Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser radiator hose

We purchased a car as is. I didn’t notice that they had two clamps on the radiator hose. One for going in and one hose clamped off for going out. I drove it one time for about a 2 hour trip and it started smoking and overheating. After I let it cool off I finally made it home with my two daughter’s. Then just drove it like to the store and back. On Feb 14, 2018 it wouldn’t start. It has been sitting here. I didn’t have the money to fix it. Now the other day I go out open the hood and found where they had clamped the hoses shut. It could have caught on fire it was so hot that day. I took the clamps off. Now the fluid just pours out everywhere. What could I have damaged driving around with it clamped off? If it would have blown up, it could have killed us on the freeway!
Thanks for your help.

That doesn’t happen anywhere but the movies.

There is no mechanical advice I can give you since I can’t see or hear the car. The car needs to go to a good independent auto repair shop that can look the car over carefully and determine the extent of the problems and the damage. This should have been done before you bought the car but lesson learned. Good Luck

Sounds like you did blow up the engine by driving the car while overheating, it is a figure of speech, not like the TNT in the cartoons.

You wouldn’t have been able to drive for 2 hours with one of the radiator hoses clamped off from the radiator, perhaps you could post a picture of the clamped off hose to clarify.


@Nevada_545 is right.
It wouldn’t have gotten 15 minutes into your drive home with a radiator hose clamped off.

A picture please.


1 Like

As soon as I took the clamps off both hoses it just poured out. Yes the radiator hose was clamped off both hoses, to and from the radiator. I drove 1 hr to Pasadena and when I drove back it never made it. Started smoking and almost caught on fire.

Engines can survive one or two minor overheating episodes if the car is turned off at the first sign of trouble. One severe overheating episode (which seems likely in your case) or repeated minor overheating episodes can quickly destroy the engine. Did you get any warning about the overheating? If so, did you keep driving past that point? In fact, do the dashboard warning lights work on this car, as maybe they were disabled by the seller?

When my girls and I was driving back, we started smelling something like a tire burning. There were no lights that came on indicating that my car was over heating. We just thought it was something in the air. Then when thankfully we exited the frwy. And were sitting in traffic the car started pouring out smoke. Arson no warning lights. We pulled over immediately and sat there until it cooled off enough for me to get the radiator cap off. When I was finally able to get the cap off radiator was full. After that, I only drove it about a mile here and there to go to the store. Sorry I don’t know much about cars and now when you are asking these questions, they seem like I would have some common sense about it but I guess I was just thinking it might have gotten overheated because I am in Texas and it was very hot that day. :confused: I guess I had enough sense or I guess scared to drive it far. I just didn’t have any money for anyone to look at it. Finally I listened to my gut and went out there myself, popped the hood and found where they clamped off both hoses. It was just a little crap dealership and they found me the fool enough to pay 2,000.00 cash for a car I used a couple of times. :confounded: I’m just trying to gain some knowledge while I’m saving just for someone to look at it for me. How do I tell if they disabled the lights? There are some lights that do work lije the gas light and engine light.
Thank you for your time and I really do appreciate you sharing your knowledge.



when you turn the key on, to the first detent, all the lights on the dash should go on. This allows you to check that they work. When the engine starts, they should all go out.

If you have the owners manual, it will show the lights on the dash and what each actually means. If you don’t you can download one from the internet.

I’d restore the clamps to where they were, and take it back to the place you bought it.

For future reference, once a car seriously overheats, as your car did, the engine is probably toast.

Also for future reference, never buy a used car unless: 1. you have it checked over by your mechanic. and 2. you have put aside money for repairs, because it will need repairs. The cheaper the selling price, the more money needed for repairs.

If I read the post correctly they have had this vehicle from sometime before Feb. 2018 so returning is out of the question . This thing is not worth much now.

Vickie , ask around to people you know or relatives to see if you can find someone handy enough to put proper hoses on . check oil level and other fluids , and get this thing running enough to trade it off .

Those look like heater hoses, not the radiator hoses.

I’m wondering if the heater core is bad,or just a hose, and that is why it was clamped off. There still could have been some flow if the clamps were not working 100%. This could have been what the owner was smelling, coolant!!!
The smoking in the original post could have been steam escaping, or getting burnt off on the hot engine.

You did say that there were no warning lights. I would replace the two hoses, refill any coolant lost, and start it up. Before starting turn the key to Run, without starting the engine and check that the warning lights do work.


Yes Mr. Russell I just checked and all the lights come on when I turn the key. It is weird though because when the engine started smoking and smelling like burnt rubber, no lights came on. We pulled over right there.

Mr. Volvo thanks for your advice but I wouldn’t be any better than the piece of crap that sold me the car if I fixed it enough just to trade it in. I would have to tell whoever that is gettig this car what I went thru. Now if it is a dealership and they agree to take it as a trade in, then I would assume that it could be fixed. Yes in the future I will ask someone to come with me. Thank you all for your help. I really do appreciate it. It has been dead since Febuary because We are barley getting by. The dealership even put the wrong name on the title. When i told them they said just go down to the courthouse pay to have it changed then we will reimburse you. Meanwhile I had no way to go and no way to pay to have it corrected. Lol It was just a bad place.

Thanks for yall’s time and help again.


Check @Yosemite’s post again - I think he’s on the right track.

Someone clamped off those hoses because the heater core is leaking. There is no reason to replace the heater core if the engine no longer runs. After you repair the engine you should run a proper bypass hose for those two clamped off hoses.

Thank you so much for yall’s help. I really appreciate it. I did learn a big lesson. Not to trust car salesmen :joy::joy::joy:
I just moved where I’m at now and I don’t know anybody. I need to ay least ask them next time, that while I’m test driving it to pull into a mechanic shop! :joy: I’m just kidding. If I don’t try to find the humor in anything I would go crazy. Y’all have a wonderful day today, and thank you again for your time. At least now I have some ideal what needs and doesn’t need to be done or replaced. I thought I was going to have to replace the entire radiator. Back when I was young, my dad did teach me how to change a tire, change the oil, (Although I never had the strength to get the bolt off the oil pan) then made me change out a universal joint out on a 76 pea green Mavrick. :grin:

I don’t think a car salesman that buys and sells junk is going to look for strange problems like clamps blocking off the heater, you have to inspect the car yourself and if you are not capable you should take the vehicle to a shop for a pre purchase inspection.

And what is that? You haven’t given us any clues about the no start problem, is the battery dead? Does the engine crank over? I can only speculate that the engine was damaged from overheating.

I presume that the leaking coolant made the serpentine belt slip, and it didn’t charge the battery enough to keep enough of a charge for it to start again.

This makes me think that you did not overheat the engine enough to do much damage. It may have been low and the engine ran hot.
Are you sure you were checking the coolant and not the washer fluid.

Those are heater hoses with the clamps on them.
Do the hoses actually go anywhere, or are they cut off where the fluid gushed out when you removed the clamp. Just removing the clamp should only allow coolant to flow up the hose and into the heater core.

You will have to look close, and find if the hoses are cut off, or does one have a crack that is leaking.
They should run to two pipes that exit the firewall near where the glovebox would be, but on the engine side of the firewall.

I think they clamped off the hoses, because one has a crack or torn hole. They clamped them off to get it to the dealer.Or the dealers mechanic clamped them off and had planned to replace wherever the leak is, but the salesman sold the car out from under the mechanic…along with his tools (clamps).

One hose sends coolant to the heater core and the other is the return hose.
I would pick the best hose and temporarily remove one hose and loop the other (best hose) back onto the other fitting and tighten both hoses. This will bypass the heater core for the time being, until you find out if the engine is still runnable. Just to be clear; You do not loop where the two hoses come through the firewall, but where they exit the engine…near the passenger side fender.
Then get the battery charged overnight, and refill any lost coolant, and check to be sure this has enough oil.

If it starts, and seems to run ok…you can investigate, or have someone else change out those hoses.You could run it this way for months if need be, but you at some point will want your defrosters back.

I’ll be back at my shop later and will look at my PT cruiser, to see where in the engine bay this picture was taken of. It really doesn’t make sense that the heater hoses are there, because that is the Master cylinder on the right…so that would make this above the tranny end of the motor.


You shouldn’t kid about that. That should be standard procedure any time you buy a car, to take it to an independent mechanic for an evaluation. If the seller won’t let you do that, you know to walk away because the seller knows there’s something wrong with the car he doesn’t want you to find out about.

1 Like

Yes the engine does crank but I did have to charge the battery. Someone said I ran the battery down trying to start it. Didn’t mean to be ugly about what I said about car salesmen, but it seems to me before they bought it or took that they would have looked it over themselfs. I know if I had a car dearletship, I would have a mechanic look over any car I bought to sell again. I think they knew exactly what was wrong with that car when they sold it to me. My fault though. I did learn my lesson. Anyway if I found it just by looking a little, I know they would have seen it. It wasn’t like it was hidden. One ckamp was bright red. I’m not saying all car salesmen are like that but if they bought it they should have seen what I found. Thanks again for all your help and advise. I sure will follow it​:grin::+1:

Why? That would cost money, which cuts into the profit margin. You were willing to just fork over the cash. They knew you or someone like you would come along without them spending money on it.

You’re honest. They’re not. Any time you’re talking to a salesman at a dealership, assume they’re lying. That way you’re pleasantly surprised when you find the 1% of them who aren’t.

BTW, car salesmen often know absolutely nothing about cars. If they look under the hood (they probably don’t) they wouldn’t know that those clamps weren’t put on at the factory because they’d have no idea what they were looking at.

I once overheard a salesdweeb tell a customer “it has a turbo, so it’ll be good in the snow.” No one who knows anything about cars at all would ever utter such an idiotic statement.

Well it was like a little spot on the side of the Rd called a car sales place with maybe 8 cars in the lot. Yep exactly! They were looking for someone line me alright. There were only two men there. They even looked related. They knew. They got me. I’m just glad both my girls were not hurt and everyone is safe. Guess I learned my lesson the hard way. It does crank so maybe there is still hope if I can fix the hoses like you said. Saving up now for someone to just look at it.