Your engine needs coolant, the power steering rack needs fluid, and the calipers need fluid to squeeze the rotors to stop the car. Most fluids make their way to their destination through hoses. Those hoses are generally made of rubber and they wear out over time. Different types of hoses are subject to different amounts of wear and tear, and therefore have different lifespans.
How often should hoses be replaced?
Most automakers and belt manufacturers recommend having your hoses replaced once every 4 years or so. Of course, this will vary with mileage – a car that’s heavily driven may need to have the hoses replaced much sooner.
How to tell if your hoses need to be replaced
There are several key things to look for, including kinks, stiff or brittle texture, surface cracks, and bulges or bubbles.
Inspect the hoses and note any kinks or obvious signs of wear. Squeeze the radiator hoses (when cool ONLY) and see how they feel. If hoses are soft and pliable, there is no need to replace them. However, if hoses feel stiff, crackly, or brittle, they need to be replaced.
While squeezing the hoses, inspect the surface for small cracks. These can easily become big problems, as they’re the primary point for a “blown” hose.
You can also check where the hoses connect to the inlet or outlet pipe. Look for bulges or bubbles around the hose clamps, as this is a sign of impending failure.
Hoses can last a long time, but replacing them before they fail is always the better option, as it could prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road waiting for help to arrive.