Customizing your vehicle with enviable, high-performance features isn't the only thing that matters. You also have to remember to keep basic auto parts in good shape.Like the heater hose, for example. Vehicle owners sometimes forget that this hose is indispensable to their cars' climate control systems. Heater hoses make it possible for hot coolant to enter and exit the heater core. Without these hoses to direct coolant flow, the heater core can't use heated coolant to warm the air inside the vehicle's cabin.So your car's heating system essentially becomes useless. To avoid the hassle, make sure the heating system uses high-quality heater hoses. A heater hose should be durable enough to easily facilitate the flow of high-temperature coolant.Now, you may think that such a hose would be hard to find. Well, not if you search for it at Carparts. All the heater hoses we have are topnotch; yet, we just offer them at affordable prices. Check our catalogs and just take your pick.
• Resistant to cracking and leaking despite high coolant temperatures
• Flexible enough for easy installation
• Improves the heater system's performance
Heater Hose Buyer’s Guide
There are two sets of black hoses attached to the engine, these are the radiator hose and the heater hose.
The heater hose is a rubber hose that’s designed to handle high-temperature, pressurized fluid.
The heater hose circulates the engine coolant from the engine to the heater core. It is just like the radiator, but smaller.
The heater hose can be located behind the engine and is typically smaller than the radiator hose.
Since it’s made of rubber and gets subjected to hot coolant almost too often, a phenomenon called the electrochemical degradation or ECD can take place.
Coolant leak, faulty heater core, and engine overheating are among the symptoms you may experience if you have a bad heater hose.
Aside from rubber, parts manufacturers also use metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. Plastic and silicone are also used to reinforce rubber.
Heater hoses you’ll find on CarParts.com cost $5 to $240 depending on the brand, material, and design.
Housing over a hundred intricately connected parts, the engine bay may look fairly intimidating to an average car owner. Among the parts of varying shapes and sizes found under the hood, you’ll notice these rubber hoses that connect the radiator, engine, and a component behind the car’s firewall.
By taking a closer look, you’ll notice that there are two sets of black hoses attached to the engine. The larger ones lead to the radiator are called the radiator hoses. The smaller ones that extend through the firewall of your car are known as the heater hoses, and they connect to the heater core. The heater core is the component that makes the passenger cabin warm during winter.
What does the heater hose do?
The heater hose is a rubber hose that’s designed to handle high-temperature, pressurized fluid. It has to be flexible enough to absorb vibrations, especially from your car’s firewall. Most importantly, it should be durable enough to deal with extreme temperature changes, oil, acids, and contaminants like dirt.
So what does it do? The heater hose circulates the engine coolant from the engine to the heater core. It is just like the radiator, but smaller. After the coolant has cooled the engine by absorbing the heat, it runs past through the heater hose onto the heater core. A blower motor then passes this hot air from the heater core’s tubes into the cabin when the car’s heater is activated.
Where is the heater core located?
The heater hose can be located behind the engine. Usually, it’s smaller than the radiator hose. You’ll see it extending from the engine, towards the firewall—the panel right under the car’s cowl which separates the cabin from the front of the vehicle. Behind this firewall is the inside of the dashboard where the heater core is installed.
Bad heater hose symptoms
Despite the fact that it’s designed to handle extreme heat, the heater hose is considered as the weakest component in your car’s cooling system. Since it’s made of rubber and gets subjected to hot coolant almost too often, a phenomenon called the electrochemical degradation or ECD can take place.
ECD is the breaking down of the hose wall’s structure due to the electrical reaction present in the coolant. The reaction is a result of the contact between the coolant and the metal parts of the engine. ECD can cause the surface of the hose’s inner wall to crack, causing small openings to develop.
Because of this, the hoses need to be replaced immediately to avoid further cooling or heating problems. Fortunately, since heater hoses relatively affordable, maintaining it is highly recommended. Watch out for these signs so you could avoid further heater core or engine cooling problems.
Leak due to cracked hose
One of the main causes of leaks is structural damage. Cracks, no matter how small they are, can cause coolant to leak from the hose. These cracks can be a result of kinks. You may also get a crack if the hose is touching hot surfaces or if it gets pinned down by sharp components. A coolant leak due to a cracked hose can lead to even bigger problems if not treated immediately.
Cold cabin despite switching the heater on
Coolant leaking from an opening in the heater hose can cause the coolant level to deplete fast. If this happens, the radiator and the heater core won’t have the proper supply of coolant for them to perform their job. That said, the heater core will not be able to raise the temperature inside the vehicle, which could be an inconvenience during winter.
Since the heater hose connects to the heater core, some people might think that it can’t affect the engine when it’s leaking. Keep in mind that the same coolant that circulates in the heater core is the same coolant that cycles into the radiator. This means that the leaking heater hose will deplete the coolant level of the entire cooling system.
Other heater hose materials
Aside from rubber, parts manufacturers also use metal instead of rubber. Aluminum is the common substitute for rubber although you may also find a combination of both. You may also find heater hoses that are made of stainless steel. Meanwhile, manufacturers also use plastic and silicone to reinforce rubber, resulting in a more durable heater hose.
Typically, the materials used dictate the price differences of heater hoses. Rubber heater hoses are the most common and most affordable option. However, aluminum, stainless steel, or reinforced rubber would last relatively longer than regular hoses. You may want to consider these when replacing your stock heater hose.
How much is an OE heater hose replacement?
Heater hoses you’ll find on CarParts.com cost $5 to $240 depending on the brand, material, and design. If you wish to find the perfect heater hose for your car faster, use the filter tab under the search menu. Input the year, make, and model of your vehicle to narrow down the results to the specific hose that your car uses. You may also choose your preferred brand, series, budget range, and material under the “Refined By” section.
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.