Your car’s engine generates a lot of heat as it takes you from point A to point B, which is why every vehicle is equipped with a radiator/cooling system. This system prevents your engine from overheating and causing severe, and possibly irreparable, damages.
The hoses within the system are especially important in the cooling process. These hoses carry a fluid, appropriately called coolant, through the radiator and the engine to maintain a consistent temperature.
There are multiple hoses involve in the process, including an upper hose that connects the top of the radiator to the top of the engine, and a lower hose that connects the bottom of the radiator to the engine’s water pump. This keeps coolant pumping through the entire system.
The hoses are made of rubber, and are therefore subject to cracking and other deterioration from overuse. It’s recommended that these cooling hoses be replaced every 40,000 miles or every five years — whichever comes first –but if you don’t know the last time your hoses were replaced, some signs to look out for are:
- When the AC or heater are not working well
- The coolant is leaking coolant
- There’s steam coming out of the engine compartment
- You can see cracks or kinks in the radiator hoses
What if your hose breaks unexpectedly?
If you think that one of your hoses is shot, lift the hood of your car and inspect the area for coolant leaks. Coolant can different colors, varying from green to yellow or orange.
Before you try to take any action, let the engine cool. Touching any part of the engine before the car is cool enough could leave you with a nasty burn. Your best bet is to call a mechanic to take a look and see if you need any body work done. In most cases, the mechanic will want to replace the hoses and clamps, which have become stressed over time.
Clamps are used to provide even pressure and prevent any gaps between the hoses and barbs. The sizes of the clamps relate to the sizes of the hose, so larger hoses that send more fluids through require large hose clamps to accommodate them. Without the proper size clamp, the hose is at risk of leaking gas, liquid, or whatever else is inside of it.
Surprisingly, there are many different types of hose clamps available, ranging from large hose clamps to small ones, to adjustable and heavy duty hose clamps, and everything in between. In a pinch, a screw clamp can be used, but your mechanic will know what size and material is best suited for your vehicle.