How to Check Radiator Hoses

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Checking a car's radiator hoses involves squeezing them to see if they have good elasticity. Squeeze car radiator hoses with tips from an automotive service excellence (ASE)-certified master auto technician in this free video on automotive maintenance.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance Tips
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Video Transcript

My name is Dave Erb from Dave's Ultimate Automotive in Austin, Texas and we're talking about radiator hoses or cooling system hoses. A radiator hose is what carries the coolant from the engine into the radiator to be cooled and to the engine again. There's most common people know about are upper and lower radiator hoses, but also in the cooling system are other hoses. Bypass hoses, heater hoses, all these hoses need to be looked, need to be checked to see if they're in good condition because a blown hose can leave you stranded on the side of the road. What you're looking for in a hose is that it has good elasticity when you squeeze it, it doesn't have any thin spots or any bubbling. It might look pregnant, that's an indication that it might may be about to burst. Also, if you squeeze the hose and it crunches, that's another indicator that the hose is in poor condition. The useful life of a hose generally, industry standards are around four years, 60 to 80,000 miles is something you really need to start paying attention to their hoses. Also, if you do decide to change your hoses, don't just change the radiator hoses, all the other hoses in the system are the same age and carry the same coolant the same amount of times through them and they need to be addressed at the same time you do the radiator hoses. Hoses themselves, even if you have low mileage, once you get around the 4 to 5 year period they will tend to dry out. Like any rubber, they'll lose their chemical elasticity, and can cause you problems. So that is cooling system hoses.


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