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Are Silicone Radiator Hoses Better Than OEM Hoses?

by Susannah Michaels

Original Equipment Manufacturer parts (OEM) are the most common radiator hose replacement parts. These are made by the same manufacturer that made the actual part for the automotive dealer. In the new world of synthetic compounds, silicone has become an alternative in radiator replacement kits.

OEM Replacements Same as Original Part

Car makers use independent manufacturers to design and build parts. These same independent companies make those parts to sell through retail stores. The only difference is packaging and price. These parts are most common for replacing the original, because they are identical to the original equipment.

Silicone and Radiator Hose Kits

High-performance engines work with silicone radiator hose kits.

Silicone is a combination of the elements silicon, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Among its many useful properties, silicone is heat and water resistant. Silicone radiator hose kits function with heat and cold at temperatures from negative 149 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Complete kits can range from $50 up to $300, and typical warranties last three years.

OEM Best for Daily Use

The OEM radiator hose is made of flexible rubber. This hose is designed to hold coolant that is under pressure in heat and cold in a range from negative 40 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Single hoses are available for as low as $4.

Family Car or Race Car?

With regular daily use and maintenance, the OEM hoses will function efficiently for many years, but eventually, heat and pressure will damage rubber hoses. Unless the car is used for high performance, the silicone radiator hose kits are not cost-effective. The family car does not place extreme demands on radiator hoses, so the OEM hose is an efficient equipment replacement.

About the Author

Working from her home office, Susannah Michaels enjoys researching, compiling information and writing on just about any subject. Her interests are as varied as her work, which includes writing for “Reno-Tahoe Area Guide” and editing for “The World Ahead.” In Dallas she worked for IBM and others as a technical writer. Michaels holds a bachelor's degree in music/English from University of North Texas.

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