Choosing The Right Hose Clamp

30 Dec.,2022


hose clamp types

As vehicles age, their hoses quickly become maintenance items that should be inspected and replaced if necessary. The modern engine bay is a myriad of different hoses, each carrying a different fluid with different requirements. It's important to inspect and replace the clamps that attach these vital hoses to a car's components as well. They're just as important, and a failure can mean catastrophe. However, not all clamps are the same.

The Oetiker Clamp:

My favorite clamp by far is the Oetiker clamp. This versatile clamp is very simple and holds its tension very well over time.


  1. Maintains constant tension
  2. Will not slice rubber hoses
  3. Slim and neat looking


  1. One time use
  2. Requires special tool for installation
  3. Can be tricky to remove

Oetiker clamps can be used on pretty much everything, as long as they are used on hoses that are infrequently serviced. They're great for fuel, oil, and cooling lines, but it wouldn't be wise to use them on hoses that need to be removed for frequent services unless specified by the OEM. PCV breather systems like those on the Volvo V70R use these clamps almost exclusively. They look great once installed, and can give an engine bay a factory fresh look. Installing these clamps is a piece of cake using a tool called an "End nipper," or any specialty Oetiker clamp tool.

Worm Gear Clamps:

Worm gear clamps have been used since basically prehistoric times, and it's easy to see why. Ease of installation is #1 here, and availability is infinite. I've even seen these for sale at drug stores, not to mention nearly every gas station stocks them. It's great to always have a few different sizes on hand as you never know what might fail in a pinch.


  1. Installation is extremely easy with a flathead screwdriver or 7-8mm socket
  2. Universal availability


  1. Overtorquing poor quality clamps can result in torn rubber hoses
  2. Retorquing is sometimes necessary for a leak-free connection
  3. Quality is all over the place, cheap clamps often disintegrate or strip immediately
  4. Can often look out of place, an eyesore

Clamps like the blue-collared ABA brand clamp shown above utilize a pressed tooth pattern, rather than teeth that are cut into the clamp's metal band. These clamps operate extremely smoothly and pose little danger to hoses as they're just a smooth metal band on the inside. Premium quality clamps like this are available in kits like this BMW Cooling System Overhaul kit, to get an idea of their usage.

The Spring Type Clamp:

Spring type clamps are one of the better looking clamps out there, in my opinion. They hold strong, are maintenance free, and aren't too difficult to remove. They're commonly used for things like heater hoses and radiator hoses, and smaller versions are almost always used for vacuum and boost pressure lines.


  1. Simple - clamping force cannot be adjusted
  2. Aesthetically pleasing
  3. Common household pliers can remove most sizes of spring clamps


  1. Simple - clamping force cannot be adjusted
  2. Larger versions are unruly to remove without extremely large pliers
  3. Dangerous - Spring clamps can slip out of pliers and go flying

Spring type clamps aren't terribly common in European cars for things other than vacuum and boost pressure lines, but they do ensure that these lines don't pop off in forced induction vehicles. Clamping tension is determined solely by the gauge of the metal used in the clamp's construction. A thick gauge clamp will grab harder (and consequently be harder to open) than a clamp with a thinner gauge metal construction.

Think I'm crazy for mentioning aesthetics?

For some, it's a huge factor when doing a build on their car as the engine bay might be the best looking part of the whole vehicle. Cheap, rusty worm gear clamps look hellacious, and can make an otherwise spotless 'bay look unkempt and unloved. Spend the extra coin on quality clamps - it can make all the difference at a judged car show.



About the Author: Alex Fiehl

Alex is FCP's Blog Editor and an IT technician from Endwell, NY. He has over 8 years of experience working on a wide array of import makes, but lately is partial to Volvo . For some reason he just purchased a Volkswagen, and is excited to see what breaks first.