How to Fix a Cracked Radiator Hose

by Robert Russell
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A small leak or crack in a radiator hose can lead to major problems and expense. The most obvious sign of a leak in your radiator system is a low coolant level. Other symptoms that indicate a leak are small neon-green puddles underneath your car, and the smell of burnt antifreeze as the coolant drips on a hot engine. When a radiator hose begins to leak, it should be replaced. However, the leak or crack can be temporarily repaired until you have the opportunity to replace the hose.

Step 1

Open the hood and examine the radiator hoses. Determine the source of the leak. For example, the clamps that secure the hose to the radiator might be loose, or the hose might have small cracks or holes.

Step 2

Turn off the engine and let it cool down for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Tighten the radiator clamps with a screwdriver. If the clamp has been loose for awhile, you might need to loosen the clamp and adjust the hose to make a tight and secure fit. Tighten the clamp with the screwdriver.

Step 4

Temporarily patch a hole or leak in the hose with insulating tape. Locate the leak or crack. Wrap insulating tape snugly around it. You can also use duct tape or rags tied tightly around the hose.

Step 5

Open the coolant cap and fill the reservoir with coolant up to the full line.

Step 6

Replace the bad hose as soon as possible. Radiator hoses are inexpensive and easy to replace.

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