Exploring Automotive Electrical Faults

If Your Car Is Over Five Years Old, It's Time To Check The Radiator Hoses

Radiator hoses take a beating over time, and it's not as easy to tell when they are going bad anymore. Back in the old days, radiator hoses would develop bumps or exterior cracks that you could easily see before they sprang a leak. Nowadays, radiator hoses wear from the inside out and the potential for spotting an imminent failure is not as easy to do. If your car is five years old or older or has close to 100,000 miles on it, you should inspect and replace deteriorating radiator hoses before they break and leave you stranded. Here is how the average car owner can inspect the radiator hoses and replace them.

Cool Engine

Make sure the car is turned off and the engine has been allowed to cool down before you do any work on the radiator hoses. You can easily get burned by touching hot parts or by the coolant in the hose when you take one off of the car.


There are typically little pieces of aluminum, brass, and plastic moving around in the coolant. All these materials acting together create an electrical current that flows through the hoses. This electrical current degradation (ECD) damages the inside of a normal radiator hose and causes cracks to form inside of it. The cracks will weaken the integrity of the hose and eventually cause it to leak.

Squeeze Test

The most efficient way to test the integrity of the hose is to squeeze it. You may want to put on a pair of gloves to keep your hands from getting filthy. Squeeze along the hose with your hand. You want to see if there are any mushy or soft spots in the hose. You also want to listen for cracking or popping sounds as you squeeze the hose. Another sign your hose may be about to fail is if the ends of the hose are softer than the middle of the hose. You should replace the hose if you feel any softness or hear cracking and popping sounds.

Replacement Hose

When buying a replacement radiator hose, you should get one that is rated to withstand the electrical current degradation that negatively affects a typical hose. Look on the box to see if there are the letters "ECR" written on the package. ECR stands for electrical current resistance. Hoses marked ECR last longer than a typical radiator hose under normal driving conditions.

Replacing Hose

A radiator hose is held in place with hose clamps. You loosen the hose clamps by turning the screw on the clamp counter-clockwise until you can slide the hose off of the connections to the radiator and engine. Put the new hose into the place of the old one, and screw the clamp down until the hose fits tightly over the connections.

For more information, contact auto repair services near you.