The radiator hose is part of your car’s cooling system, carrying the coolant to the radiator, where the fluid is cooled, then back to the engine to keep the vehicle from overheating. The upper hose attaches from the top of the radiator to the top of the engine at the thermostat housing. The lower hose, pictured above, attaches from the bottom of the radiator to the water pump of the engine. If you suspect either of these hoses is failing, you should look for these symptoms:
1) Leaking coolant
If you notice a puddle of green fluid beneath your vehicle, there’s a good chance your vehicle is leaking coolant. Coolant usually has a sweet smell to it and can come from a number of places including the radiator hose, the radiator drain cock, or the radiator itself. Since there are so many possible areas to check, it is important to have a professional mechanic diagnose the problem, and replace the hoses if necessary.
2) Engine overheating
Your vehicle’s engine should never overheat. If you see this symptom, it means something is seriously wrong with the cooling system. Radiator hoses are usually to blame, as they can crack and leak from years of exposure to high heat and pressure. If you allow the engine to continue to overheat, you may cause the engine to completely fail and your vehicle will no longer operate.
3) Low coolant
If your Low Coolant Light comes on, or you are having to constantly replenish the fluid, there’s probably a leak in the radiator hose. This type of leak will also create those green puddles underneath the vehicle, especially if the vehicle was parked for several hours. Driving on low coolant is not a good idea– if you can run out of coolant on the way to your destination your car can overheat and stall, leaving you stranded on the side of the road and causing severe damage to the rest of your engine.
4) Collapsed radiator hose
If you look under the hood and notice that the radiator hose has collapsed, it’s time to call your mechanic. Hoses collapse when they become soft or weak or, occasionally, due to a cooling system fault. No matter the cause, an inspection must be performed– a collapsed hose cannot flow coolant properly which can result in the vehicle overheating and, eventually, engine damage.
5) Radiator hose is broken
Radiator hoses can be broken in a variety of different ways. If you feel comfortable, inspect the hose for leaks, swelling, holes, collapsed, cracked, or wear. As soon as you notice any of these, your radiator hose needs to be replaced. And, if you don’t want to check them yourself, just take your car to your mechanic for a professional inspection.
Your cooling system is an important part of your engine, so it’s important to take care of any radiator issues in a timely manner. At V&F, our expert mechanics use latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.