The Secret Black Book on Hoses

HosesWhen the hood of a car lifts up, the driver sees several different hoses in and around the engine. Seldom do drivers know the function of the hoses and when to replace it. After John spoke with a hose specialist, a copy of the man’s black book was found lying on the desk in the manager’s office. Inside, were answers to questions that drivers may never have asked. Here is a summary of the secret black book on hoses.


  • Hoses can show serious wear between 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
  • At any given time, 1 out of 3 vehicles need a new hose according to the Auto Care Association.
  • Hoses failure, according to AAA, is one of the leading causes of roadside breakdowns.
  • There are up to 6 main hoses that are critical to engine operation.
  • The odds are that a car ten years or older is in desperate need of hose replacements.
  • The number one cause of hose failure is internal corrosion by way of electrochemical degradation (known as ECD).
  • A single coolant leak can lead to immediate and sudden engine failure.


The following are the usual signs of impending hose failure.

  • An overheating engine.
  • Visible steam from under the hood.
  • A sweet burning smell.
  • Drips or the pooling of coolant on the garage floor.
  • The misunderstanding that failing hoses will trigger the engine light. (It will not)


We recommend inspections that can lead to action before hose failure occurs. The main causes of failure include: ECD, vibration, friction, mileage and heat.

  • Replace all hoses if one fails.
    • The moment one hose fails from ECD, failure of the other hoses is just around the corner. Therefore all hoses should be changed.
  • Set a periodic maintenance and inspection schedule.
    • Checking the vehicle owner’s manual for a periodic maintenance program and implementing it not only extends the life of a vehicle, but it also helps mechanics to reduce the possibility of a catastrophe from a hose failure.
  • Check coolant with every oil change.
    • A drop in coolant levels, dirty coolant, or small leaks require system maintenance to prevent catastrophic hose failure.
  • Replace hose when replacing water pump or thermostat.
    • Keeping an old hose to attach to new equipment is inviting danger. Always use a new hose when upgrading any equipment.
  • Check for coolant tracks on hoses.
    • Tracks running down the sides of hoses suggest a leak and a pending failure. Always replace leaking hoses immediately to avoid catastrophic engine failure.
  • Replace hoses that are soft, mushy or hardened.
    • A good hose will have a firm yet pliant feel.
  • Check for abrasive damage on hoses.
    • Hoses that are rubbing against other items will need to be replaced to avoid failure and the area checked for adjustments that can alleviate the rubbing.
  • Normal wear of hoses inspected while hot.
    • Damage can show up in the form of cracks, splits, blisters and pinholes that can’t be detected unless checked while under pressure.

Hopefully the black book notes and our Hi-Tech recommendations will help your car avoid catastrophic hose failure.

© 2017 Hi-Tech Automotive Specialists, Inc.
© 2017 Illustration by Continental

About CJ Powers

CJ is an author and speaker.
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