Replacing brake lines can be fun if you follow the right procedure. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner DIYer or veteran mechanic. There is a lot you can do to change damaged brake lines and breathe new life into your brakes.
The braking system is an important component of the vehicle. Spotting and getting rid of issues affecting it should be a priority. As a sensitive driver, you need to take your car brakes for regular inspection.
When it starts to give off some negative signs, you should pay close attention. It may need either a repair or replacement.
How Long Does It Take To Replace Brake Lines
How long does it take to replace brake lines? It takes a maximum of three hours to replace your car’s brake lines. Sometimes, you can spend less time achieving this. It all depends on who is doing what.
For an expert mechanic with enough experience, you may be talking of two hours max. An experienced DIY’er with the requisite skills and tools can complete the process in less than 3 hours.
But if you want to undertake it yourself, you should be looking at somewhere around five to eight hours.
Puddle under the car, unresponsiveness, reduction in stopping power, and brake fluid leakage are some of the symptoms to tell your brake lines are in bad health.
Again, when your car barrels down the highway when you hit the brake pedal, the brake line might have developed some issues. It’s either possibly leaking or is covered with scales and rust.
What Are Brake Lines And How Do They Work?
The brake lines are also called the brake tubing or brake pipes. They are easy-to-maneuver and springy hoses on the hydraulic braking system of your car. They are generally made of braided nice, shiny stainless steel.
Some brake lines come as iron oxide brake lines. These are low-grade options. Brake lines are generally fitted to the car to reinforce the powers of the brakes to stop or slow down your car.
Besides, they also help to improve the effectiveness and performance of the brakes. An effective brake line will also help to prolong the brakes’ life.
Today, most auto models come with a hydraulic system. In this system, the master cylinder houses the brake fluids. So, when you push on the brake pedal, the brake lines transmit pressure to the master cylinder.
The cylinder in turn forces the fluid to travel along the brake lines to the wheel cylinders. When this happens, the brake pads and calipers will squeeze the rotating rotors. This will cause the car to slow down or stop.
The system is the same if your vehicle uses drum brakes in place of brake rotors. The only difference is that the wheel cylinder will force the brake shoes to slow down your wheel.
There’s something to note. Some have mistaken the rubber brake hose with a metal brake line. Even though they are almost the same, there’s a little difference.
While the brake hose is a flexible rubber hose, the metal brake line can be a rigid tube. Apart from that, the brake line connects to your car fuel tank.
However, the brake hose is responsible for joining the hard brake line to the moving parts of your car brakes. For instance, the brake calipers connect to the brake line with the help of the brake hose.
The flexible stainless steel brake lines last longer and can withstand more pressure than the rubber hose.
Alternatively, you can also choose to go for a flexible brake line in place of the braided steel brake line. It’s left to you to decide. But if the line comes with a hole borne in it, you’ll have a big risk on your hand.
Brake fluid glows perfectly if they pass through the rigid metal brake line tubes.
How To Replace Failing Brake Lines
Now you know what the brake line is and it works. The next thing is to take a few minutes to highlight how to replace the brake lines if they fail or become rusty. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the front or rear brake lines. The procedure is the same.
- Flare nut wrench
- Soft, clean cloth
- Pipe bender
- Vice grips
- 3/16” brake line
- Brake line cutter
- Flaring kit
Step-By-Step Guide To Replace Brake Lines
- Pull over in a safe and level surface
- Jack up the car
- Remove the car wheel
- Place a drain pan under the car to collect the escaping brake fluid
- Loosen the nut that holds down the brake hose
- Disconnect the brake line from the joint at the master cylinder
To unplug a brake line from your car’s braking system, start by getting a flare nut wrench. This five-side open-ended tool works perfectly due to its sufficient teeth. Slip the wrench over the brake line and guide it to glide down to the nut. Turn the wrench in a counter-clockwise direction while applying pressure.
- Using the pliers, take away the retaining clip
- Cut the old brake line to size
- Apply penetrating lubricant (or sometimes heat) if the line isn’t loosening due to rust
- Start to bend (at about 45 degrees) and debur
The next step is to start to flare, using the flaring tools. Flaring involves filing down the coarse surfaces on the line. This stage involves a few steps:
- Insert the line into the vice hole
- Stick out the brake line from the vice
- Line up and lay the adapter to the right of the brake line
- Tighten the vice bolt and bolt snug
- Hold the brake line with the grooves in the vice. Don’t allow the line to slip along the axis.
- Turn the yoke until the yoke’s screw can’t turn and the adapter reaches the vice
- Undo the adapter
*Make sure you install the fittings before flaring.* In the same way, you should flare the new brake line properly before you install it on your brakes.
- Plug the joint box hole
- Clean any leaking brake fluid to prevent
- Lower your car jack and test run
After completing the process, your brake system should start working normally. But your local mechanic can conduct a scan on the car to ascertain the performance level of the new brake lines.
Are Brake Lines Easy To Replace?
Yes, brake lines are pretty easy to replace. I’ll say that it all boils down to how knowledgeable you’re with fixing braking issues. While it’s pretty simple to replace brake lines, it will be better to leave a few things to a certified mechanic.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Car Brake Line?
Buying and installing a brake line is amazingly cheap and easy. On average, you can manage to replace your car brake line for something in the range of $100-300. This estimate includes the labor cost which stands around $50.
This depends on your local mechanic and state of residence. If you employ a DIY method, you will be talking about $80 or less. The number of brake lines you’re replacing will tell how much you will need to spare.
In the end, make sure you go for a mechanic that boasts ASE certification. They must also use only premium replacement parts and also offer a service warranty. You don’t want to be replacing this part too often.
If you get an about 12,000-mile or 12-month warranty, it won’t be a bad option. The other thing you should consider is before opting for a mechanic is competitive pricing.
Vehicle Models And Cost Of Replacing Their Brake Lines
You should consider the model and make of your car when estimating how much it’ll cost you to replace the brake lines.
If you’re a Chevy Silverado enthusiast, make sure you budget about $260. While labor will take about $150, the replacement brake line may gulp about $90.
Nissan Altima can be around $140-$250 plus labor cost. Toyota Camry goes for $110 – $230. Honda Accord stands at $130 – $250. Replacing the brake lines for Ford Focus, your expenses won’t exceed between $120 and $230.
However, Mercedes M-Class costs the highest to replace its brake lines. Owners will need to budget between $240 and $420.
Every driver should dread a failing braking system. In fact, it should bother you when you press down on the brake pedal and there’s no sign your car will slow down or stop. The brake lines are always a culprit. Sometimes, the warped brake rotors, worn brake pads or damaged brake calipers can trigger a few signs.
From my explanation here, it’s clear that replacing your car’s brake lines is no rocket science. It won’t take you forever to fix bad brake lines. Plus, the cost is also minimal. The first thing is to look out for the signs that indicate that the brake lines are weak. Then, you will need to take the brakes for a diagnosis.
You can save yourself a lot of money in fixing the system’s brake lines if you can follow the steps above. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to replace the brake lines quite often. They are made to last for at least the 100,000-mile mark. You may need to change the brake line if your car is ageing.