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How does summertime heat affect engine hoses?
Heat in general affects the hoses year round, but is more likely to surface as a problem when the weather is hotter in summertime, as the outside ambient temperature makes it harder for the system parts to shed heat. The additional stress of the hotter conditions can cause hoses to crack or swell, as they are constantly exposed to heating and contracting, as well as being impacted by the high system pressure of the cooling system. Typically this is up to or around 15 psi or pounds per square inch, which may not seem like a lot, but when considering the effect spread out over a large surface area becomes a great deal of pressure.
Hoses are one of the items which are often overlooked for replacement. Quite often they are only replaced after a failure has occurred, and usually only when there is a failure due to age. Furthermore, the hose that failed is typically the only one that is replaced.
The hoses used on our vehicles are usually multilayer with an interior cord support for strength. The inner layer of the hose can deteriorate without showing any signs, and then cause a bubble to swell as the hose starts to come apart. This being the case, trying to determine how long a radiator or heater hose will last is no exact science.
As with all systems in your vehicle, inspect the hoses regularly for signs of physical damage, swelling, or soft spots, especially near the attachment point. Proper clamping is required, as a defective or weak clamp can lead to a hose failure as well. Have the hoses checked at regular intervals and replaced before they fail.
As a rule, the cost and inconvenience of making the repair before a breakdown is worth it when compared to the loss that a surprise breakdown brings. Treat the most used appliance in your family (your car) to the best care and you will have miles of happy and trouble free service.
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