Car Savvy: Is The Problem A Vacuum Leak? Find Out & Fix It

Air moves in and out of your vehicle at exact ratios for proper combustion. The vacuum hoses are there to help the air get to your engine. But these hoses can fail, develop cracks or become loose, which can affect performance. The following guide will teach you how to diagnose a vacuum leak and how to deal with it.

Signs Of A Vacuum Leak

The following could indicate a vacuum leak:

  • A vacuum leak will distort the fuel to air mixture, which will cause hesitation or misfires when accelerating. This happens because the air pressure increases when you accelerate, and the leak fails to contain that precise pressure.
  • The air to fuel mixture issue could also cause rough idling or engine stalls. You might also see that your idle RPM's are above normal, which is 1000 RPM's.
  • Vacuum hoses could also affect your transmission's ability to use power correctly due to improper fuel and air mixture. You will feel hard shifting.
  • And, just as before, the air leak could also cause problems starting your car.
  • You might hear hissing sounds coming from your engine, which indicates air escaping.

You can talk to your auto care specialist about these symptoms to help you confirm your suspicions.

Replacing Your Vacuum Hoses

You'll need the following:

  • A screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • New and specific vacuum hose (hoses). You can purchase high performance hoses, too. Talk to your auto parts specialist about your choices, such as aftermarket parts.
  • Your auto repair guide or owner's manual
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • Safety gloves and glasses


  1. Park your vehicle in a safe location, and leave it off long enough to cool.
  2. Put your gloves and glasses on.
  3. Locate the vacuum hoses, and look for cracks or loose connections.
  4. Turn on your car if you cannot find the leak and lightly spray carburetor cleaner around the hoses. Listen to the way your car idles because the carburetor cleaner will make the idle sound louder or will stall your car. You've found the leak if you hear changes in your idle. Turn car off again and let it cool.
  5. Use the wrench to remove metal clamps holding the leaking hose in place.
  6. Get your pliers to carefully pull the leaking vacuum hose from the plastic connector. Do not damage the plastic connector.
  7. Slide on your new vacuum hose, and attach the metal clamps to secure the new vacuum hose in place.

Start your vehicle, and see if the problem has been fixed. Make sure you do not hear hissing from the hose you attached. Remember that you can have your auto care specialist deal with this issue if you feel uncomfortable performing the aforementioned steps.