Hose clamps are the little metal rings that hold onto connector points. A leak surrounding the clamp area is a common way our car engines run the risk of getting ruined, and as car owners, it’s crucial to learn how to fix radiator or coolant hose leak at clamp. But it’s not impossible.
Trimming down the hose head at either side and tightening the clamp are the most common steps taken in this case. If it’s not taken care of at the right time, leaked coolant can permanently damage the radiator and engine along with the other parts.
Nonetheless, over-tightening the clamps can create more damage, and we need to make sure we’re dealing with the right clamp and hose material type and size.
Let’s get to know how putting clamp leaks to an end can ensure overall cooling system safety.
What Are The Probable Reasons Behind A Coolant Hose Leak?
A car’s cooling system consists of several vital parts such as a water pump, radiator, thermostat, Coolant Temperature Sensor (CTS), coolant, and of course, the hoses through which coolant flows throughout the system.
The hose clamps ensure that they’re connected well at the junction point.
Let’s explore the variant causes behind leaks and the ways they could occur.
Most vehicles are manufactured using a spring-type clamp, also known as a constant tension clamp. They promise to keep their tight shape based on how the hose might shrink or expand for the change of temperature, but their grip might get loose and cause leaks within time.
Another type of clamp which is used is the worm gear band ones. They might get loose over time as well.
Worn out Hose and Clamp
It’s recommended to check for damage if the hose has been used for over 15 years.
Most coolant hoses are made of silicone. Even though they are of high resistance, they might lose their consistency and wear out over time.
If the leak or crack is not visible, you’ll have to squish it, and that’ll give away if something’s wrong. You’ll feel soft spots or uneven sponginess in some areas when there’s a leak.
One usual problem with clamps is that rusted ones lose their ability to hold onto the hose tightly. The common spring-type clamps, if reused, can cause leaking problems as well since they are one-time use.
How to Fix Radiator or Coolant Hose Leak at Clamp?
The tools you need for this operation are gloves, a screwdriver, a bucket to collect remaining coolant/antifreeze, new hose clamps, a few wrenches or pliers. You might also need a new radiator hose if you’re going to change the hose completely, based on how bad the leak is. Let’s get started!
Inspect the Leak Area:
There is at least one clamp at each connector point of the parts. The radiator has two hoses, namely – the upper hose and the downward hose. And so, in total, we have four connecting heads held together by four clamps.
The fixing procedure is similar for all the cases, but if we’re dealing with leaks on both sides of a hose, it’s recommended to work on the upper section before.
Now that you’re exactly aware of which clamp connection the leak is, you need to inspect the type of leak. Is it because the clamp seems loose, or is there a tear or crack there on the hose?
You’d know the clamp has loosened if coolant is dripping down from that point. The mouth might seem disfigured as well. You’d have to wiggle the hose to see how loose it got.
If you inspect that there might be cracks, you’ll have to press the hose and listen carefully to catch any wind gushing sound. If you hear a whoosh sound, it’s probably because there’s a tear right there.
Tighten the Loosened Clamp
You’ll go for just tightening the clamp if the hose otherwise seems good to go. For the spring type clamp, you’ll need to grab a plier and squeeze it’s locking heads tight. You’ll need a screwdriver to tighten the bolts of a worm gear band type clamp.
In any case, after you’ve tightened it, wait a while to see if coolant has stopped dripping. Your next task will be to start the engine and watch carefully if the clamp connection is fit.
Change and Re-Assemble Hose and Clamp:
First: De-Assemble Hose and Clamp
Only tightening the clamp wouldn’t work if the coolant carrying hose has worn out. You need to open and re-assemble the clamp and the hose in this case. Clamps, be it of any type, are suggested to not be reused.
You need to use a plier or a screwdriver (or a favourite tool that works for you) based on the clamp type. Un-tighten the clamp and let it stay dangling. Now, you need to carefully pull out the hose. Gradually wiggling it helps to get it out more smoothly.
Make sure to place a bucket underneath the open head so that remaining coolant inside the hose does not create a mess on the ground. That’s it! You’ve opened the clamp and hose and now it’s time to introduce the new ones!
Second: Introduce New Parts
Now you’ve to grab a sharp tool that’ll help you trim down the worn out open mouth of the hose. If cutting down a few inches seems like it’s all good, you can reuse the hose, but don’t reuse the clamp.
And, if you inspect more tears/cracks, don’t hesitate at all to install a new hose.
The first step for installing would be to use WD40 spray and wipe out the connector point for a smoother surface. This will help to connect the hose. After you’re done putting the house mouth on it, it’s time to bring the new clamp.
Make sure the diameter and material are upto the mark of your hose or according to your vehicle user manual.
If you’re connecting clamps at both sides, try to keep one side undone so it gets easier to wiggle and gets in place for the other side. It’s recommended to use a hose that has a similar bend shape as the previous or original one. Washing the new hose with warm water has been found to be of benefit.
And viola! You’re almost done fixing. Now, you’ll just have to pour new coolant and start the engine and give a final check if it’s all well and mighty.
How Can I Prevent Hose Leaks at Clamp?
The material plays the most important part here. Marine grade stainless steel is vets renowned to be used for such clamps to avoid rusting.
There’s also a debate among which clamp type works the best, but it actually depends on the overall cooling system and manufacturer your vehicle has. Hence, always trust the manual guide!
You can add a heat shield on your hose to protect it from wearing out for exposure to extreme heat.
Make sure to flush out the whole fluid system under the hood once in a while. That includes the oil in the engine, any metal residue and the whole pathway through which coolant flows.
Can I use multiple clamps?
You can use a maximum of two clamps at a connector point. But it’s better to use one since the joining bolt heads take up space and the clamps aren’t in place side by side, the open space in between can get damaged quickly for imbalance of pressure.
Would over-tightening be a problem?
Over-tightening the clamp is actually one of the common cases for which leaks occur there. It creates immense tension on the hose and causes it to protrude.
Is it okay to use superglue to fix it temporarily?
Suppose you’re in the middle of a highway road and there’s steam coming out of the hood. You look into it and find out, there’s a leak at the coolant hose clamp. In case of such urgency, you can use water resistant superglue to fill a visible tear or use a strong tape to tighten the connecton. But, the hose and clamp must be changed as soon as possible.
Should I immediately change the clamp if there is a little amount of leak?
Any amount of leak is worth to check upon and to get fixed. The entire cooling system depends upon the flow of the coolant. Even a little amount of leak can disrupt the whole process. So yes, you need to take action as soon as possible.
If you intend to use your four-wheelers for a long time, you need to keep in mind that coolant leak control has to be given priority.
As a matter of fact, now that you’re aware of how to fix the radiator or coolant hose leak at the clamp, you’ll realise – taking care and changing the coolant hose and clamps can actually save you money. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a radiator and engine failure!
Hope you’d follow the guidelines and take care of your automobile friend. Happy driving!