One thing that your cooling system, fuel system, intake system, and engine oil system all have in common is that they all transport their respective fluids through hoses. While many components in each of these systems are metal, hoses are typically made of rubber. Rubber has some disadvantages, most notably when it comes to longevity. Over time, rubber can dry out and crack which results in leaks followed by hose replacements!
When replacing hoses, you need to ensure that they are well connected to their mating parts so that they remain leak free. To ensure a secure connection, most hoses are outfitted with hose clamps, which are tightened around the hose after installation to make sure they don’t slip off the parts they connect to.
Modern cars have a variety of different OEM hose clamp types, and they all are installed a little bit differently. Some are simply spring steel that allow you to squeeze the ends together with a good set of pliers. Others require the use of small screw drivers to remove and a pair of needle nose pliers to clip back together. Another type requires a screw to be turned to cinch down on the hose.
The reality is that a lot of OEM hose clamps are downright hard to work with, and many people opt to replace them with more usable varieties to make repairs easier. Another disadvantage of OEM clamps is that they are typically expensive because you are paying dealer prices for parts that cost pennies to manufacture.
The Best Hose Clamps
While there is a myriad of different hose clamp brands and types to choose from, the best hose clamps and the ones we use most often are the Precision Brand Micro Seal Worm Gear Hose Clamps. First, these clamps feature an all stainless construction so you can expect that they will remain corrosion free throughout their lifespan. If you have ever tried to remove a hose clamp that has been rusted stuck, you know that you are in for a bad time and these clamps alleviate future issues of that sort.
Another reason that we like these clamps is because of the tightening mechanism. In general, worm gear hose clamps are the most precise to work with. Compared to clamps that require pliers to loosen, these are significantly easier to align since you can do it by hand and then start tightening. Another reason that worm gear hose clamps are so awesome is that unlike some of the other varieties, you can back the screw all the way out and install these after you have already installed your hose without having to place them on the hose beforehand. This can save the frustration of trying to keep a hose clamp from falling into the depths of your engine bay and keeps them out of the way of your hands if you are working in tight spaces.
When it comes to actually loosening or tightening these clamps, this can be accomplished with a small flat head screw driver, so you don’t need any special tools. Furthermore, these clamps are robust and difficult to damage via bending. They can be reused indefinitely.
As far as sizing goes, Precision Brand offers sizes ranging from 7/32″ to 11/16″, which is big enough for most coolant lines, fuel lines, and oil lines. If you are trying to install an intake boot or an A/C duct, you will need to get a worm gear clamp that is larger than 11/16″.
Usually hose clamps come in packs of 5 or 10, and if you have spent much time under the hood of your car you know that it pays to have a few of each size on hand as sometimes hose clamps get lost or break and you have an unexpected need. For this reason, we typically recommend starting with a pack of small clamps, a pack of medium clamps, and a pack of large clamps. You can fill in any extra sizes as you see fit.
When looking for a place to buy, we typically like Amazon due to the attractive pricing and broad selection all in one place. This is where we typically go and why we recommend checking there first. While we recommend Precision Brand as the best hose clamps, there are tons of different manufacturers to choose from so have a look at some of the other hose clamps on the market by clicking here if you don’t see your size. Happy wrenching!