Q: If a Car Hose Is Kinked, Can I Still Use It?

asked by on November 20, 2015

If a car hose is kinked, can i still use it?

In some cases the hose is still usable, in others a kink will damage it and it will need to be replaced. Regardless of the damaged caused to the hose, a kink in a hose will cause adverse effects on the system it is part of.

A Variety of Hoses

There are a variety of hoses under the hood of a car. A kink in any of them will cause problems in their corresponding system. The hose itself may still be usable, but the kink in the hose will need to removed for the system it is part of to work properly. Whether or not the hose has been damaged by the kink is the question that will need to be answered.

Coolant Hoses

Most coolant hoses are made of flexible rubber. A kink in them shouldn’t damage them unless they are already hard and brittle. In which case, they needed to be replaced anyhow. Regardless of their condition, whatever caused the kink, usually the wrong hose or improper installation, will need to remedied.

A kink in a coolant hose can lead to the engine overheating. Any kink in a coolant hose will eventually spring a leak at the pinch points of the kink. There is a lot of stress at the kinks that will be amplified by the natural cooling and heating of the cooling system.

Heater Hoses

Your heater uses the hot coolant in your cooling system to warm the passenger compartment. If a kink in a heater hose is present, you will experience reduced heater output if not a complete lack of heat coming from the vents.

While a the heater hose and heater core are technically part of your cooling system, a kink in these hoses will not cause overheating. Heater hoses are of the same rubber construction as coolant hoses and will eventually fail prematurely if a kink in the hose is allowed to persist.

Fuel Line

Fuel lines come in both rubber and metal construction. Most of the fuel lines on a vehicle are metal. If these metal lines are kinked, they will most likely spring a leak and will need to be replaced. There are a few key areas that rubber fuel lines are used. On top of the fuel tank, between the frame rail and motor and at the point where fuel lines coming from the fuel tank attach to the fuel rail where you will find your fuel injectors.

If rubber fuel lines are kinked, you will have low fuel pressure past the kink. This will cause a variety of drivability issues that will be noticeable. Rubber lines that contain a lot of pressure have a more complex construction than simple coolant hoses. Fuel pressures range from 10 to 70 PSI in gas motors to as much as 3000 PSI in a diesel motors. The higher pressures contained within them require additional structures that can be damaged by a kink. Each situation will need to evaluated independently to determine if its integrity has been compromised. Either way, the hose should not be left kinked.

Flexible Brake Hoses

Your brakes are your first line of defense for safety and these hoses should never be kinked. Brake hoses contain some of the highest pressures on an automobile. We’re talking about thousands of PSI. Their structure can be complex in order to contain the high pressures and kinking will most likely damage them. It won’t be apparent on the outside, the damage will occur on the inside where we can’t see. Some bending of the hose is sometimes necessary in the repair of brake systems but flexible brake hoses should never be kinked. Whether or not the brake hose will need to be replaced is again something that needs to be determined on a case by case basis. If you have a brake hose that has been kinked, I would advise replacing it to be safe.

There are many metal brake lines on your vehicle and if they are kinked, they will need to be replaced. This should be obvious though as a kinked metal brake line will almost absolutely leak when the brakes are applied.

Clutch Hose

Your clutch uses hoses almost exactly like your brake lines. Both contain high pressure and need to hold these pressures for years. All the same details about a clutch line, either metal or rubber apply as they do to brake hoses.

Vacuum Hoses

Vacuum hoses are simple in comparison to all other hoses. Mostly they are utilized to enable other systems to do something. They are used by vacuum actuators to move vents in your dash or valves under the hood. If a vacuum hose should become kinked, it will likely not damage it, but it will cause problems with the system it services. One note to make, if a vacuum hose is old and aged, they become brittle and will break creating a vacuum leak if kinked. This will affect the way the motor runs as well as the system the hose was suppose to provide vacuum too.

A/C Hoses

A/C systems have two sides to them, the high pressure side and the low pressure side. The high side pressures can reach as much as 350 PSI and the low pressure side should be sustained around 20-30 PSI. There construction is special not just because of the amount of pressure but because of the chemical known as R134a contained inside them. As with brake lines, a kink in them will most certainly damage them eventually resulting in a leak.

A/C hoses are almost always contructed of metal and rubber in one unit. If the metal is kinked, it will most definitely leak refrigerant and will need to be replaced.

Oil Cooler Hoses

Oil cooler hoses are used primarily for two systems. The engine oil cooler and the transmission oil cooler. There construction can appear to be that of a coolant hose with one major exception, they resist the tendency for oil to break them down into puddles of mush. Which is what oil will eventually happen if coolant hose is used. These hoses can usually be kinked without damage to the them. As with any hose, a kink in it will affect the system it is servicing, so the kink should be removed.

Final Thoughts

There are other hoses I haven’t covered on your vehicle but all of them are of the same construction as others I have outlined above. Their use varies depending on the type of vehicle you own. It’s important to understand the dynamics of the system the hose is part of to make an informed decision about whether or not a kink in the hose has damaged it or if the kink just needs to be removed. If you are not sure of what to do, you can always request a thorough inspection from one of our many quality technicians.

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