Brake Line Replacement, Cost, Signs
BRAKE LINE REPLACEMENT
BAD BRAKE LINE SIGNS, COST, CAUSE
If your vehicle’s brake lines are old, become cracked, or start to leak it might be time to replace the brake lines. Contact us to schedule a free quote with our mechanics if you suspect the need for brake line replacement. We have many financing options available should your car, truck, or SUV need extensive repairs or complete brake line replacement.
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We have automotive shops across the greater Houston area including one on Hwy 6 North and West Little York Rd; north Houston in the Champions Forrest area on Jones Rd near Grant; Porter (across the street from Kingwood) on TX-494 Loop; Montgomery on TX-105; and our oldest shop (open since 1994) on Kingsland Blvd and Mason Rd.
IMPORTANCE OF BRAKE LINES
Your vehicle’s braking system is a complex system that has many working parts. When those parts work together well, the car will stop quickly when you press the brake pedal. The brake lines are an important part of this process. When you step on the brake pedal, pressurized brake fluid is sent through metal tubes into the brakes on your wheels. The fluid engages the braking system, and the vehicle stops. Without the brake lines, the fluid cannot flow when you press the pedal, and the car can’t stop.
Changing brake pads or drums is important for maintenance, but brake lines should also be regularly inspected for signs of wear and tear. Come to our shop to get a free 35 point inspection when your car, truck, or SUV is ready for service.
Like all of the parts of your vehicle, your brake lines will eventually wear out and require replacement. As you care for your vehicle, make sure you know what to watch for that indicates your brake lines might need replacement.
BRAKE LINE TYPES
If you decide to replace your brake lines, you will need to choose between rubber and stainless-steel options. Here is a closer look at what each offers.
RUBBER BRAKE LINES
Most modern vehicles come standard with rubber brake lines. These brake lines have several layers of rubber around a fluid-resistant inner liner. It is a great option because of its flexibility, which allows the lines to run around tight corners and spaces. Rubber is also the more affordable of the two types of brake lines, which is sometimes an important consideration.
STAINLESS STEEL BRAKE LINES
Stainless steel brake lines have an inner hose surrounded by woven steel strands. They swell less than rubber lines when the pressure from brake fluid builds up inside, which means the brakes are more responsive with stainless steel lines. Stainless steel brake lines are more durable than rubber for a higher level of protection against debris that may fly up from the roadway. Stainless steel brake lines do cost more than rubber, but they provide several benefits worth considering in your decision.
HOW BRAKE LINES GO BAD
Brake lines, like most components of a vehicle, will wear out over time. Often the wear happens from the inside out. Over time, brake fluid will retain water, and that water can cause the metal inside brake lines to rust and corrode the tubes from the inside. Over time this can cause a hole to develop in the outside of the brake line, allowing the fluid to leak and causing a loss of brake pressure.
The same thing can happen with rubber hoses. With rubber hoses, the heat and moisture inside break down the rubber and weakens it. Often visible bulges or cracks are the first sign of a problem.
Brake lines can also fail by breaking altogether. This can happen from interior corrosion or from damage from exterior elements. Salt and road debris can cause this breakage.
Finally, brake lines can fail if they collapse. This reduces fluid pressure from that particular line and can lessen the action of your brakes. This will cause the vehicle to pull to one side when you attempt to stop.
SIGNS OF A BAD BRAKE LINE
A faulty brake line is a serious safety risk for your vehicle. Usually, there are signs that indicate the line is going bad. Here are some things to watch for:
- Brake Fluid Leaks
- Brake Fluid Light
- Pedal Depresses to the Ground
- Visible Moisture or Corrosion
- Spongy Feel to Brakes
- Brakes Not Working
- Rusty Brake Lines
Leaks under the car can be from a number of places. If the fluid is clear or an auburn brown color, it could be the brake fluid. Brake fluid will feel like a dry oil and smell like fish oil. Brake fluid leaks are a clear sign of brake line problems.
Low Brake Fluid Warning Light Illuminated. Your vehicle has an indicator light that will tell you when the brake fluid reserves are low. If this light comes on, then you most likely have a leak somewhere. While the leak may not be in the brake lines, this is a common source of these leaks.
Brake Pedal Pushes to Floorboard. Your brake pedal should not push all the way to the floorboard of your car. If it does, or if you have to wait a long time after depressing it for the car to actually stop, then you have a brake line problem. Do not drive, but have the car towed to a repair shop because the brake lines are close to failure at this point.
Moisture or Corrosion. If you inspect the brake lines and see visible moisture or corrosion, it may be because of leaks. Corrosion, regardless of the cause, increases the risk of brake line failure, so this is a sign that you need to replace the brake lines as soon as possible.
Spongy Brakes. Many drivers describe the feeling of pushing a sponge when they push their brakes. This is a sign of a problem with the brake lines. Specifically, spongy brakes can mean that the system has air bubbles inside the brake fluid due to a leak.
HOW MUCH TO REPLACE BRAKE LINES?
The cost of brake line replacement varies depending on the vehicle. Typically speaking, you will pay between $250 and $500 for one brake line. This is broken down between a cost for labor which is between about $40 and $50 and a cost for the parts, which is between about $150 and $275. Typically, brake lines need to be replaced around 100,000 miles.
COMPLETE BRAKE LINE REPLACEMENT VS SINGLE
Complete bake line replacement includes removing all four existing brake lines and replacing with new lines. The cost to replace all brake lines ranges from $1000 to $2000 depending on the make and model of the vehicle.