Devil Auto. As Your Alternative to the Dealership, we offer complete automotive repair services at a lower cost than you’d find at the dealer.