Your engine requires a number of fluids in order to operate. There are fuel lines that transport gasoline from the tank to the engine. There are coolant hoses that transport engine coolant to and from the radiator. There are power steering hoses that lead from the pump to the power steering rack and back again. You also have brake fluid lines and hoses, washer fluid hoses and many others. If a hose were to start leaking, the fluid it contains would drain out.
How serious is it when a hose starts leaking?
The seriousness depends mainly on the type of hose that is leaking.
If you’re talking about a washer fluid hose, it’s not particularly serious, but it can be annoying. A leaky coolant hose is another matter and can be serious. If the power steering hose is leaking it can be even more serious since power steering fluid is flammable.
Your engine’s hoses are vital to overall operation, and driving with a leak may cause anything from overheating to a fire depending on what’s leaking and where the lost fluid is going.
The best defense here is to have your car maintained by a professional mechanic capable of inspecting your hoses during each service. By regularly checking the condition of your hoses, a trusted mechanic can greatly reduce the chance that you’ll experience a leak in the first place.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Serious Is It When a Hose Is Leaking? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.