After a truck is a few years old, it's usually time to replace the hoses in the cooling system, as well as to put in a fresh coolant mixture.

Standard rubber hoses are usually good for 4 years (or 5 years beyond the production date, usually printed on the hose). Beyond that, you're basically "riding on time" before a hose can break- usually with little or no warning. While they may look fine outside, they deteriorate over time from the inside where it tends to go unnoticed.

Silicone Rubber Hoses (usually identified b their blue color, and identified as such by the print on the hose) can usually last about 8- 10 years, provided they're not rubbing on anything, and the wrm gear type hose clamps are not overtightened to the point where they dig into the hose.

Standard Rubber Hoses:

Pros:
*Less expensive to buy.
*More widely available.

Cons:
*Need to be replaced every 4 years.
*Will "dry rot" quick when used in a "high heat" area (like in close proximity of an exhaust system, and/or the engine block).

Silicone Rubber Hoses:

Pros:
*Longer life expectancy.
*Works better in "High Heat" areas.
*Used in most Emergency Vehicle applications due to being less prone to failure.

Cons:

*More expensive to buy.
*Not always readily available.
*Worm Gear Clamps need to be re-tightened more often to avoid "cold water leaks". May be better off using spring metal clamps, although it's harder to work with them if they need to be removed on the road.

If you spec a new truck and are certain you will be keeping it for a long time, it's best to spec the truck with silicone hoses.

By Jeff Barker

Co-Administrator and Editor
TruckstopUSA.com