Why did my radiator hose burst


By alex_aa | AA Member | 4 Posts | 3 June 2014 at 11:26am

A mechanic replaced engine cylinder head in my car and did some other works to insure that the engine will not overheat.
Four months later top radiator hose in the car blew up, the engine overheated and got damaged (supposedly cracked gasket).
Should the mechanic repair the damage under the warranty on the job?


Mazda Proceed 1996 diesel

Job included:
- engine cylinder head and gasket replacing
- overall engine system check to eliminate possibility of the head/gasket damaging again (this was my special request as two years ago I already replaced the cylinder head)
- radiator repair/clean
- thermostat replacing
- water pump check
- cam and water pump belts replaced

Job warranty given:
Standard 1 year warranty for the cylinder head and gasket.

My point:
Most likely the hose split because of age and wear (it was not changed at least since year 2003).
However it is also possible that something happened in the engine, which caused pressure in the cooling system increased and the hose split.

In either case I suppose certain responsibility for what has happened lies on the mechanic and therefore they should fix the damage under the warranty.

As a good will I am ready to share expenses of the operation at some proportion.

Mechanic's point:
What has happened is a pure accident, not bound anyhow to their work. Therefore the best they can offer is some discount of their labour to fix the damage.

By Donavan | AA Expert | 1050 Posts | 3 June 2014 at 12:37pm

The mechanic can only advise you on parts that are faulty, or showing signs of wear, at the time of inspection (by pressure testing the cooling system or visual). If the pipe was faulty at the time it's unlikely to have lasted four months.

If it was a part they replaced at the time of the previous repair that failed then it's worth discussing with them (or if a hose clamp wasn't fastened properly, etc.).

A gesture of goodwill assistance towards the repair (either by a reduced labour rate or discount on parts) from the dealer would be a good outcome but I cannot see how the dealer is to blame.

It's an unfortunate case but the age of the vehicle, with possibly high mileage, does influence the reliability of the parts.

It might be time to do the sums and see whether its worth throwing more money at this vehicle or put the money towards a lower mileage/newer one.

By alex_aa | AA Member | 4 Posts | 3 June 2014 at 4:32pm

Shouldn't a mechanic, performing this kind of work, suggest that old radiator hoses need to be replaced?

This particular hose is at least 11 years old and shows pretty evident signs of wear (crumbly rubber inside). Unlikely the wear rapidly developed just in 4 months, so presumably visual inspection of the hose was not done thoroughly.

But, yes, they did pressure test, and the cooling system did not loose any water until the incident.

By Donavan | AA Expert | 1050 Posts | 3 June 2014 at 4:46pm

Yes, if the hose is showing signs of deterioration or leakage the mechanic should advise you that it needs replacing.

But, if he went on the parts age and vehicles age alone you would end up spending a lot of money replacing all components which will make it un-economical to repair.

By alex_aa | AA Member | 4 Posts | 3 June 2014 at 5:57pm

Understandable about age and number of aged components.

So, please confirm, AA's opinion is that, in the given situation (even the mechanic did radiator repair and the cooling system check), burst hose (presumably due to its unspotted wear at the work time) is not a subject for me to ask the mechanic to do repair under the job warranty?

By Donavan | AA Expert | 1050 Posts | 4 June 2014 at 8:45am

You have confirmed that the technician had done a coolant pressure test, checked water pump, cleaned radiator, replaced thermostat, etc at the time of the cylinder head gasket replacement (or resurface) so it sounds like he has done everything possible to detect/repair any further faults with the cooling system. For this reason I cannot see how he is responsible for a part that has failed out of his control. It is an unfortunate situation for both parties to be in.

If you feel strongly that the technician is to blame then you can take the matter to the disputes tribunal and have your case heard. The adjudicator will consider the facts and make a ruling.

If a part that the technician replaced/repaired at the time of the cylinder head replacement failed and caused the hose to burst/fail then you could have a case to take him to task on.

By alex_aa | AA Member | 4 Posts | 4 June 2014 at 10:28am

Thank you ...


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