4 Causes of a Collapsed Radiator Hose & Replacement Cost

Find out if you’re overpaying on car insurance using our cost calculator! Save money by comparing quotes from over 30 of Canada’s top insurance providers!

The best part? It’s FREE!

collapsed radiator hose

A radiator hose is a critical part of your car’s cooling system. If it fails, your engine can overheat quickly, leading to expensive repairs.

If you’ve ever been driving and seen steam or water spewing from under your car, you may have had a collapsed radiator hose. This can be a dangerous problem, especially if you’re on the highway.

This article will discuss the causes of collapsed radiator hoses and what you can do to prevent them. We’ll also look at the different types of radiator hoses and their replacement costs.

What is a Radiator Hose?

A radiator hose is a flexible tube that circulate coolant from your car’s radiator to the engine. The hose is made of rubber and is reinforced with metal or fabric. Over time, the hose can become brittle and collapse.

There are two types of radiator hoses:

Upper Radiator Hose:

The upper radiator hose carries coolant from the radiator to the engine.

Lower Radiator Hose

The lower radiator hose returns coolant from the engine to the radiator. The lower radiator hose connects the engine to the water pump.

Bypass Hose

If your car has a plastic coolant reservoir, there will also be a coolant hose that runs from the reservoir to the top of the radiator. This is called a bypass hose.

What Causes Radiator Hose To Collapse?

Several factors can cause a radiator hose to collapse:

Age – The rubber in a radiator hose will eventually wear out and become brittle. This may cause radiator hose collapse.

Heat – Excessive heat can cause the rubber to melt and collapse.

Chemicals – Some chemicals, such as antifreeze, can attack the rubber in a radiator hose and cause it to fail. This results in collapsed hose.

Pressure – A radiator hose is designed to operate at a certain pressure. If the pressure is too high, the hose can collapse.

Improper installation – If a radiator hose is not installed properly, it can collapse.

A lack of maintenance or proper care – If you don’t properly maintain your car’s cooling system, the hoses can become brittle and collapse.

Reasons For Collapsed Radiator Hose

There are several reasons why a radiator hose may collapse:

  1. Overfilled Expansion Tank
  2. Faulty Radiator Cap
  3. Stuck Thermostat
  4. Clogged Radiator

Let us see these causes in a bit detail:

1. Overfilled Expansion Tank:

The expansion tank is located above the radiator and stores coolant that has expanded due to heat. If the expansion tank is overfilled, it can cause the radiator hose to collapse.

To check if the expansion tank is overfilled, remove the radiator cap and check the level of coolant. The coolant should be at or below the “full” line on the expansion tank. If the coolant is above the “full” line, you will need to drain some coolant from the expansion tank.

To do this, remove the radiator cap and place a pan under the radiator drain valve. Open the valve and allow the coolant to drain into the pan. Once the coolant has drained, close the valve and replace the radiator cap.

If you’re unable to lower the coolant level in the expansion tank, you may need to have a mechanic flush the cooling system and add more coolant.

2. Faulty Radiator Cap:

The radiator cap is located on the top of the radiator and helps maintain the cooling system’s pressure. If the radiator cap is not working properly, it can cause the radiator hose to collapse.

To check if the radiator cap is faulty, remove the cap and inspect it for cracks or damage. If you find any damage, you will need to replace the cap.

If the radiator cap is not damaged, you may need to adjust the pressure setting. To do this, remove the radiator cap and turn the adjustment screw on the top of the cap. Clockwise increases the pressure, and counterclockwise decreases it.

3. Stuck Thermostat:

The thermostat is located in the engine and helps regulate the coolant’s temperature. If the thermostat is stuck open, it can cause the radiator hose to collapse.

When the thermostat is stuck closed, it can prevent the engine from reaching its normal operating temperature and can cause the engine to overheat.

4. Clogged Radiator:

If the radiator is clogged, it can prevent the coolant from flowing freely and cause the radiator hose to collapse. To check if the radiator is clogged, remove the radiator cap and inspect the inside of the radiator for debris or blockages. If you find any debris or blockages, you must clean them out.

If the radiator is not clogged, you may need a mechanic to clean the cooling system. Debris or blockages can form over time and cause the radiator hose to collapse.

How Can I Prevent a Radiator Hose From Collapsing?

There are several things you can do to prevent a radiator hose from collapsing:

Keep your car cool – Make sure your car’s cooling system is working properly and that the radiator is properly cooled.

Keep your car clean – Make sure no dirt or debris is blocking the airflow to the radiator.

Replace worn hoses – If your car has any aging hoses, replace them with new ones.

Check the pressure – Check the pressure in your cooling system and make sure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Use the proper coolant – Make sure you’re using the proper coolant for your car. Some coolants can damage radiator hoses.

How To Replace A Radiator Hose?

Replacing a radiator hose is a relatively easy task that can be completed in just a few hours. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Park your car in a safe place and make sure to set the parking brake.

2. Open the hood of your car and locate the radiator.

3. Locate the radiator hose that needs to be replaced and use a crescent wrench to loosen the clamp.

4. Carefully remove the old radiator hose and discard it.

5. Apply a coat of radiator sealant to the end of the new radiator hose.

6. Insert the new radiator hose into the clamp and tighten it using the crescent wrench.

7. Close the hood of your car and start it up to allow the radiator sealant to dry.

8. Drive your car for a few miles to ensure that the new radiator hose is properly seated.

If you need to replace a radiator hose, be sure to follow these steps carefully. By taking your time and following the instructions, you can replace a radiator hose without any trouble.

Radiator Hose Replacement Cost

When it comes to radiator hose replacement, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are experiencing any problems with your hoses, have them replaced right away. This will help keep your car running safely and efficiently.

The average cost for a radiator hose replacement is around $250. This price can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the type of hoses used.

A few factors can affect the overall cost of this repair, such as the amount of labor required and the availability of the parts. If you require a radiator hose replacement, be sure to get an estimate from a trusted mechanic before getting the work done.


One of the most critical – yet often overlooked – components of a car’s cooling system is the radiator hose. If the radiator hose collapses can lead to your engine overheating, which can cause extensive damage and may even require a complete overhaul. Engine cools due to the coolant flow.

That’s why it’s important to make sure that your radiator hoses are in good condition and not leaking. You can do this by regularly checking them for signs of wear and tear and by replacing them when necessary.

If you’re not sure whether your radiator hoses need to be replaced, you can have them inspected by a professional automotive technician. They will be able to tell you whether they need to be replaced and if so, will be able to recommend a good replacement hose for your vehicle.

Replacing a radiator hose is not a difficult task, but it can be a bit messy. So if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you may want to have a professional do it for you.

Bottom line: Make sure that your radiator hoses are in good condition and are not leaking. Have an experienced automotive technician do it for you if they need to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should radiator hoses be replaced?

This question does not have a definitive answer, as many factors can influence how often they need to be replaced. Generally speaking, though, radiator hoses should be replaced every five to seven years.

However, if your car is driven in heavily polluted areas, or if you have a particularly high-performance vehicle, you may need to replace them more often. Checking your hoses regularly for leaks, bulges, and other signs of wear can help you determine whether they need to be replaced sooner.

Why is the top radiator hose hot and the bottom one cold?

This is normal. The top radiator hose gets hot because it carries the hot coolant from the engine to the radiator, where it is cooled off. The bottom radiator hose then takes the coolant back to the engine to be reheated.

If you notice that your top radiator hose is cold and your bottom one is hot, this could be a sign of a problem with your cooling system. You should have it checked out by a professional to be safe.

What happens when the radiator hose bursts?

If the radiator hose bursts, it will release a large amount of hot water and coolant into the engine. This can cause the engine to overheat, leading to extensive damage. If your car’s radiator hose ruptures, stop driving as soon as possible and have it towed to a mechanic.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Related Articles