Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, 38 years of servicing and repairing vehicles in the Vancouver BC area and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. Eighteen times, voted by their customers as the best in Vancouver. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we’re going to talk about a 2003 Audi A4, brake flex hose replacement. What was going on with this Audi?
Bernie: Well this vehicle came to our shop with a few concerns. Did an inspection on the vehicle and one of the things we found was, for a lack of bette term, a very pregnant brake hose and I’ll just get right into pictures because that will be the best way to actually show you what was going on with this vehicle. So here’s a quick view of the 03 A4 that we serviced, and we’ll just get into the brake hose which is right here. So there’s our Audi A4, 03 that we serviced and there is the brake hose. So this is the front left corner of the vehicle. You can see the McPherson strut here and that red arrow points to as I said a very pregnant brake hose. There’s a big humongous bulge in this brake hose. Shouldn’t be there. You can see the rubber, very continuous piece and actually, interesting, I didn’t even notice this on the vehicle, but there’s a very slight bulge here too which is also a problem as well. But this was the major issue on this hose and warranted immediate replacement.
Mark: So I’m going to assume that this didn’t occur in the normal way that pregnancy occurred? What would cause this to happen?
Bernie: So a brake hose, I’ll just keep looking at this picture, a brake hose is basically a multi-layered rubber, it’s got rubber, it’s got you know it’s got fibrous, it’s got cords that run through the hose in different directions. It’s a very strong hose. This hose will handle at least 5000 psi pressure which you know, a brake system will undergo on a very high panic stop and we’ve seen, and actually tested on a gauge over 4000 psi and there’s probably some that put out even more. So this hose has to hold a lot of pressure. Now what likely happened with this hose, is there’s a, it probably developed a pin hole somewhere, like the rubber deteriorated somehow, developed a pin hole and the outer jacket of the hose is actually filled with brake fluid. So this is a pretty serious condition. As I mentioned, this other bulge here, which we didn’t really even notice, at least I didn’t when I took the picture, you know is also a serious condition, there’s deterioration there as well. So this hose is basically rotting itself from the inside out.
Mark: So what would happen if the hose was left un-repaired?
Bernie: Basically it would just blow and at the worst, usually these kind of things can often happen at the worst of times. You’d be driving down the road, you know, you hit the brake in a panic stop and the pedestrian runs out in front of you, you nail the brake hard and the hose just goes boom, and of course your brake pedal drops to the floor. Now a modern vehicle, you won’t loose all of your brakes but you’re going to lose at least half of your braking ability at a time you don’t want it to happen. So anything like a cracked brake hose, or sorry, a deteriorated brake hose, it’s a serious issue. You need to fix that.
Mark: Any other problems that happen with brake flex hoses?
Bernie: Well the other thing that happens a lot is they’ll crack. The rubber will crack. That’s probably the most common issue we find with them. As you look at the hose, especially where it meets the metal crimping’s at the end, it’ll usually start developing cracks and that’s a good sign that hey, this hose is wearing out, it’s time to replace it. The other issue that happens with brake hoses that we see from time to time, is they’ll actually develop an internal blockage. So sometimes, if you have a vehicle that’s pulling to the left or to the right, and you hit the brake, that could be a front brake hose that’s plugged. A lot of times it’s a calliper that’s seized but it can also be a brake hose that’s plugged or if you go to bleed the brakes or flush the brake fluid and there’s absolutely no flow of brake fluid, it could be due to a blocked brake hose. So that happens from time to time. More common is these leaky hoses or cracks, cracks are the most common. Second would be these bulges and third would be the blockage.
Mark: So I’m going to assume this isn’t just an Audi problem?
Bernie: No, it happens on all cars. They’re all, all the hoses are made from more or less the same materials and designs so it happens on all vehicles.
Mark: And is there any correlation between how much somebody’s, you know, if you’re driving really fast a lot and hitting the brakes a lot, is it going to wear your brake hoses out faster?
Bernie: Really good question, I would say not. Really they just, they’re just a kind of part that wears over time and not really so much with brake usage. I don’t really, I’ve never really thought of brake hoses as any preventive maintenance, to say, you know really probably the only, the biggest killer might well be road salt because it deteriorates the metal crimps on the ends but overall they’re, they just wear and then they wear out when they do. You can’t really wreck them.
Mark: And that’s a regular check item when you guys to maintenance on any car?
Bernie: Oh absolutely. Yeah, whenever we do a maintenance service inspection like a, in our shop, a B service inspection, which is a full inspection or a brake inspection, we always look at the hoses very thoroughly. Something you should do you after the car’s a few years old, I mean, every year you should have that kind of level of things inspected because it could be good this year and you know next year, it’s got a hole in it or even you know, six months down the road, things develop. So that’s why it’s good to have, important to have your vehicle inspected annually.
Mark: So you work on a lot of Audi’s, how are the A4’s for reliability?
Bernie: Yeah, they’re pretty good, you know, I often say, probably sound like a broken record, most European cars, more things tend to go wrong, they cost a little more money to fix and maintain but overall, they’re quite good vehicles and you get a nicer ride than your sort of average car. So yeah, they’re quite good.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for service for your Audi in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Check our their website pawlikautomotive.com, we’ve go five plus years of videos and now we’re adding Podcasts to the mix. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: You’re welcome Mark, thanks