The national cost for a radiator hose replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $54 and $344 with an average of $145.

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What is a radiator hose and how does it work?

A radiator hose is a component of your vehicle’s engine cooling system. Typically made of rubber, a radiator hose carries engine coolant from the engine to the radiator or vice versa.

In order to ensure that your engine operates within a specific temperature range, and to keep it from overheating, a liquid coolant (also known as “antifreeze”) is circulated through the engine block. There, the coolant absorbs heat from the engine. The coolant exits the engine through the upper radiator hose and travels to the radiator.

Inside the radiator, the coolant flows through a network of tiny tubes snaking their way across a matrix of cooling fins. Air passing through the radiator pulls heat from the coolant and allows it to dissipate into the atmosphere. Once its temperature has dropped, the coolant returns to the engine through the lower radiator hose so it can pick up some more heat.


How is a a Radiator Hose Replacement done?

The process for replacing a radiator hose will differ slightly from one vehicle make and model to the next. Changing an upper radiator hose is also different from replacing a lower hose. In general, though, the service requires the following:

  • Allow the engine to cool for about half an hour
  • Raise and support your vehicle in the air for access (lower hose)
  • Remove any shields or guards in the way of access to the hose (lower hose)
  • 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)
  • Detach each end of the radiator hose
  • 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
  • Replace any components that were removed for access

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National average cost of a a Radiator Hose Replacement
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How do I know if a radiator hose needs to be replaced?

When your engine is running and up to operating temperature, the coolant is under pressure and very hot. Most engines operate somewhere near the range of 185-220 degrees Fahrenheit. The radiator hoses are made of rubber in order to accommodate vibrations from the engine and road conditions. Occasionally, the rubber wears out or becomes damaged. Signs of a bad radiator hose include the following:

You notice that a radiator hose is swelling or bulging

You see cracks in a radiator hose

The hose makes a crackling sound when you squeeze it

The hose feels unusually soft to the touch when squeezed

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Other questions customers ask

Is it easy to fix a radiator hose?
Whether or not it is easy to fix a radiator hose depends on what is meant by “fix”. A worn, damaged, or failing radiator hose should never be repaired. It should be replaced. The level of difficulty for replacing a radiator hose depends somewhat on your vehicle make and model. But it depends more on the location of the hose. It is significantly more difficult to replace the lower radiator hose on most vehicles than it is to replace the upper hose.
Do you have to drain coolant to change a radiator hose?
If the upper radiator hose needs to be replaced, it can often be done with minimal loss of engine coolant. The lower radiator hose, on the other hand, is a different story. It is more difficult to access. And yes, it requires that the coolant be drained from the system. In either case, though, the coolant needs to be “burped” of any air that becomes trapped in the cooling system.
What causes a blown radiator hose?
A “blown” radiator hose, one that fails while your engine is running, is a result of rubber that has deteriorated and is no longer able to contain the pressure of hot coolant in your engine’s cooling system. If a hose becomes worn out, or if it is contaminated with oil or other substance that causes the rubber to break down, it can fail at some point. Cracks or tears in the rubber are also causes for concern. Plan to replace your radiator hoses before they fail.

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