Let's talk about tightening hose clamps

So today, I changed the oil in my Daewoo Lanos, and I noticed several small coolant leaks, including some on the oil drain plug, some on the top of the transaxle, and some running down the firewall. All of these leaks originated from hose connections, and the stainless hose clamps which I used were all somewhat loose…even though I believe I had tightened them to the proper torque back in summer of 2021, and again when I replaced the radiator about a year ago. I tightened the set screws, and topped off the coolant, which I had to top off every two months or so.

I always tighten worm-drive hose clamps with a nutdriver, and hold the nutdriver with only three fingers to avoid overtightening. Maybe there’s a more accurate measurement of proper torque, or maybe these are just low-quality hose clamps. What is weird is that in the past, I have used really cheap hose clamps from the dollar store, and never had them loosen like this. What gives?

Grip the nut driver and tighten the hose clamp until the worm screw can’t be turned.


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The hose clamps don’t loosen, the hose “creeps”… basically can’t hold its shape and squeezes out from under the clamps.

That is the reason OE clamps are those finger snapping dreaded spring clamps. They hold steady tension.


I use a torque limiting screwdriver set to about 60 inch pounds.


I have tightened many screw clamps on leaking hoses, I have never needed to tighten a spring clamp. I have a collection of spring clamps in my toolbox to replace screw clamps on customer’s vehicles, this prevents come-backs.

Perfect example of why not to use screw type hose clamps. I always reuse the factory spring clamps unless they are rusted through. In which case I order new ones.


I have always used screw clamps but I tighten them with a nut driver until I can’t turn the nut driver with one bare hand.
Never had one come loose.

The fact that you had to top off the coolant every couple of months should have prompted you to look for a leak.

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Spring clamps are the best. Car manufacturers use them for good reason.

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Ruh-Roh. I’m in trouble now. I replaced the spring clamps on my garbage disposal with worm screw clamps. I need to take the hose off occasionally to clean it and my old hands have trouble squeezing the spring clamps. I’ll have to check for tightness occasionally. Thanks for the info.

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Just give the clamp a little turn. If it is loose, snug it and you should be OK.

Even less worry if it is a drain line!

I don’t tighten much since the hose slips over plastic necks on both ends. It’s a drain hose for the dishwasher that goes from the sink overflow to the disposal. Worth a check today. I haven’t had to clear the hose for several months. The problem was grease clogging the hose at the disposal end. I’m much better about removing grease from pots and pans before washing now and running disposal before cleaning dishes.

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I take issue with the statement that screw clamps are best as illustrated by the fact that they are OEM. My recent experience is Japanese design (Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Subaru) where OEM across the board is spring clamp. After experiencing leaks with screw clamps on replacement hoses I have converted back to spring clamps without further problems. I think the spring clamp provides a more uniform pressure and is not susceptible to loosening in thermal changes that especially affect cooling hoses.

Spring clamps are harder to fit as a single clamp will only fit a narrow range of size, but with careful measuring I have a seal that has caused me no problems.


I don’t think anyone said anything like that.


I had always used the screw clamps, back when I did that stuff,my rule of thumb was to tighten it so it was flush with the hose. I din’t recall ever having an issue.

This discussion has taught me something - no more replacing spring clamps.

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I guess I have been doing it wrong all these years. I always replaced the spring clamp with a screw clamp. never had a problem.


I’ve gone back to spring clamps. The only issue with them is that they can be hard to find. I usually have to go to amazon to get them, they are not available at any parts stores around here.

I regret not using spring clamps, however I read online and in maintenance/repair books such as Haynes and Chilton that OEM hose clamps are for factory hoses only, and should not be reused with aftermarket hoses. These books suggest to always throw away the OEM hose clamps and use stainless worm-gear hose clamps instead.

The other problem is that the correct molded heater hoses, water pump bypass hoses, etc. for this car are not made anymore, or would require costly international shipping to obtain–and may have been sitting in a warehouse for 10+ years anyways.

Therefore, I had to make these hoses, by buying molded hoses intended for other cars, with the desired shapes that I needed, then cutting off the portions needed and using hose couplings. Also, some hoses are different diameters at the two ends, which meant having to use a reducing coupling and a short length of the smaller size. So the number of hose clamp connections is much more than what was originally installed at the factory.

Still, if anyone has a link to an assortment of good quality spring-type hose clamps, I would be interested in that. I am planning to replace all of the hoses in my Dodge Aries, including the heater hoses, and want a good quality result.

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Yeah I made that mistake too given the difficulty working with spring clamps. So bought the tool some years ago and have ever used it. I just pay someone now.

Gates sells screw-type clamps that also have built in springs to maintain tension. Not cheap, I imagine.

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