Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Return Hose

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Return Hose

fuel return hose

The fuel return hose is a fuel system hose that is found on vehicles equipped with carburetors. It’s primary purpose is to return excess fuel from the carburetor to the fuel pump, however it serves other important functions as well. Aside from providing a path for excess fuel to return to the tank, the fuel return hose also prevents vapor lock and over pressurization from occurring within the carburetor. Vapor lock occurs when the fuel pressure or temperature rises too high the fuel can begin to vaporize and cause issues.

Usually a fuel return hose is made out fuel resistant rubber, not much different from the rest of the hoses on the fuel system. This leaves it susceptible to the same wear and tear that regular hoses experience, such as drying out and cracking. Usually a bad or failing fuel return hose will display a few symptoms that can alert the driver of an issue.

1. Strong fuel odor, engine misfires, and decreasing power

One of the first symptoms of an issue with the fuel return hose is an excessive fuel smell. If there is any sort of issue with the fuel hose, either a leak, or some sort of kink that blocks the flow, it may cause the vehicle to produce an excessively strong fuel odor from the engine. The odor may be a result of leaking fuel, or of the vaporization of the fuel inside of the carburetor due to vapor lock. A vapor lock induced fuel smell may also be accompanied with performance issues such as misfires, a loss in power, and fuel economy.

2. Carburetor flooding, engine stalling, and hard starting

Another symptom of a potential problem with the fuel return hose is carburetor flooding. If the fuel return hose becomes blocked or kinked it may cause the carburetor to flood from excessive fuel or pressure buildup. A flooded carburetor may cause engine stalling and hard starting until it is cleared, or enough fuel has evaporated.

3. Fuel leaks

Another symptom of a potential issue with the vehicle’s fuel return hose is leaking fuel. If the fuel return hose becomes excessively worn or damaged, it may cause fuel leaks. A leaking fuel return hose may produce drips or puddles of fuel underneath the vehicle, as well as a noticeably strong fuel odor.

Fuel hoses play an important role in the operation and performance of the engine, and when they fail, aside from the performance issues, can even become a potential safety hazard. If you suspect that your fuel return hose, or perhaps another fuel hose, may be having an issue have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one form YourMechanic, to determine if the hose should be replaced.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Acceleration inoperative gas pedal - 1992 Plymouth Acclaim

Hi there, thank you for your question. There is a mechanical link between the throttle pedal and the throttle body on the engine, usually called the throttle cable. Check this part to see if it broken or has stretched over...

Q: Gas leaking from underneath hose

If you have a fuel leak I would not recommend driving the vehicle until it is repaired as fuel leaks are a safety hazard. I would also recommend having your engine inspected by a professional to determine where the leak source...

Q: How much does a used power steering pump cost on average?

Hello. The cost of a used power steering pump will vary depending where it comes from. Some wrecking yard will charge much more than others. From your description of the problem it may not need a pump. It may have...