What Is A Radiator Hose And Why Is It Important?

Radiator hoses are one of the most critical and most vulnerable parts of a vehicle’s cooling system.

What Is A Radiator Hose?

OEm radiator hose

Radiator hoses carry coolant between the engine and the radiator. There is an inlet hose and an outlet hose. A water pump mounted on the engine pulls coolant from the radiator through the inlet hose. As coolant flows through the engine, it absorbs heat. The coolant is then pushed through the outlet hose into the radiator. The radiator dissipates the heat from the coolant before it’s pulled back into the engine again.

Why Is A Radiator Hose Important?

Radiator hoses are important because they must keep coolant flowing between the radiator and the engine. At the same time, the hoses are subjected to extreme conditions, including:

  • High temperature
  • High pressure
  • Constant vibration
  • Harsh chemicals

Radiator hoses are usually made of a synthetic rubber compound. They must be flexible because one end attaches to the engine, which can move and vibrate. The other end attaches to the radiator, which remains stationary in a support frame at the front of the car.

How Long Do Radiator Hoses Last?

Image Credit: PeterFinnCarDoctor

There is no specific maintenance interval for radiator hoses. Newer compounds have improved the longevity of radiator hoses, but they won’t last forever. Most OEM radiator hoses will last 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Coolant replacement on most vehicles is recommended at 100,000 miles, so it’s a good opportunity to change the hoses while the coolant is drained. It's still a good idea to have the hoses inspected at every oil change, or when there are signs of coolant loss. Learn more about cooling system maintenance here.

How To Inspect A Radiator Hose

It's critical to make sure the radiator hoses are in good condition. If one fails, the coolant will suddenly leak out, and the vehicle will be stranded on the side of the road. As a vehicle gains mileage, you should inspect a radiator hoses at every oil change. To inspect a radiator hose, do the following:

  • With the engine cold, squeeze the hoses. They should feel firm, as they are reinforced. If you notice any kind of crunching sound, the interior of the hose is degrading, and it should be replaced. Also look for cracking on the exterior. Lastly, look for signs of leakage at the ends of the hose.
  • With the engine warm, look for signs of swelling. You may notice this around the hose clamps, or you may notice a bulge somewhere along the hose.

When in doubt, you should replace the hose. It's a relatively cheap, easy job to do at home.The hardest part of the job is draining the coolant. So if you're doing one radiator hose, you should always replace the other, and also the heater hoses.

We have a large selection of radiator hoses for your Toyota vehicle. All OEM parts are backed by the standard Toyota 12 month, unlimited miles warranty.