How To Tell When Your Hydraulic Hoses Need Replacement

Most cars, trucks, and SUVs use hydraulic hoses in several places on the vehicle to contained pressurized fluids while remaining flexible and able to move with the vehicle. Checking these hoses for damage or leaks is vital, and there are some things you may find that indicate it is time to replace the hydraulic hose. 

Seeping Fluids

Anytime you see a hydraulic hose that has fluid on the outside of the hose jacket, it is vital to determine where it is coming from. Hydraulic hoses that are allowing fluid to seep through the hose are breaking down inside and need replacing. 

The hose is made from rubber and woven material to reinforce the hose, and the bending and twisting of the hose can cause the materials to separate, and the fluid in the line can cause deterioration over time. Once the rubber hose and jacket start to deteriorate, they will begin to seep slightly, but it can get bad enough to mimic a leak under the vehicle. 

Leaking Fittings

Hydraulic hose fittings can start to leak if they loosen or if the seal inside the fitting is damaged. Sometimes all they need is to be tightened, but it is essential to check the system anytime a leak is discovered. 

If any air was introduced to the system while the fitting was loose, it could cause some issues. For instance, any air in the power steering system can cause cavitation in the hydraulic pump and cause air to be forced into the lines. When the air hits the steering box or rack, it will cause skipping in the steering, making it hard to drive the vehicle. 

The solution is to lead the air from the system after replacing the seal and tightening the fitting on the hydraulic hose. If the fitting is damaged, the entire hydraulic hose may need replacing to remedy the problem.

Hose Irregularities

Checking the brake lines, power steering hoses, and any other hydraulic hoses on your car for irregularities can help you avoid a problem later. Any hydraulic hose that has a bubble on the side, or is swelling near the fittings, is a problem and needs replacing. 

Often the irregularities form because of a weak spot in the hose, and the pressure in the system causes it to swell or bubble. If the weak spot is severe enough, normal pressure in the system can cause the hose to rupture or break. The result can be a breakdown that requires towing your car to a service shop for repair. 

If you catch the damage early, you can have the hose replaced before it leaves you on the roadside waiting for a tow.