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Road trip

Hi, I am driving from Davis to Portland this week and decided to take my 2002 Ford Focus wagon in for an oil change and road ready check up to a new mechanic. I was told that my hoses are mushy and need to be replaced and that I need to check my temp guage every minute for flucuation either up or down. If either happens I should pull over. This is puzzling to me as I have never noticed a change in my temp guage. Should I be overly concerned and just hope its ok til I get back home? I checked under the hood when I got home and noticed the top open on my wiper fluid but no fluid in the tank. I’ll be seeing them Monday morning on my way out of town.

Do you trust your mechanic? Are the hoses mushy? If they are then have them replaced. A service call on the road will cost a lot more and you could crack a head or the block.

The advice on checking coolant temp routinely is good. You should scan your gauges frequently while driving anyway. Unfortunately, I have had mushy hoses that went on for several years before I replaced them.

If you are risk-averse, get them replaced, they are 7 yrs old. If you have AAA or some other road service plan, your choice.

I think the warning is good practice. If you see the temp go over above the area it normally indicates you should be going up a big hill, on a hot day with the AC running. On the downside of the hill the guage should head back down to the normal area again. If it doesn’t then one of those mushy hoses may have sprung a leak.

A long trip with a lot of heat gives the mushy hose enough time to get really mushy, really really mushy. You just were getting good advice. If the hoses are that old they maybe due for replacement. If not before this road trip, perhaps the next. It’s not a bad idea to pop the hood at rest stops. It lets the heat out and gives you a chance to see any steam or liquid that may indicate a problem.

So, are you keeping the car for a while? If the answer is yes, then why not replace the hoses now? You will have to do it sooner or later, and if you wait you will be riding along worrying about them the whole time, and having a long, nervous trip. They are probably OK, and it’s probably not critical that you do it tomorrow, but what do you gain from waiting?