Initially, I used to carry a hose pick tool in my toolbox for removing stuck fuel hoses on my truck but now I use hose removal pliers. They are more gentle on hoses and greatly reduce the struggle of removing stuck rubber hoses off fittings. They are also easy to use and won’t break hoses.
Table of Content
- Why you need a hose removal tool
- Why rubber hoses get stuck?
- What are hose removal pliers?
- Best Hose removal pliers
In this article, you will learn why you need hose removal pliers for removing radiator hoses and fuel lines. More importantly, you will find some of the best hose grip pliers in the market and how to use them to take rubber hoses off fitting.
Why do you need a hose removal tool?
If you have dealt with hoses, you know that some rubber hoses are difficult to remove without a tool. When a rubber hose stays clamped on a pipe for a long time, it tends to create a strong bond with the pipe. This bond can be hard to break without a tool. This is why some people try different hacks including sliding a flat screwdriver underneath the stuck rubber to break the seal. Some people apply WD-40 to soften the rubber and break the strong bond. And when none of the hacks work, most people simply cut off the hose and replace it with a new one.
The good news is that you can reduce the struggles and frustrations of dealing with seized rubber hoses by using a proper hose removal tool. But before we dive into hose removal tools, do you know why rubber hoses become hard to remove? Here are the two main reasons.
Why do rubber hoses get stuck?
There are many reasons why rubber hoses get stuck on fittings and become hard to remove. But the two main reasons are:
1. Rubber hoses become hard and brittle with age
Over time and with changing temperatures, rubber hoses harden and lose elasticity. They also shrink and create a strong bond onto the pipe or pipe fitting. This bond is had to break by pulling the hose. In fact, some hoses get so stuck on the tube that they get torn when you pull them off.
2. Rubber hoses shrink when pulled
Another reason why hoses get stuck is that they shrink when pulled and bind even more. This happens even to the new rubber hoses that are still pliable. It is the nature of rubber.
When you pull an elastic hose, it extends in length but shrinks in diameter. This makes it grip the pipe or tubing more tightly. Now when you also take into account the high friction coefficient of rubber, you can understand why even a newly installed rubber hose can be a pain to pull off. So, don’t be surprised when your new coolant hose refuses to come off when you pull it. There is nothing wrong with it. You just need to know how to effectively remove it.
The best way to remove a rubber hose from a fitting is to push it from the end. Alternatively, you can grip it around the fitting and pull it off. This is how the hose removal pliers work.
Otherwise, if you pull the hose from any other position, it will not come off easily. You might even damage its internal structure or cause it to crack.
What are hose removal pliers?
Hose removal pliers are special types of hose pliers for removing hoses from pipes and fittings. They are great for removing stuck rubber hoses that are hard to pull by hand.
Generally, hose removal pliers reduce the struggle of pulling off vacuum hoses, water hoses, coolant hoses, and oil hoses that are stuck on fittings after being clamped for a long time.
There are many types of hose removal tools but my focus is on hose removal pliers. These are specialty pliers for removing hoses, particularly rubber hoses that won’t come off easily.
There are two major types of hose removal pliers. Those that grip a hose and pull it off and those that push a hose off the pipe without gripping. In this article, we shall look at both types of hose removal pliers and which ones are the best for different circumstances. But first, let’s see what makes hose removal pliers better than hose picks.
Hose removal pliers vs hose pick tools
A hose pick tool is a hose removal tool that looks like a screwdriver with a U-shaped end. It is useful for breaking the seal of stuck hoses and pulling them off.
Hose pick tools are quite common among auto mechanics for removing stuck rubber hoses. Unfortunately, they do not work as effectively as hose removal pliers.
One of the reasons hose removal pliers are better than hose picks is that they hardly damage hoses. Unlike a hose pick tool that has a small area of contact with a hose, hose removal pliers have a bigger area. And going by the rule that pressure is inversely proportional to area, a hose pick is likely to damage the hose when you apply too much pressure.
Another reason why hose removal pliers are better than hose picks is that they do not have sharp ends. In contrast, hose picks are narrow and have tapered ends that would poke holes in the hose when pulling. So, you must pull a hose pick at the right angle to avoid puncturing the hose.
The only reason a hose pick removal tool would stand out is when breaking the seal of a seized rubber hose. It is easy to get the hose removal hook end of the tool underneath the hose and move it around to loosen the stuck hose.
Also, hose removal pick tools are versatile. You can use a single tool to remove almost all sizes of rubber hoses. But hose pliers are versatile too. You can use a single pair to remove a variety of rubber hoses, though not all. So, versatility should not be the reason you choose a hose pick set over hose removal pliers.
Best Hose Removal Pliers
Lisle 47900 Hose Removal Pliers – Best for Small Hoses
- Length: 10″
- Removes hoses from 5/32″- 1/2″
- Strong spring mechanism
- Lifetime Warranty
- Made in USA
The Lisle 47900 hose separator pliers are the best automotive hose removal tool for small hoses. They are inexpensive and are well-built with thick metal to get even the most stubborn hose off the pipe.
The pliers feature forked jaws that go between the hose end and the pipe fitting to push the hose off the fitting. These types of hose removal pliers work like reverse pliers. Instead of the jaws closing when you squeeze the handles, they open to push the hose off the fitting. This is so good because they don’t grip the hose so you don’t have to worry about damaging hoses.
Although the Lisle hose removal pliers are so effective at removing hoses, they have a couple of limitations. The first one is that you cannot use them to remove hoses bigger than 3/4″ diameter. This means that if you repair cars, you can only use these pliers to remove vacuum lines, fuel lines, and small coolant lines. The pliers are too small for most radiator hoses.
The second limitation is that the Lisle 47900 hose pliers are too big to fit in small spaces. So, they might not save your life if you are trying to remove a stuck rubber hose in a very tight space.
Lastly, the Lisle hose removal pliers do not have rubber covers on the handles. This makes them quite uncomfortable in the hands but not unuseful. They can also be hard to grip properly in slippery conditions. However, if you like to modify tools, you can plastidip the handles to make these pliers more comfortable.
Bottom line, the Lisle 47900 hose removal pliers are such a steal for the work they do and the price you pay for them. They are solid and the jaws open and close smoothly. These hose pliers are a must-have in a mechanic’s toolbox for working on small rubber hoses. You might also want to have them if you encounter small rubber or plastic hose fittings in your repairs around the house. For example, you can use them to get a stuck flexible hose off a sprinkler or spigot without a problem.
Renekton Hose Removal Pliers
- Length: 10″
- Removes hoses from 5/32″- 1/2″
- Rubber handles
- Limited life warranty
- Made in China
The Renekton hose removal pliers are like a version of Lisle 47900 pliers with more comfortable handles. These pliers from China have PVC covers on the handles to provide a non-slip grip and reduce hand fatigue during use. They are also galvanized to prevent rusting.
Despite having rubber handles, Renekton hose separator pliers still trail the Lisle from USA for two reasons.
The first reason is that Renekton hose pliers are not as sturdy as the Lisle 47900 pliers. The jaws tend to bend when you push them so hard against a very stubborn hose.
The second reason is that none of the jaws of the Renekton pliers has a sharp edge like the Lisle pliers. So, you can’t dig into the pipe or fitting to anchor the tool and keep it from slipping backward when pushing a hose.
Bottom line, the Renekton hose remover tool is great for removing small stubborn hoses of up to 1/2″ external diameter. It is safer on hoses than using a hose pick pry tool or screwdriver. Even though the jaws are not very strong, you can still use them to nudge most stuck hoses off fittings without damaging them.
Lastly, Renketon hose removal pliers are comfortable and easy to use because of the rubber handles and spring mechanism. The pricing is decent, making the tool a worthwhile investment for any DIY mechanic or handyman. So, if you like working on cars, you will find this tool useful for getting off vacuum lines, fuel hoses, and small coolant lines. On the other hand, if you just like repairing things around the house, this tool will come to your rescue when removing a stuck water hose from a washing machine or dishwasher.
Gearwrench 82107 3-piece Hose Grip Pliers Set – Best for Auto mechanics
- 3 piece set
- Length: 13 inches
- Gripping capacity: Removes hoses from 5/16″- 3/4″
- Double dipped comfort handles
- Lifetime warranty
- Made in China
The Gearwrench hose grip pliers set are different type of hose removal pliers. Unlike the Lisle 47900 and Renekton pliers that remove hoses without gripping, Gearwrench hose removers grip a hose with the ring end to push or pull it from the pipe. Hence the name hose grip pliers.
The Gearwrench hose removal pliers set includes three sizes of long-reach hose grip pliers. Lengthwise, the three pairs of pliers are equal (13″ long) but their gripping capacities are different. The smallest ring size can grip up to a 5/16″ hose while the largest fits hoses of up to 3/4″ external diameter. However, you can use the larger pliers on stubborn heater hoses of up to 1+inch.
The Gearwrench set of hose removal pliers includes three very well constructed pliers of different sizes. The alloy steel pliers have a useful length of 13″, making them very useful for installing and removing hoses in hard-to-reach places. The ring jaws have soft serrations to improve gripping without puncturing hoses. The handles have foam cushion grips which are comfortable in the hands but tend to come off over time.
A major gripe with the Gearwrench hose grip pliers set is the inconsistent quality. Getting a quality set can be a hit or miss. Some sets have poorly finished pliers that require a bit of cleanup. So, cross your fingers and hope to receive a well-finished set. Otherwise, you might need a Dremel and needle file to remove the burrs and smooth out some razor sharp edges.
But overall, if you land on a nice gearwrench hose grip pliers set, you will be very pleased with it. It is great value for money and a nice set of hose removal pliers for professional mechanics. The three different sizes of pliers in the pack will set you for all hose sizes including small vacuum lines, medium-sized PCV, EVAP, fuel lines, and large coolant and water hoses.
Pittsburgh Long reach Hose Grip Pliers – Best for DIY mechanic
- 3 piece set
- Lengths: 13 inches
- Gripping capacity: Removes hoses from 3/8″- 3/4″
- Double dipped comfort handles
- Made in China
The Pittsburgh 3 piece long reach hose grip pliers are a lot like the Gearwrench set. They are 13 inches long but their gripping capacity ranges from 3/8″ to 3/4″. They are nicely finished but the quality of steel might not stand up to heavy abuse.
The pliers have cushion grip handles for increased hand comfort. They are longnecked and the ring jaws are slightly bent to make it easy to work on hoses in tight spaces. Furthermore, the jaws have teeth that ensure a non-slip grip on the hoses as you twist, pull, or push them from the pipe.
As I mentioned, the only major downside of the Pittsburgh hose grip pliers set is the quality of steel used to make them.
Overall, the relatively poor quality of steel makes Pittsburgh hose grip pliers the best for backyard mechanics and DIYers. The pliers set is well priced and each of the pliers in the set is nicely finished. So, if you don’t work on tubings more regularly, you will find the set a worthy addition to your toolbox.
Unlike other hose removal tools, hose removal pliers disconnect tight rubber hoses from fittings without breaking or over-stretching them. They come in different sizes and designs for different hose sizes. If you are an automotive technician, you should have them as part of your essential pliers set for auto repair. They make removing hoses so much easier. You will love them!
Frequently Asked Questions
Ideally, hose grip pliers do not have sharp teeth that can damage the hose. However, if you squeeze the pliers tightly, you could puncture the hose. To avoid this, make sure you use the right hose grip size for each hose. Also, avoid pulling, pushing, or twisting the hose aggressively. If the hose is stuck, you can start by getting a flat screwdriver or hose pick pry tool underneath the hose and work it round to break the seal. Alternatively, you can try some hose softening hacks.
Both types of hose removal pliers are effective at removing stubborn hoses. But if you want a tool that you can use to remove and install hoses, the hose grip pliers are better. On the other hand, if you need hose remover pliers that will not damage hoses at all, the hose separator pliers are the best choice.
Although some people claim that WD-40 can damage rubber hoses, the manufacturer says it is safe. In fact, you can use it to soften rubber hoses for removal or installation. Another product you can spray on a stuck hose to loosen it is PB Blaster. Alternatively, you can pour hot water on a tight hose to make it more pliable. A hairdryer may also be useful.