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Steam coming from under the hood-most people associate this with engine overheating. This isn't always the case, though. Sometimes, the said incident could indicate a damaged heater hose. The hose is mounted under the hood. When it leaks into the engine while your vehicle is running and the engine is hot, the coolant splashing on the hot engine will create steam. The hose is generally durable, but it succumbs to wear and tear like everything else under your hood. Over time, it gets hard and brittle. And once this happens, you can expect the hose to crack sooner or later. Therefore, it's very important to check the heater hose every now and then, or neglect can cause it to leak anytime and leave you stranded in the highway. And while it's possible to simply cut the damaged part of the hose and mount a coupling, this is not a good alternative when the hose is already around its fourth year. Why? Well, this hose usually lasts only up to that time, so the other parts of the hose could leak anytime right after you cut off a damaged part and installed a coupling. What you really need is a new heater hose. Find one here at Auto Parts Warehouse.
Heater Hose: Get It Right and Keep Cool
There is nothing worse than an overheating automobile-except maybe for an overheating automobile where the means to cool it down has failed completely. Most people tend to panic and assume that it's some disastrous failure that causes this bit of trouble. The truth is, it's often the most vulnerable parts that break down-in this case, we're talking about the heater hose.
The one great consideration
A hose is a hose, of course, and while there are variations of it in terms of build, materials, and process of manufacture used, it is what it is. So you'll wonder why you need to be guided in its purchase. The answer is simple: it will save you a whole lot more money!
The simplest thing to keep in mind is whether or not the hose you are trying to purchase is an exact fit for your vehicle's cooling system. By exact fit, we are talking more of length. You see, while the specific parts under the hood stay consistent across the board, the configurations may be differ.
The best frame of reference is your existing hose. Get one that's exactly the same. You'll notice that it's "just right"-meaning, it has enough slack, but isn't obtrusive to other areas of the engine. Get one too long and you might have it snag on its neighbors. Too short and it won't reach its mark.
Not just any hose
So you have the fit down to pat, is there anything else you need to worry about? Materials are another critical point to consider. Here's the funny thing, the problem doesn't so much lie with the quality of replacement parts-those have become very standard. The problem lies in using hoses that are not specifically designed for use in an automobile!
The reason a cheaper, ordinary hose makes a poor replacement is that it can melt under the heat it gets exposed to! So simple tip: go for hoses specific to the cooling system in your vehicle.
Heater Hose: Change Out and Keep Cool
When it comes to coolant leaks, the vulnerable point is usually with the hose. It's important that you check on it as often as you can-especially if you start to notice it starting to get brittle and hard. In fact, 5 years is a long enough service life for any hose, it won't cost you much to get a new one for good measure. Installation is a breeze; just follow this guide very carefully, and you'll be able to do the task in 30 to 45 minutes!
Difficulty level: Easy
Stuff you'll need:
- Screwdrivers-flat or Philips depending on your vehicle
- Your car's owner's manual
- Drain pan
- New heater hoses
- New hose clamps
- Gasket sealer-non-hardening is better
Step 1: Check if your engine is not hot-you can get serious burns from undertaking this procedure with hot engine..
Step 2: Place a drain pan beneath your radiator..
Step 3: Drain the system by opening the petcock fitting near to the bottom of the radiator.
*CAUTION* If you don't intend to reuse the coolant you drained, properly dispose of it immediately as it is extremely toxic.
Step 4: Take out the hose clamps from the old hose with either the pliers or the screwdriver.
Step 5: Twist the old hose to loosen it, and then finish the removal with the pliers or the screwdriver.
Step 6: Carefully clean the fittings and apply a small amount of sealer to ensure a tight fit on the new hose.
*NOTE* Apply sealer to the fitting only-excessive amounts of sealer may clog the tube.
Step 7: Slide over the new clamps on your new hose.
Step 8: Ensure that the hose ends travel far enough a distance up the fittings to ensure a tight clamp.
Step 9: Secure the clamps.
Step 10: Re-fill the radiator with coolant.
Step 11: Before closing the hood, start the engine and keep it idling for a few minutes to let you check for leaks.
*NOTE* Re-check coolant fluid when the engine reaches normal operating temperature-roughly 10 to 15 minutes from starting.
- Be safe at all times: goggles, gloves, and closed-toed shoes are standard.
- If there are any disagreements between your owner's manual and this guide, the manual takes precedence.
- Clamps tend to weaken as time goes by. If you replace the hose, it's best to replace the clamp as well.