How to Test a Car's Radiator Hose for Winter

What You'll Need
Radiator hose
Vehicle manual

The cooling system in your vehicle is an incredibly important component in keeping the vehicle running smoothly and at its core is the radiator hose. Something as simple as a radiator hose can mean the difference between keeping your car cool and running smoothly. Part of the general maintenance of the vehicle includes looking at the radiator hose. The radiator hose is used to transport coolant to the areas of the engine that get hot. During the winter months the engine will see extreme conditions of hot and cold. This cold weather will cause the radiator hose to expand and contract which can cause cracks and other issues to form. Though a damaged radiator hose is not an immediate concern, it can grow to become one. The article below will explain how to check a radiator hose to make sure it is in good condition for the winter.

Step 1 – Find the Hoses

There are two radiator hoses inside the engine compartment. Each of these hoses is very important to the functionality of the vehicle. To make sure you have the right hoses, you need to use the manual that came with your vehicle. It will be able to pinpoint the location of both of the hoses. Open the hood of your car and examine the radiator area. Use the manual as a guide if you have to. As mentioned, there are two hoses. The hose located at the top transports the hot coolant from inside the engine’s block to the radiator. The second radiator hose, the one on the bottom, is used to flow the cooled fluid from the radiator to the engine block.

Step 2 – Visual Inspection

Check each radiator hose for any signs of flaking or cracking. The hoses are made out of rubber so they are susceptible to the elements; especially the cold. As the rubber cools and heats up repeatedly, it can begin to rot, which will create the damage. Inspect the clamps that hold the hoses in place for rust. Replace any damaged radiator hose or rusted clamps.

Step 3 – Texture

A radiator hose, being that it is rubber, should also be soft to the touch and flexible. They also need to be firm. Gently squeeze the hose along the length of it. Look for a hose that is somewhat spongy but also firm, as it should spring back to shape when you release it. If the radiator hose does not return to its shape, it needs to be replaced.

Step 4 – The Seal

In order to transport these liquids properly, the radiator hose has to be clamped tight. If they are loose, the hot fluid would create steam and can damage the vehicle as well as hurt you. Use your hand and grip the clamps that hold the radiator hose in place and then twist. If the hose or clamp moves, you will need to tighten the clamp using the screwdriver. Tighten each clamp until the radiator hose does not move.