Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Return Hose

fuel return hose

Bad or Failing Fuel Return Hose Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

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.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

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.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

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

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
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...


Related questions

Q: Fuel door won't click shut

The latch assembly that springs the door open is faulty internally. These can be removed and a new unit installed. Trim tools should be used to pry the fuel door latch unit out to prevent damage to the paint on...

Q: Fluid hose comes off transmission to the slave cylinder.

The clutch master cylinder is not relieving the pressure when applied. I recommend bleeding the clutch master cylinder and retest. If the condition continues, then replace the clutch master cylinder. If you need further assistance with your hose blowing off...

Q: Car is leaking oil

This engine may have oil leaks from the valve covers, or any other engine gasket below the covers. When looking at oil leaks, the best practice is to look at the highest point of the leak, which may be leaking...