Heater Hose vs Radiator Hose

Heater Hose vs Radiator Hose

The heater hose and radiator hose are essential to keep your car’s engine and interior temperature to an optimal level. They both look similar. That is why people often find them hard to differentiate. Comparing heater hose vs radiator hose shows they are not the same.

A heater hose and a radiator hose conduct different operations. The engine heats extremely when it is running. A heater hose conveys coolant between the engine and the radiator. It absorbs the excess heat. Then a heater hose carries out the excess heat and releases them.

Both the hoses are crucial for your car’s cooling and heating system. If your car engine is too hot, then there is something wrong with the heater hose or the radiator hose. Learn the differences well to know which one you should change.

Heater Hose vs Radiator Hose: Quick Comparison Chart

Basis of ComparisonHeater HoseRadiator Hose
OperationTransfers excess heatConveys coolant
PurposeKeep the heater core hotPrevent engine overheating
ImportanceKeep the engine running with the necessary heatPrevents overheating to avoid engine malfunction or bursting
DiameterLess than 1 inch1 to 3 inches

Heater Hose vs Radiator Hose: Key Differences Explained

You’ll see various hoses when you pop up the hood of your car. Ability to identify the hoses will help you understand if there is any damage. Above, we have shown a quick look at the differences.

Here is a detailed comparison between the radiator hose and the heater hose:


The heater and radiator hose operate differently. A radiator hose is a part of your car’s cooling system. Though the heater hose is a component of the heating system, it works off the cooling system of your car.

Car engines produce an immense amount of heat while active. A radiator hose conveys coolant from the engine to the radiator and then back to the engine. The coolant absorbs the heat to prevent overheating.

After absorbing the heat, it is essential to get rid of them. The heater hose takes the excess heat and transfers it to a different destination. Some heat goes to the heater core. The heater hose also releases some of the excess heat to the cabin or outside the vehicle.


The main purpose of a radiator hose is to prevent your engine from overheating. Similarly, the purpose of a heater hose is to keep the heater core and interior hot. It also helps to get rid of unnecessary heat.


Both the radiator and the heater hose are crucial for the smooth operation of the engine. Overheating the engine can lead to bursting. The radiator hose ensures that does not happen. 

Again the heater core also needs to be hot to keep the engine running. A heater hose provides that heat to the heater core. In the winter, when the temperature is low, the role of the heater hose becomes crucial.


The radiator hose size is usually larger than the heater hose. They have different diameters. A heater hose diameter is less than an inch. But the radiator hose diameter ranges from 1 to 3 inches. 

Top 2 Heater Hose:

If the heater core does not have enough heat, the heater hose is not operating. You will need to replace the component with running it smoothly. But do you not know which heater hose offers superior performance? Check our recommendations below:

1. ACDelco Professional 18221L Molded Branched Heater Hose

Highlighted Features:

  • Working temperature: -40° to 275° Fahrenheit
  • It comes with a protective sleeve for better fitting
  • Top grade rubber material
  • Resist electrochemical degradation

ACDelco is an expert in producing car equipment and accessories. This Professional Molded Branched Heater Hose can be an excellent replacement for your car.

How to molded heater hose you can follow this article: https://hosetips.com/how-to-mold-heater-hose/

ACDelco Professional Heater Hose Review:

The rubber in this heater hose is a proprietary blend of EPDM. It is one of the highest qualities of synthetic rubber. This is pliable and ensures excellent durability.

You do not have to worry about the fittings. It can fit in most of today’s car systems which have smaller spaces. The user experience has also been pretty positive. So, you can consider buying it if you need a long-lasting heater hose. 

2. Dorman 626-315HP HVAC Heater Hose Assembly

Highlighted Features:

  • Y-connectors
  • Durable aluminum material
  • It comes with necessary clamps
  • Professional quality engineering

Sometimes the connectors can also be faulty. If that’s the case, you can try Dorman’s Heater Hose Assembly. Dorman is one of the leading automotive parts manufacturers.

Dorman Heater Hose Assembly Review:

Most low-quality heater hose connectors are plastic. They get damaged easily. But the construction materials of these Y-connectors from Dorman are aluminum. It ensures long durability.

The installation process is pretty convenient. All the necessary clamps come with the package. High-quality engineering ensures a perfect fit. 

Can You Use Heater Hose for a Radiator Hose?

You can not use the heater hose for a radiator hose. That is because usually, they have different diameters. Their functions are also dissimilar.

Can Heater Hose Cause Overheating?

The heater hose can cause overheating if there’s any leakage. It will result in releasing the excess heat inside the radiator. Therefore, the heat will not be able to travel and will cause overheating.

Top 2 Radiator hose:

If the engine is too hot, the radiator hose may not be functioning. You can buy the following components as replacement:

1.  BlackHorse Racing Radiator Flexible Coolant Hose Kit With Caps Universal

Highlighted Features:

  • Premium stainless steel
  • Flexible design
  • Length: 48inches
  • It comes with necessary hose clamps

This Radiator Flexible Coolant Hose is sturdy and comes with all the necessary kits. That’s why BlackHorse Racing is our top choice.

BlackHorse Racing Coolant Hose Kit Review:

Top-quality stainless steel material makes it highly durable. It doesn’t burst like regular rubber hoses. Though it comes 48 inches in length, you can adjust it with a hacksaw.

Additionally, the radiator hose comes with clamps, reducers, sleeves, and clamps for an excellent fit. If you need a heater hose replacement, this can be a perfect choice.

2. ACDelco Professional 20697S Molded Radiator Hose

Highlighted Features:

  • Durable EPDM rubber
  • Ozone resistant cover
  • Resist vacuum collapse
  • No buckling

Similar to the heater hose, the Professional Molded Radiator Hose from ACDelco is also an excellent option.

ACDelco Professional Radiator Hose Review:

It uses high-quality EPDM synthetic rubber. Additionally, there is ozone and a heat-resistant outer layer. Overall, the radiator hose is pretty durable. 

The installation process is also pretty convenient—no buckling or bending out of shape. The fitting is also accurate. In short, this one is worth your money.

Are There 2 Radiator Hoses?

There are two hoses that connect to the radiator. One is from the top side and another is from the bottom. Both hoses convey the coolant in a cycle.

Why Is My Radiator Hose Hard?

A radiator hose will feel hard when the condition of the hose is not well. It also can happen when cylinder pressure is entering the cooling system due to a crack. Try to find out the problem or go to the mechanic in this situation.

What Happens When a Radiator Hose Blows?

If the radiator hose blows, the cooling system will not work properly. It also can lead to burst. So, try to change the hose as soon as possible.

Why Did My Radiator Hose Burst?

When coolant absorbs heat and passes through the radiator hose, there will be an increased amount of pressure. All hoses have a maximum pressure limit. If the pressure exceeds the limit, the radiator hose can burst.

Upper Radiator Hose Function

The coolant enters the radiator from the upper radiator hose. Its function is to convey the coolant between a radiator and the engine.

What Does the Upper Radiator Hose Connect To?

The upper radiator hose connects to the engine. It’s the inlet to the radiator hose. The upper hose transfers coolant from the engine to the engine.


This detailed comparison between heater hose vs radiator hose shows how they both are essential. The car needs both hoses to function well. An optimal level of temperature helps the engine to run smoothly.

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