How To Replace A Radiator Hose

Radiator hoses are made of a rubber compound. They are prone to failure more often than other cooling system parts. Fortunately, most radiator hoses are also the easiest part to replace. It is recommended to replace them whenever you do a coolant service. Always replace both the upper and lower radiator hoses at the same time.

Learn More About Your Cooling System

Radiator hose replacement

Understanding your cooling system is important to preventing costly vehicle repairs over time. Knowing when to service your cooling system and when to replace hoses will help keep your cooling system working reliably for years to come. Follow these links to learn more about your cooling system:

Tools And Supplies You’ll Need

Doing your own cooling system maintenance doesn’t require costly tools and supplies. In fact, you may already own most of these basic tools. You’ll also save yourself a lot of money on expensive repair shop labor.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • New radiator hoses
  • New radiator hose clamps (if not spring clamps)
  • Recommended coolant (50/50 premix or concentrate)
  • Distilled water (if using concentrated coolant)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Utility knife
  • Safety glasses
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Large drain pan

Replacing The Radiator Hoses

Toyots radiator hose

CAUTION: Never service the cooling system when the engine is hot. Wait a few hours for the engine to cool. Hot coolant is under pressure and may cause injury. Remember to remove the radiator cap only when it is cool to the touch.

1. Drain The Radiator

  • Place a large pan under the radiator.
  • Locate and loosen the drain petcock at the bottom corner of the radiator.
  • Close and tighten the petcock after the coolant has drained.
  • Some radiators do not have a petcock. In this case, remove the lower radiator hose to drain the radiator.

2. Remove Old Radiator Hoses.

  • Note the position and orientation of the hoses when removing them.
  • Loosen the clamps at each end of the upper and lower radiator hoses.
  • Release spring tension clamps with pliers.
  • Loosen worm clamps with a screwdriver.
  • If the hose is stuck to the engine or radiator, cut it with a utility knife.

3. Install New Radiator Hoses

  • Slide the clamps over the new radiator hoses before installing them.
  • Spring tension clamps can be reused.
  • Worm screw clamps should be replaced with spring clamps.
  • Install the hoses in the correct position and orientation.
  • Install the hose clamps in the correct position.

4. Refill The Radiator

  • Make sure you have the correct type of coolant for your engine. Using the wrong type of coolant can damage seals and other parts of the cooling system.
  • 50/50 premixed coolant can be added directly to the radiator.
  • Concentrated coolant must be mixed 50/50 with distilled water before filling the radiator.
  • Buy premixed coolant if you want to ensure the proper mixture without measuring.
  • Leave the radiator cap off for now.
  • Refill Coolant reservoir to the "Cold" mark.

6. Bleed Cooling System

Bleed the cooling system will purge any trapped air that may be present after refilling.

  • Start the engine and let it reach operating temperature.
  • Turn on the heater to the maximum setting.
  • When the engine reaches operating temperature, you should see coolant flowing through the radiator opening. The upper radiator hose will also become hot.
  • Turn off the heater.
  • Turn off the engine and let it cool down.
  • Check the radiator coolant level and fill to the top as needed.
  • Install the radiator cap.
  • Start the engine again and let it reach operating temperature.
  • Test drive your car and monitor the temperature gauge.
  • Turn off the engine and inspect the radiator hoses for leaks.
  • Check the coolant level in the reservoir over a few days and top off as needed.

It’s a good idea to check your coolant level at least at every oil change. A small amount of coolant can be lost to evaporation over time. Learn more about checking your radiator fluid level here.

You Can Count On Olathe Toyota Parts Center

Radiator hose replacement can seem daunting, but with the right parts and guidance, it's a task you can complete with confidence. We have a large selection of radiator hoses and other parts for your Toyota vehicle. All our OEM parts are backed by the standard Toyota 12 month, unlimited miles warranty. If you do have questions or concerns, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us today!