Routine maintenance is vital to the operation, functionality, and overall performance of your vehicle. However, some significant components are not commonly inspected during routine maintenance. One such component is the heater hose, which is a truly integral part of your engine’s cooling system. In this article, we will learn about the heater hose, warning signs of a malfunction, and where to go for repairs.
What is the heater hose and why is it important?
The heater hose is a hose made of flexible, soft rubber that is located between the firewall of the vehicle’s body and the engine. It serves a necessary function, as it transfers hot coolant into the heater core. Here, the substance cools down and then distributes excess heat out of the vehicle.
The overall cooling system and the heater hose work consistently to maintain a proper temperature for the engine. These hoses are normally pre-molded into specific lengths and sizes based upon the make and model of the vehicle. They are often designed to fit certain types of cooling systems as well. While there are variations in the recommended time frame for replacing heater hoses, there are several warning signs that can let you know that the hose must be replaced as soon as possible.
Warning Signs That the Heater Hose Should Be Replaced
At times, it can be difficult to determine the condition of the heater hose by simply looking at the component. The following signs may assist you in looking for specific characteristics that can signal a problem with the hose.
- A bubble or shape deformity in the rubber of the hose
- Dry or brittle condition of the hose
- Cracks or holes in the rubber, which can cause coolant leaks
- Fluid leaking from the hose (check for puddles under the vehicle that may be coolant)
- While the engine is off, squeeze the hose and listen for crackling This could mean the mesh inside the hose is deteriorating and breaking down.
- Observe how quickly the hose “bounces back” when squeezed. A quick reaction means the rubber is in proper condition, while a “spongy” feel can mean it is time to replace.
- The engine does not maintain a proper temperature while in operation.
- Low coolant sensor or alert light illuminates.
- The engine runs hot on a consistent basis.
Contributing Factors to the Poor Condition of the Heater Hose
There are several factors that can cause the hose to dry out, harden, crack, or function improperly. Overall heat from the engine will cause wear and tear on the component over a period of time. Recommendations for changing the hose vary from every four to six years to every five to ten years. On average, routine replacement happens around 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
Another contributing factor is excessive outside temperatures. In fact, engine cooling systems tend to experience the most issues in extremely hot weather. Various acids leaking from the engine and its parts can also eat away at the rubber hose, causing a serious break down. A heater hose can collapse due to the vacuum effect created by a clogged cooling system, as debris and other deposits collect over time and impair the flow of coolant.
Finally, electrochemical degradation or ECD, can attack the heater hose internally and cause tiny cracks or pinholes that lead to the rupture of the hose.
Consequences of Not Replacing the Heater Hose
If the heater hose becomes damaged or compromised and is not replaced, it can be detrimental to the engine of your vehicle. An engine that runs hot consistently will overheat, causing complete failure of the system. This shuts down the total operation of the vehicle and be extremely costly to repair. Many times, repairs can not be performed and the entire engine must be replaced. When the cooling system operates improperly, critical components like head gaskets can fail quickly. These, among other consequences, are the reasons why the heater hose should be inspected periodically and replaced immediately when issues arise.
Superior Service with Revolution Automotive Services
While it is true that regularly-scheduled maintenance is extremely important for your vehicle’s overall performance and operation, it is important to remember that certain components need to be specifically addressed. These components, such as the heater hose, may not be part of a routine inspection.
The highly-talented staffs at Revolution Automotive Services possess the expertise to zone in on these often overlooked features and provide the maintenance or service needed. Revolution is the only independent repair shop in the Norwood, Westwood, Walpole, Sharon, Canton, Medfield, Needham, Dover, and Boston, MA areas that use factory diagnostic systems for the five particular brands they service. These brands include Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi and MINI Cooper.
All the service providers complete multiple training sessions throughout the year and are ASE Certified Master Technicians. They pride themselves on going above and beyond for their customers. It may be hard to find the time or the ability to inspect, replace, or repair your heater hose on your own. Revolution Automotive Services is here for you and will ensure your engine’s cooling system is in stellar working order.