How to Repair & Replace a Malibu Radiator Hose

by Marion Cobretti

While there may be products you could use for a quick radiator hose repair during an emergency, they are meant for temporary use only. If you actually knew that one of the radiator hoses on the Malibu was about to fail, there’s no doubt you would replace it. Damage to the hoses happens most often from failed cooling system checks. General Motors recommends that you check the radiator hoses every 12,000 miles. Things to look for include bulges, cracks and soft spots on the length of the hose. You can replace a bad radiator hose on your Malibu at home with a few tools. The repair should take less than 35 minutes.


Raise and properly support the hood on your Malibu. Push down on the radiator cap and turn it counterclockwise a half-turn to unlock it and then take the cap off the radiator.


Position a coolant drain pan directly underneath the drain plug on the radiator. Turn the drain plug by hand, counterclockwise, and allow all of the coolant to drain from the radiator. It should take 10 to 15 minutes for the coolant to completely drain. After this time, close the drain plug by rotating it clockwise until it’s secure.


Follow the bottom radiator hose over to where it connects on the engine. Loosen the bolt on the hose clamp and pull the clamp back on the radiator hose. Pull the bottom hose off its connection at the engine.


Follow the bottom hose over to its connection on the radiator. Loosen the bolt on the hose clamp and pull the clamp back on the radiator hose as well. Pull the hose off its connection at the bottom of the radiator and set the hose to the side of your work area.


Slide a new hose clamp on both ends of the new bottom radiator hose. Dip your index finger into the coolant in the drain pan and use the coolant on your finger to lubricate the inside of the radiator hose. Only lubricate as far as your finger can reach or the first 3 inches of the hose.


Install the bottom radiator hose at its engine connection first. Slide the hose clamp back into position 1/2-inch from the lip of the hose. Tighten the bolt on the hose clamp until it is hand tight and then add an extra quarter-turn.


Reinstall the radiator hose on its connection at the bottom of the radiator. Position and tighten the hose clamp just as you did for the engine connection.


Refill the radiator, using a funnel to avoid spilling coolant. You can use the drain pan’s coolant if you recently flushed the cooling system or if the coolant has less than 20,000 miles of use.


Put the radiator cap back on securely and start the Malibu. Once the engine has been running for 10 minutes, check the repair area for leaks.


  • check Replacing the top radiator hose follows the same exact procedure. The only things difference is that you don’t have to completely drain the radiator. You can drain just half of the coolant to repair the top radiator hose.

Items you will need

About the Author

Marion Cobretti began working as a freelance writer in 2006. His work appears on Newsvine and other websites. Cobretti completed a three-year course in automotive technology and is currently seeking an Associate of Applied Science at Macomb Community College.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera two hose clamp image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from