Monday, July 15, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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Brake hoses are one of the most overlooked problem areas on a vehicle
While technology has transformed almost every component, the lowly brake hose remains virtually unchanged. Failure can be disastrous and inspection is not difficult.

Brake hoses are made of several layers of rubber type material and cord. Each layer may be a different material, designed to resist the elements to which it is exposed. For instance, the inner layer is exposed to brake fluid. The outer layer must resist oil, grease, ozone and abrasion. The cord, between each layer gives strength. Brake hose operate at extremely high pressure and failure of a hose, means failure of the brakes.

Inside diameter of a brake hose

Brake hoses deteriorate over time and can fail in a number of ways. The most common failure is deterioration of the outer jacket. Ozone cause the outer lining to oxidize. This can be detected by appearance. Rubbing an oxidized hose with your fingers will leave substantial black residue. When the rubber transfers to your finger tips by rubbing the hose, it is time to consider replacement.

Oxidized rubber on a brake hose leave black mark on fingers when rubbed

Small dry rot cracks, revealed by bending the hose also indicates the need for replacement. Another problem is corrosion of the mounting brackets. Corrosion in this area can "expand" and actually pinch the relatively small channel in the brake hose. A common symptom is a pull to one side when braking. 

Inspecting a brake hose.  Click image for closer view.

Sometimes an inner liner can rupture. This can be caused by pinching the hose and sometimes results from age. When the inner lining is ruptured, the high pressure can cause a bubble or bulge in the outer lining.  A brake hose with a bulge can be a veritable "ticking time bomb," and may show no symptoms.

Ruptured inner lining causing a bulge in brake hose

Brake hoses normally give years of service, but should be carefully inspected at every brake service. They should also be part of the annual inspection of any vehicle five or more years old. Close inspection and timely replacement can prevent a dangerous situation. Preventing problems, that’s the AGCO way.

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