If you own a vehicle long enough, you will eventually need to replace the vacuum hoses and connectors. Most of them are made of rubber, which will eventually degrade under any conditions. How often you need them replaced depends on a lot of factors, from the presence of salt water to annual temperature ranges and even local humidity. That is why the best way to approach vacuum tube maintenance is visual inspection.
Signs of Wear and Damage
If a vacuum hose or connector is fully compromised, it is often easy to tell because the vehicle will lose power under acceleration and have other performance issues that indicate the engine is not getting the right fuel/air mixture. At that point, you need to look for the breach. You can detect wear and damage before that with regular inspections for signs of impact, changes to the material consistency and condition, or discoloration. All of them indicate you need new tubing and perhaps tubing connectors as well.
Compatibility and Material Selection
The simplest replacement you can make is to match the part number to your new purchase, but that is not always possible with items like rubber hoses or connectors them. Many do not have part numbers, and sometimes new versions of those designs are actually better and easier to find than an OEM replacement.
Look for a connector replacement that uses the same materials or that is directly advertised as being compatible with the materials in your existing vacuum connector and tubing setup. For the connector itself, finding a direct replacement via part number is fairly likely, but the tubing and additional fittings will often be easiest to find by checking out the dimensions and other specifications.
There are multiple types of automotive hose connectors, too. Make sure the one you are buying matches not only the dimensions and materials but also the purpose you have in mind. That way you won’t accidentally wind up with a heater core fitting when you need a vacuum tube connector.
Size and Dimensional Considerations
If your vehicle uses a universal vacuum connector and tubing, then the easiest way to find what you need is to search by dimensions. Matching tubing thickness, material, and interior diameter will let you find the right material when buying vacuum tubing. You can often find it in longer sections that can be cut down to suit individual vehicles. Universal connectors still need to be sized, too, because they make them for many tube sizes.
If you are relatively new to DIY automotive work, you can make the process easier by relying on a part provider with online fitment. Specifications like your vehicle’s stock vacuum tube size and compatible in-stock recommendations are often easy to call up on a search online or in-store. Keep that in mind as you seek out places to stock up on all your DIY auto maintenance supplies, because it will make a lot of part procurement easier on you.
Keep that in mind as you start your search for new tubing and connectors. The sooner you get them ordered, the sooner you can get this job done.