One of the worst fears of every driver is pressing the brake pedal and nothing happens. Instead of stopping, the car just continues to barrel down the highway. It might sound like a scene from an action movie, but it could happen to you if your brake lines fail. Luckily, brake lines are made to last for years, and they typically do not fail on cars with under 100,000 miles. However, if your car is getting older, then it might be a good idea to have your mechanic inspect them for wear. Replacement of the lines is not a terribly expensive repair, and is well worth the money to make sure that your car will stop when you press the pedal.
What is a Brake Line And What Does It Do?
Your braking system is quite complex, although we will try to keep things as simple as possible. When you press your brake pedal, it forces brake fluid through the lines to your calipers. Most modern cars have a caliper at each wheel, while some older cars may have drums on the rear wheels or even at all four wheels.
Regardless, as the brake fluid flows through the lines, the pressure causes the brake caliper to squeeze closed. As it closes, your brake pads clamp down on the brake rotor that is attached to the back of your wheel. This causes the wheels to slow down, thus making your car stop. It is imperative that the pressure is present in the system because without it, there would not be enough force to squeeze the brakes closed.
The bulk of your brake lines are made of metal, and these metal brake lines are clipped to your car’s frame as they travel along underneath the car. Since your front wheels turn and move often, something more flexible is needed there. So, the last foot or so of line there is usually made of rubber. These aren’t just typical rubber hoses though. They are made of a synthetic reinforced rubber that can withstand up to 1,000 psi.
Your brake lines are so important because they allow the fluid to travel from your master cylinder to the rest of the brake system. If a line becomes damaged or develops a leak, then it will greatly affect your braking ability. It may even cause your brakes to fail completely if the leak is bad enough. This is why it is so important to keep your lines in proper working order and repair or replace them when necessary. If you’d rather just sell your car, Auto Wranglers buy cars all across the country regardless of their condition. Give us a call today if you want to sell yours.
What is the Replacement Cost For a Brake Line?
This can depend on several factors, but the average cost to replace a brake line is $173 to $285. This includes both parts and labor costs, although your auto repair shop could give you a more accurate quote based on the specific make and model of your vehicle.
Maybe you’re wondering how much does a brake line cost? The lines themselves are typically pretty inexpensive. A steel brake line on a Chevrolet Silverado or Nissan Altima, for example, might only cost you around $50. However, many people choose to upgrade to stainless steel lines. Stainless has many benefits over traditional steel lines.
A new stainless line might run you $100 or more, but the benefits are well worth it. The biggest benefit to stainless steel is that those lines will not rust like the traditional steel lines. Rusted brake lines and corrosion on steel lines can cause them to become clogged and lead to a blockage. Once this happens, fluid cannot flow through the line and your brakes will not work properly.
Brake hose replacement is typically not quite as expensive because the parts are often a little cheaper. Rubber hoses can be purchased for as little as $20 in some cases, so you will be able to get a hose replaced for under $100 in total. You can call your local automotive parts store, and they can give you the price for the specific part that you need.
Many people often ask whether it is possible to repair a brake line. Given the low pricing of new brake lines, brake line repair is usually not something that most professional mechanics will suggest. Brake line repair costs could even be higher than replacement in some cases. In most cases, complete replacement is the better option than spending labor time attempting to repair a bad line.
The labor costs associated with brake line replacement might seem a little high, but this is because more work is required than simply removing the old line and putting the new one in place. When a brake line is removed, air enters the system. Air is an enemy of a brake system because it compresses, unlike brake fluid which does not compress. To maintain the necessary pressure, no air must be present in the lines.
So, once the new line is placed into the system, the mechanic must bleed the system of all the air. Bleeders are located at each wheel, and all the air must be removed. Mechanics have special tools which attach to the calipers or wheel cylinders to remove the air from the system. Once the system has been bled, then the car will be ready to drive again.
You might still be wondering, “How much does it cost to replace a brake line for my specific car?” Here are some examples that you can use to get a better idea of how much you might be looking at for your vehicle:
- Chevy Silverado: $157 – $259
- Toyota Camry: $105 – $227
- Honda Accord: $124 – $248
- Ford Focus: $112 – $218
- Mercedes M-Class: $232 – $419
If these prices look like more money than you have, then why not just sell your car to Auto Wranglers and put money in your pocket instead. We’ll make you an instant cash offer to buy your car regardless of its condition, and we always provide free towing and pickup. It’s easy and quick to sell us your car!
Symptoms of a Failing Brake Line
So, how do you know if you have a line that might be going bad? There are a few things that you can watch and feel for as you drive your car that might point to a failing line. Knowing your car and how it drives is key to noticing problems as they arise.
If your brake pedal starts to feel soft or mushy, then one of your brake lines might be going bad. When it comes to your braking system, some symptoms may point to multiple problems. You could also have an issue with your master cylinder or it might be time for brake pad replacement if you’re sensing a soft pedal.
Another sign of a failing line is a fluid leak. If you notice fluid around your wheels or tires or even on the driveway under your vehicle, then you should get this repaired immediately. A leaking brake line is like a ticking time bomb, and it is only a matter of time until you experience detrimental problems!
Longer travel distance of your pedal may signal a leak in your lines. As you press the pedal, if fluid is leaking, then pressure never builds in the system. Your pedal will continue to depress because the fluid is leaking out of the system. This is something that you should have checked and repaired as soon as possible!
Often, mechanics may discover other problems with your vehicle while repairing the brakes. Similarly, allowing brake problems to go too far can cause other problems with your vehicle. Brake pads and wheel bearings are just a couple of examples. Wheel bearing replacement costs are a little more expensive, so make sure that you address any braking issues before it causes problems with your wheel bearings.
Replacement of your brake lines is not a terribly expensive repair, but it is absolutely critical to keeping your car safely on the road. If you notice any of the symptoms above, then have a mechanic inspect your car immediately. Perhaps you don’t have the money for an auto repair right away, but you do still have options. Auto Wranglers will buy your car for cash even with bad brakes. We’ll pay you cash so that you can buy yourself a new car that will reliably stop each time you press the pedal. We always provide free towing, so you’ll end up with the most money possible in your pocket.