The national cost for a heater hose replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $63 and $404 with an average of $156.

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What is a heater hose and how does it work?

A heater hose is a flexible rubber tube that transports coolant to or from the heater core in your vehicle. Heater hoses are important parts of both the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) and the engine cooling systems.

To keep your engine cool, engine coolant (also known as “antifreeze”) is circulated through the engine block where it picks up heat caused by combustion. The coolant is pumped out of the engine to the radiator. There, the heat dissipates into the atmosphere before the coolant returns to the engine to pick up more heat.

Some of that warm coolant is diverted from the engine to the heater core (similar to a radiator) located beneath the dashboard inside the passenger compartment. When the heat function is selected on the climate control center, the vent fan blows air through the heater core, and warm air enters the cabin. One heater hose carries the coolant from the engine to the heater core; another carries coolant back to the engine.


How is a a Heater Hose Replacement done?

Heater hose replacement will differ to some degree from one vehicle make and model to the next. General steps that a technician might take to replace a heater hose begin with allowing your engine to cool considerably - about a half an hour or so - to ensure that hot steam does not escape and cause injury to the technician. From there, other steps include:

  • Open up a valve on the bottom of the radiator to drain all of the coolant from the cooling system (or block the flow of coolant with a special clamp)
  • Dislodge the clamps that secure each end of the heater hose
  • Detach the heater hose from the engine and from the input or output tube of the heater core protruding through the firewall
  • Install the new hose and clamps
  • Replace any lost coolant (or coolant that was drained)
  • Bleed the air from the cooling system to avoid engine overheating

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National average cost of a a Heater Hose Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a heater hose replaced?

Because the heater hoses in your vehicle are part of both the engine cooling system and the HVAC system, signs of a bad hose might show up in one or both. Signs of a bad heater hose include:

The air coming from the vents remains cool when the climate controls are set to “warm”

Cabin temperatures fluctuate

You notice the syrupy smell of engine coolant

You notice a coolant leak near the firewall behind the engine

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Other questions customers ask

What happens if a heater hose is leaking?
If one of the heater hoses on your vehicle is leaking, it might emit scalding steam, give off the syrupy odor of engine coolant, and slowly (maybe not so slowly) drain coolant from the cooling system. Eventually, the radiator and water pump will become starved of coolant and your engine will overheat. Overheating can result in thousands of dollars in damage to your engine. You might also lose heat in the passenger compartment.
Do you have to drain the coolant to replace a heater hose?
The location of the heater hoses on many vehicles is low enough in relationship to the rest of the cooling system that it is often necessary to drain the entire system in order to remove and replace a heater hose. If the repair is attempted without draining the coolant, roughly two thirds will end up on the ground.
Can you drive with a heater hose leak?
A minor leak in a heater hose might allow you to drive for a short distance, but anything more is not recommended. Besides the inherent risk of burns from a hot stream of coolant coming from a ruptured hose, or from steam that escapes from the system, low coolant levels can lead to engine overheating. And that can lead to catastrophic engine failure. Any coolant leaks, including a bad heater hose, should be repaired as soon as possible.

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