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I want to do a "complete" overhaul of my A/C system and am pricing parts. I will be dropping a good amount of money on the parts and want to protect my investment.

If my hoses aren't leaking (not counting around the O-rings), can they go bad?

Can they get blocked, clogged, slimed up or deteriorate in some way on the inside that I can't see until they are off the vehicle?

My specific vehicle is a '98 Dodge Dakota Sport 2WD 3.9L V6.

  • What year/make/model of car? This is important, because vehicles may have inherent issues which others don't. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 17 '15 at 21:06
  • @Paulster2 Added my specific vehicle. I take it you're implying a general answer is not possible? Darn. – Zach Mierzejewski Jul 17 '15 at 21:31
  • The main reason I had you add this is because some vehicles are going to be more prone to issues than others, especially in specific areas. It may be your Dakota's A/C will last forever and it won't need anything but o-rings put in ... unfortunately, I'm not overly familiar with A/C systems. I know basically how they work and how to do general maintenance on them. Not much beyond that, though. Hopefully someone can answer your question in an educated manner. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 18 '15 at 0:57
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AC hoses generally have very long service life which, in my experience, usually exceed the life of the vehicle. If the system passes a vacuum and/or leak test then inspecting the outside is generally all that's needed to detect if there is any impending issues about to happen (hose wise). To determine their serviceability you should check for the following things.

  • Cuts, nicks, or other abrasions. Vibrations and poor routing may cause stresses on the hoses slowly wearing them down. If this is happening it might be worth it to replace the hoses now rather than waiting for total failure.
  • Stress cracks on the any fittings or ferrules. Again, vibrations, or even removing the hoses can stress the ends. Visually inspecting them you can usually detect stress points before they fail.
  • Old, dry hoses will out-gas your refrigerant. This will be detectable as an normal rubber hose. They will be visible dry cracking on the outside.

Hoses can become gummed up inside as well. The AC system holds both refrigerant and oil. Over time the system does take on moisture which the accumulator should be removing. If it has exceeded its capacity the oil can slim up and coat the inside of the hoses. You should not need to replace them due to this. If you're doing a overhaul part of that process should be to flush the AC lines with an solvent solution approved for you AC lines/hoses. This should clean out any built up gunk and flush any metallic particles suck to the insides.

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