How dangerous is coolant hose failure?

Hey y'all. I have a '90 Integra that gets driven occasionally. Last time it was in for an oil change, they told me the coolant hoses are brittle and ought to be replaced.
Now I do plan to get this done, but maybe not right away 'cos it's pretty expensive. Is there any danger to the car (or the people inside) if the hoses happen to fail while I'm driving? I mean, if it were a timing belt problem you might have some serious engine damage, plus it's not so good to stop going if you're on the freeway or something. But with this, I was thinking I'd see the temp go up and hopefully have some time and be able to pull it over. Am I wrong?
Thanks.
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If your hose breaks on a warm car, ( and inevitably that is when it will happen due to increased pressure) you will know. the steam will pour out from your hood pretty quickly as the rad fluid hits the hot engine.
aside from the car overheating and the engine block cracking / warping due to the overheating I don't think its that big of a deal to save the 100 bucks for new hoses.
for fun a buddy and I ran an old 4 cyl volkswagen fox without a rad to see how long it would last. It ran for about 10 minutes before the engine went bang, and would not start again. Turning the engine over there was absolutely no compression left in the cylinders.
ymmv
Dave

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On May 29, 3:21 pm, snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote:

If the coolant leaks, you often don't see a rise in temp because the temp sensor is sitting in the coolant, and when it's all of a sudden not sitting in the coolant, it doesn't notice that the rest of the coolant, that it's not sitting in, is heating up. In fact, two other symptoms of coolant loss are temp going DOWN, and lack of heat from the heater.
In a similar vein, I popped a tiny little hose going to the choke heater in a former car, driving on the highway; too small to see any steam, coolant flying out, etc. but sure big enough to end up with a head that needed replacing.
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snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote:

Yes, you are wrong. Those hoses burst, and you are in for a world of hurt, possibly. Even a short-term overheat can cause damage.
But how expensive can it be to change Coolant Hoses? They cost next to nothing, and are easy to change. Go to a reputable mechanic and get an estimate. Stay away from quick-lube places, especially for anything other than oil (and probably even for that).
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OKay. . thanks for setting me straight, guys.
The dealership actually wanted $430+tax to change 'em. Maybe they are cheap on oil changes but expensive on major work, I don't know. Didn't think to get an estimate from an independent shop at the time, 'cos I figured if it's in that ballpark I'll see if I can wait.
Guess I'll start looking around now. Any recommendations for Seattle- area shops are welcome.
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On May 29, 1:51 pm, snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote:

Just a follow-up. Greg's Japanese Auto, which gets decent reviews on yelp.com, quoted me a little under half of what the dealership wanted. Sheesh, dealership! If I had money to burn I'd rather go all- in with a flush draw and at least get some excitement out of it. Anyways, thanks people.
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Yeah, I took my '90 Integra to the stealer and the deal was, they were going to replace both upper/lower rad hoses as well as the heater hoses. I think I was charges something like $325 but this was in the mid-90's.
Turned out that "they don't replace heater hoses" and they screwed me since I would have replaced the upper/lower rad hoses myself. The heater hoses were the real bitch. They can get away with letting them sit for a long time & they do. I wasn't supposed to notice.
I raised bloody hell with the service manager and wrangled a $100 store credit for future work. I am still pissed about it. McDavid Acura (Plano) if you're listening, you still owe me about $200.00. So don't wonder why I bought an EX V6 Accord instead of a TL.
Anyway, you could easily burn out the engine over a couple bucks if you have a problem. And, as little as you are driving the car, you're ruining it anyway. Either fix it and drive it more, or sell it and let someone rice it out. The rad hoses aren't hard, you should just do it yourself. I suggest Honda OEM hoses, but I've seen them get explosively soft in as little as 2 years, so let's all go out and check them right now....
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snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote:

You cannot go wrong with http://www.high-road.com I've known these guys since about '87 or '88.
Eric
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snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote in

If the big rad hoses break, the car will overhesat in jig time. This often kills the engine because the Integra has a gauge (no light) that most people ignore.
A new engine is a LOT more expensive than new rad hoses.
The smaller heater hoses usually do not fail catastrophically and can be left until the inevitable small leaks form.
I mean, if it

Yep. You won't notice until the car starts acting funny and the needle is solidly in the red.
Sell the car or get it fixed. This is an expensive disaster in the making.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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snipped-for-privacy@spymac.com wrote:

Looks like this one has been settled for a while, but I just wanted to add one thought:
Assuming a hose blows while you're on the highway, and you notice it right away and manage to pull over and shut the engine off before and damage occurs...
You still have to get the car towed to a shop, and then get the hoses replaced. You and/or your passengers also potentially have to call someone else or a cab to get them/yourself to wherever you were going at the time. If you're on your way to work, don't forget to factor in any time lost to dealing with this disaster.
Isn't it just easier and cheaper in the long run to just get the hoses done ASAP?
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I have other wheels, so the Integra has been sitting mostly lately. By "driven occasionally" I meant just a spin once or twice a month to get the juices flowing. Since the original quote I had for the job was around $470, and scheduling it would have been a pain until recently, I figured I'd get around to it when it was convenient for me schedule-wise and money-wise. But I was curious what the worst-case scenario was for driving it in its current condition.
So to answer your question, in my case, there was no pressing need for ASAP, and it has been helpful to me to be able to put it off for a while.
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I didnt notice a radiator failure on my 1990 civic for about an hour (temp high) and the engine lasted at least 50K after that.
I've had busted hoses. I've removed then, duct-taped them, and then looked for the nearest auto parts store.
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