Over time, part of the usual wear-and-tear that your car might have is a radiator hose leak. Leaking coolant might cause your car to overheat in the middle of a trip. The danger with overheating cars is the probability that the car will sputter and stop, causing you to get stuck in the middle of the road. This can also cause permanent damage to the engine, particularly the pistons. In case you find your radiator hose leaking, you can fix it yourself with a replacement, or you can do a quick fix-up before bringing the car to the nearest service station or garage.
It can be done with these simple steps.
- Carefully detach the radiator cap from the radiator. This is best done when the car hasn't run for several hours. If the car engine is still hot, be careful and use an insulator (preferably a rag, or thick gloves), because the hoses are pressurized, and the fluid can extremely hot. Turn your face away from the engine bay, because steam might spew out of the radiator when the cap is opened. Turn and remove radiator cap with wet rags covering the opening and cap. Do this gradually. Once you've loosened the radiator cap, let it depressurize first.
- Look for the leaky part of the radiator hose. If the leak is near or at the end of the hose, you can trim off this part and reuse the hose. Tighten down on the hose clamp to keep it in place until you can reach a gasoline station, service station, or car shop. Look for the radiator hose that can fit your engine's model.
- Wait for the engine to cool down for at least 20 minutes before doing any repair work. Place a basin under the hose you're working on to catch excess coolant. Use a screwdriver to loosen ends where leaky hose is attached. Remove hose and attach the new hose using the clamps on the radiator. Tighten the hose clamps. You are good to go.
- If you have a hose repair kit, cut the hose in the middle. Look for the hole then cut that part out, and join the remaining hose pieces with the coupling. Use the clamps to hold the hose pieces in place.
- Make sure to always have duct tape in the car compartment. You can use duct tape to temporarily patch holes in leaky radiator hoses. Cover holes thoroughly and wrap tape several times around the hose. Duct tape is best to use because it is waterproof and liquid-resistant.
- Refill the radiator and coolant reservoir with coolant and antifreeze. A good proportion would be 50% antifreeze and 50% water/coolant. Do not replace radiator cap yet. Start the car and let the engine warm up first. This will help circulate and distribute the coolant evenly through the system. Check if the radiator hoses are warm and without leaks. Tighten the hose clamps.
- Replace the radiator cap, and go to the nearest car service station to have your car double-checked.
After making such repairs, it is still best to have an expert double-check the engine, for you to be sure. Your car's radiator is an essential part of the system. It ensures that the engine is in good operational temperature.