Hot tearing, or hot cracking, is one of the most severe solidification defects commonly encountered during casting. It is such a complicated phenomenon that a full understanding is still not yet achieved, though it has been extensively investigated for decades. Most contributions are still based on qualitative characterisations. The purpose of this work is to develop a method that can quantitatively evaluate and investigate hot tearing behaviour. The principle is based on contraction stress/force measurements. The measured contraction force has been proven to be able to evaluate the hot tearing susceptibility as a more straightforward and quantitative index. By analyzing the contraction force curve, information can be obtained for both the initiation and the propagation of the hot tear. With this method, the influence of mould temperature and Al content on hot tearing behaviour of Mg-Al binary alloys has been investigated. The contraction force curves also indicate that the liquid refilling plays an important role during the hot crack propagation. With a lower cooling rate and higher onset temperature of hot tear, the remaining liquid is more favourable to refill the initiated hot crack, and consequently interrupts the propagation of cracks or possibly completely heals the cracks.