Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Is a Leaking Hose in a Car Serious?

asked by on

Is a leaking hose in a car serious?

Leaking hoses are an indication of a problem with the system that they are associated with. A leaking hose will cause the fluid that a system requires for operation to be lost, which compromises the system’s function. The loss of fluid could result in a loss of that system’s operation, and will usually leave your vehicle stranded on the side of the road, requiring service, or a tow to a shop for repairs.

Our car systems, such as coolant, automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, are considered sealed systems. With this in mind, any leak is a cause for concern. For example, a leaking cooling system will cause the loss of coolant, which will result in engine overheating and can cause warping of some major parts, or severe engine damage if left unrepaired.

The coolant, which is under as much pressure as 15 psi (pounds per square inch) can spray out on the drive belts, causing them to slip or chatter, and can even cause them to fail in some instances. Also be careful as the cooling system heat and pressure can cause serious personal injury; never remove the cap from a hot cooling system that is under pressure.

Hoses break down over time due to temperature and normal wear combined with the continual cycling of heat and pressure they must endure. They are also subject to possible physical damage. Proper inspection is required so that these hoses can be checked for replacement prior to failure.

A common mistake made is to replace a worn or leaking radiator hose and leave the other original hoses in place. Hoses should be examined to determine the cause of the leaking condition. If the failure is due to some form of hazard, like physical damage through chaffing, contact with a sharp surface, or through an accidental contact with a foreign object kicked up or driven over on the highway, the affected hose could be the only one needing replacement. If the hose for a system has failed due to age, then it is reasonable for all hoses in that system to be replaced, since they have all been exposed to the same amount of wear.

If the hose is in a hydraulic system (such as power steering, automatic transmission or brakes), then the failure can also potentially cause a more severe hazard due to the loss of that system’s function. This could lead to loss of forward motion, steering control or stopping.

An old phrase comes to mind here, and that is “out of sight out of mind.” Too often, these system parts are overlooked until they reach a critical point and fail. To avoid or minimize these failures, it is best to have your vehicle’s hoses inspected at regular intervals and replaced before they fail.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Oil Loss

If you lost all the oil in your engine after driving for 30 minutes, without any signs of an oil leak, then you need to put in oil until it is full to see how much oil was used. If...

Q: Brake fluid leak

Hello. Brake hoses tend to leak only when they are cut by some sort of road debris. The brake hose has several layers on it because of the safety factor involved with brakes. It is possible for the line to...

Q: Car refuses to start after breaking down on highway.

I would suggest that you have the computer scanned with a code reader to determine if and codes were generated. There is a problem with the fuel pump on that year model. I would have a technician come out and...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...