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Would oil dissolve a rubber radiator hose? Answered

What's worse when slipping on heater hoses, a light coating of dishwashing soap or oil? What would you use? (I'm thinking silicone, coolant wasn't slippery enough for me)?


. I use straight antifreeze. It works well, releases reasonably well when you have to remove the hose next time, and you should have a jug or two handy to refill the radiator.
. Oil and grease work well also, but, in my experience, can cause the hose to stick to metal and other parts - especially under the clamp - making it difficult to remove after a while.
. Nothing at all often works well if you do a good job of cleaning the radiator inlet/outlet.
. As others have pointed out, radiator hoses are reasonably chemical resistant - at least to the chemicals you find under a car hood. Silicone should be safe for the hose, but I've never tried it.

personally i go with the dishwashing soap. It has oil too, as all soap does, but I'd think it would be less compromising than, say, engine oil, and it's what nearly every old timer who I ever spoke with said to use.

I *think that modern radiator hose is designed to be somewhat resistant to engine oil, at least on the outer surface, since it's designed to be used in an engine compartment, but idk for sure, and I don't know if the interior of the hose is the same compound as the outer.

I'd think that a bit of glycol (anti freeze) would be useful as a lube as well, and glycol is obviously intended for use with radiator hose, so it would be a sure bet.

Silicone sounds good as grease goes, but it may help it slip off too.
Hot water-soak as an alternative?


Hm. Real rubber actually shrinks when heated (unlike most materials), but I'm not sure hoses are still rubber rather than some other polymer, and softening it might make warming it helpful.

They've got webbing in them too, but the softening was my idea. It works for other tubing.


Any normally leaky car winds up with a bit of engine oil in its antifreeze... I'd expect it would be harmless. On the other hand, my best guess is that dishwashing soap would be equally harmless, and _maybe_ a trifle safer for the hose.

The real question here is, how do the dealers and mechanics handle this task? Whatever they do has sorta been proven to work...


7 years ago

I always used a light layer of regular bearing grease smeared on the inside of the hoses and never had a problem with it.