The hoses that connect different elements of your car's engine are not as durable as the metal components of the vehicle, and the materials are susceptible to damages from heat, oil, abrasion and natural elements in the air. It is important to inspect them for wear every so often to prevent issues, such as overheating and loss of engine functions that can cause severe damage to the engine.

Overheating tends to occur more often during warmer months, so you should periodically pop the hood and inspect the hoses and belts. The first step is to wait until your car has had a chance to cool down, at least 45 minutes, according to Consumer Reports. Before you touch anything, take a look at the engine bay for signs of any fluids. If you see traces of green, white or pink liquid, there's a chance that the coolant hose has a leak. You may also notice a puddle of coolant under your car when it has been parked for a while.

If you don't notice any leaks, but suspect something may be wrong with your cooling system, you can check the coolant levels in the radiator easily, as most have markings that indicate proper fill levels for the fluids when the engine is hot and when it is cool.

One of the main causes of wear in hoses is electrochemical degradation (ECD). Chemicals and acids found in coolants can break down the hose material and cause cracks and holes. ECD can also weaken the structural integrity of the hoses, leaving them susceptible to bursting. To test for ECD damage, pinch the coolant hoses near the clamps, as the news source reports that this is where the hose is most likely to be affected. If the hose is at all pliable or soft, there's a good chance that some decomposition has occurred.

You should also inspect the hoses for hard, glassy surfaces, which could indicate heat damage. Other signs of wear include cracks, tears, collapsed sections and fraying around the connections.

The general rule of thumb for replacing a vehicle's hoses is to do so every four years. However, if one hose wears out, chances are that the other hoses are nearing that point as well, so if you have to replace one, you should replace the others as well.