Hose Trouble? Signs That Vehicle Owners Should Never Ignore

While much is written about transmission problems, brake failure, regular oil change needs, far less attention is given to hydraulic hoses. Hoses are used to move coolant between the engine and radiator to allow the air conditioner, heater, and other critical functions to keep working. Yet many drivers have no idea of hose lifespan or how to determine if a condition problem exists.

Instead, too many drivers find themselves stranded on a busy highway with a blown radiator hose or involved in an accident because of a leaking brake or power steering hose. Drivers who would like to learn more about their car's many hoses can get off to a good start with this information. 

1. Visual inspection provides condition clues

Drivers can learn a lot by spending a few minutes looking at their car's hoses on a regular basis. For best results, time your inspection for when the car has not been driven for a few hours or after it has been parked overnight to ensure that all of the components will be cool and safe to touch. 

Next, drivers will want to check the levels for each of the car's fluids, including oil, coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. The vehicle owner's manual will provide step-by-step instructions for this process. 

Low fluid levels may be an important indication of fluid loss due to hose leaks, splits, or problems with clamps or connectors. Drivers can also check garage floors and parking spaces for signs of drips or pools of fluid that can also signal hose failure. 

2. Touch can provide more information

The next step drivers can take to learn more about vehicle hose condition issues, is to use their hands. Squeeze coolant and other hoses near clamp locations to see if the hose material feels firm, as it should if in good condition. If the material feels soft and is easily compressed with just finger pressure, it is in poor condition and should be replaced. 

During hose examinations, drivers should be alert for sections that appear bulged or collapsed, cracks or fraying, and any areas that feel inconsistent or harder than the surrounding hose material. It is also important to look and feel for fluid residue that may have leaked from the hose and then dried onto the outer surface of the hose. 

Drivers who find condition issues or realize that their hoses are overdue for replacement should immediately visit a reputable auto parts store to purchase hydraulic hoses and get installation advice.