Ever wondered just what performance benefits fitting silicone hoses actually offer? Fair enough they look a million times better than the standard rubber hoses, but is an injection of colour – most of which is hidden by plastic covers anyway – actually worth all the effort of fitting performance hoses? Well I’m here to tell you yes, yes it is!

Unless you quite like sitting at the side of the M4 with a stranded car that is! Because that’s exactly what happened to me recently….

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It truly was the journey from hell. I know you’ve got to expect a little extra traffic around the Christmas break, but a journey that normally takes about four-and-half hours to get home from my parents’ on the east coast had already taken over six hours before we reached the M4 junction with the M25!

Despite an angry driver, his annoyed wife, and a fed-up dog in the boot, the ST220 was behaving itself very well – I’d even managed to nudge 30mpg for a short period because of all the slow-moving traffic!

But that all ended with a mild pop and a huge cloud of steam pouring from under the bonnet as we crawled along the outside lane of the M4 just before a scheduled ‘wee-stop’ at Reading Services. I managed to shunt my way across three lanes of traffic to safely stop on the hard shoulder. By this time the light was fading, and with fast moving (well –ish!) traffic just inches away I decided lying on the floor to investigate the cause was unwise, so I called the AA for them to come and rescue me.

 

After getting a tow up the road to the services the AA man took a closer look at the problem – a small rubber coolant hose at the front of the engine had simply split. It seems twelve years of road grime, spilt oil, and general engine bay gunk had caused the rubber to soften, deteriorate, and final let go!img_2479

Thankfully, as I managed to stop the car almost immediately I knew the rest of the engine would be in good health, so the AA man promptly set about repairing the Mondeo there and then – in the dark, in a service station. Top man.

With the hose replaced with a temporary fix the whole coolant system was pressure tested to ensure it held together, before the engine was given a sniffer test to ensure the headgaskets were in good health. Everything was then topped up and I was sent on my way again.

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The car made it the rest of the way home without fault (although one of the incredibly expensive HID headlight bulbs did decide to stop working just before the breakdown!) but I think I might look in to getting a full set of silicone hoses soon then…