What Is the Difference Between a Universal Hose and a Molded Hose?

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Your radiator cools your engine – coolant is pumped through the engine, where it absorbs heat, and then back into the radiator. In the radiator, the coolant dissipates the heat into the environment, and is then pumped back into the engine.

The most common problem with coolant systems is with the hoses – they should be replaced every four years or so, but most people don’t do that. They wait until a hose fails. That means replacing a hose, which requires you to know the difference between a universal hose and a molded hose.

There are actually several different types of radiator hoses, including the following:

  • Molded Hoses: Molded hoses are exactly what they sound like – they’re molded into a specific shape to fit the configuration of your engine without the hose kinking or contacting a piece of metal or another engine component. Molded hoses are not interchangeable with any other type, or with any other vehicle (they’re shaped to fit specific vehicles only).

  • Universal Hoses: These are straight rubber hoses that can be used in some applications. They’re often used for lower radiator hoses, or for heater hoses. They can be used in installations where there is no concern about the hose contacting other engine components, or kinking (moderate to no bending needed to install the hose).

  • Branched Molded Hoses: Some molded radiator hoses are actually branched. They have a main hose, with a smaller branched hose coming off the main trunk. These are vehicle specific, and cannot be substituted with any other type of coolant hose.

  • Flex Hoses: Flex hose is a “shortcut.” It’s a type of hose built to offer some flexibility and make a generic, one-size-fits-all replacement. Using these to replace a radiator hose is not recommended.


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Eladio

8 years of experience
128 reviews
Eladio
8 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Greensboro, North Carolina
Eladio arrived at the scheduled time and was great to work with. He was very professional and I am very satisfied with his work. This was my first time using YourMechanic and I am very pleased with how easy and convenient this service has been from start to finish. Definitely would recommend.
Nissan Altima - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Greensboro, North Carolina
Eladio was on time, expedient, and very professional. Very pleased with provided service (brake shoes replacement).

Chris

13 years of experience
107 reviews
Chris
13 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Port Richey, Florida
CHRIS IS THE BEST MECHANIC I HAVE EVER MEET IN MY LIFE. HE IS HONEST AND HE KNOWS HIS STUFF. VERY PROFESSIONAL AND KNOWLEDGEABLE. THANK YOU CHRIS!!!

Pardeep

19 years of experience
587 reviews
Pardeep
19 years of experience
Dodge Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Fremont, California
Pradeep was early to my appointment and during his work he showed me that I didn’t need rear brake shoes saving me money.He cleaned and serviced the existing shoes and he also adjusted my parking brake cable. Great job. I will always use Your mechanic for any car repairs.

Oreste

12 years of experience
117 reviews
Oreste
12 years of experience
Dodge Avenger - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Miami, Florida
Orestes is very professional. He explained what was done to my vehicle and suggested upcoming maintenance needed. Great person

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