Fuel hoses, also commonly referred to as fuel lines, are the rubber hoses in the fuel system that deliver fuel from the gas tank to the engine. The hoses are usually made of rubber that is reinforced by several layers that can properly hold the pressure generated by the vehicle’s fuel system. While they are built for a long service life, over time fuel hoses can dry out or crack, and begin to leak. Aside from causing performance issues, any sort of fuel leak can also quickly become a safety hazard due to the high flammability of gasoline. Any sort of fuel leaks should be addressed as soon as possible. Usually a bad or failing fuel hoses will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. Visible cracks along exterior of the hose
One of the first symptoms of a potential issue with the vehicle’s fuel hoses is visible cracks along the exterior of the hose. Over time, as the vehicle is driven, the hoses can become dried out, and begin to crack. Cracked hoses will not be able to hold the fuel system pressure as reliably as hoses that are in good condition, and will be more susceptible to leaks.
2. Fuel smell
Another symptom of an issue with the fuel hoses is a gasoline odor from the vehicle. Over time fuel hoses can wear out and break down, and leak. Small leaks will cause the vehicle to emit fuel vapors which may cause a noticeable odor. Small leaks that produce a fuel odor will also eventually grow into larger leaks, which will cause more serious issues.
3. Fuel leaks
Another symptom of a bad or failing fuel hose is visible fuel leaks. If any of the hoses break down, dry up, or wear out enough they will leak fuel. A leaky fuel line will produce either drips, or in more serious cases puddles of fuel underneath the vehicle. A leaky fuel line will also cause a drop in fuel pressure, which can compromise the operation of the fuel system, which can cause engine misfires and stalling.
Fuel hoses will typically last several years before they have any issues, however that may vary depending on the amount that the vehicle is driven. If your vehicle is experiencing fuel leaks, or you suspect that one of your hoses may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if any of the hoses should be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Hose and was authored by Eduardo Ruelas.