by Pat Goss
Today’s engines are very durable and very reliable, but one thing they can’t stand is overheating. That means that you need to pay particular attention to heater and radiator hoses on your car. You should be under the hood checking them at least twice a year.
But, keep in mind, no matter how good a hose looks, it may not actually be good. You see, hoses are made up of layers of fabric, that’s what gives it it’s strength, and rubber – That’s what makes it cosmetically appealing and it gives it some flexibility.
While you can’t see that fabric it may be seriously deteriorated inside. Like we have over here – this hose looks to be practically new. But, we cut this apart because it had some age on it. The inside of it is literally falling apart. Well, the rule here is real simple. If it looks bad, it is bad. Replace it immediately. If it looks good and the car’s got 75,000 or more miles and it’s six or seven years or older, put new hoses it on it no matter how good they look. And save yourself an engine.
You may also want to try and save some money. So you go out and you buy aftermarket hoses. Well that may be fine but you have to look carefully at it to make sure it has all the characteristics of the factory hose. Now this hose is supposed to replace this one. But when we look at the end of it, we find that the aftermarket doesn’t have a quick connector on it.
We’re supposed to cut this off and clamp it on the new hose. That means we’re going to use a lot of old parts. The clips, the o-rings and everything like that… which may allow the hose to come loose or leak and then you may have an overheating problem. So, I’d make sure I got one that has the new quick connector on it.
Also you may want to look for fine details like this. You look at this factory hose, there’s a little clamp on it and there’s a bulge in the hose. That’s because there’s a restrictor in the hose that slows the flow of coolant into the heater core. Without that restriction you could have a heater core failure in as little as six to eight weeks. So, make sure they’re a perfect match and you’ll be ok.
Also, the clamps, the ones that comes on the car. They’re spring type clamps like this, everybody wants to throw them away, and put these worm drive clamps on. Bad idea.
The spring type clamp applies force all the way around the hose evenly. The worm drive does not. It has a pressure point right here under the screw it it and that’s especially bad on things like radiator necks which are made out of plastic. That pressure point causes the plastic to crack over time. Just like it did here on this original radiator. So original clamps are best, re-use them whenever possible and save yourself a lot of grief.
If you have a question or comment drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.