How to Look for Wear or Leaks on Hoses and Clamps in a Ford Explorer


Move the Ford Explorer into a well-lit area where you can easily see and reach the engine compartment. Allow the vehicle to cool before you inspect the hoses and clamps so you don't burn yourself during the inspection.


Use your hands to run the full length of each hose. Pay attention to how the hose feels, it should be firm, not soft or pliable. If you feel softness or you can easily pinch the hose with little give, it needs to be replaced.


Pinch the end of each hose and try to feel ridges or gaps inside the hose. Feeling pits or ridges means the hose is failing from the inside and needs to be replaced.


Wipe each hose with a clean white cloth to remove grease and oil so you can visually inspect the hoses. Look for tiny cracks and tears. Replace any hoses that have such defects in them.


Look at each individual clamp. Make sure they're snugly fitted and securely holding the hoses in place but not so tight that the clamps are pinching into the hose. Use a screwdriver to tighten or loosen as needed. Any time you replace a hose in your Explorer, replace the clamps that secure that hose into place at the same time.


Pull the Ford Explorer into an area underneath of which the ground is clean and allow it to run for approximately 5 minutes. Inspect the area beneath the vehicle to see if you can see any evidence of leaking.


Reinspect the hoses to see if you see any moisture or any signs of leaking at the clamps. Adjust or replace those parts accordingly.

Tips and Warnings

  • The upper and lower radiator hoses go from the radiator to the engine and from the radiator to your exhaust manifold.
  • The coolant hose runs from your radiator to your intake manifold, and may be located on the passenger side of your engine compartment near the exhaust manifold.
  • Heater hoses run from your radiator to the back of the engine block, as do the hoses attached to the intake manifold.
  • In some cases, the power steering pressure hose in the Explorer has been rerouted within the engine compartment. It may be running under the compressor and looped back and behind the frame horn with a clip to secure it out of the way.
  • For Ford Explorers with cruise control, check the hose that goes from the vacuum canister to the cruise control for leaks and wear. Leaks in this hose are more common in 1990 models of the Explorer.
  • Performing regularly scheduled maintenance, like checking your hoses and clamps for wear and leaking, will help your Ford Explorer perform better and save you money on repair bills. Mechanics recommend you check your hoses and clamps every 3 months.