Brake Lines: What they do and how to service them
Brake lines are one of the most important components of your vehicle’s safety operations. From saving you from collisions on the road to just being a fundamental component of all vehicles, brake lines should be taken care of on a regular basis to ensure that they are reliable and that you can depend on them when you need them the most.
Originally published in 2013 and updated in 2020 to reflect technical and industry changes, our auto experts at Christian Brothers Automotive explain what brake lines are, how they operate, when to service them, and so much more.
WHAT ARE BRAKE LINES?
Of course, we need to start with the basics: What are the brake lines?
Brakes are designed to keep you and your car safe on the road. In the case that your brakes fail, or are unreliable, you, your vehicle, and others on the road can be in serious trouble.
The brake lines play a key role in your vehicle’s overall brake performance and function, allowing your car to turn pedal pressure into stopping power. Most cars feature hydraulic brake systems, which use fluid to transfer the pressure applied by your foot to the brake. This is where your brake lines come into play.
The brake fluid is stored in the master cylinder and is transferred from the master cylinder to the brake calipers via the brake lines when the brake pedal is pushed. This pressure forces the calipers to clamp down on the brakes and, in turn, slow and stop the car.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR BRAKE LINES ARE BAD?
If you notice any leaking fluid, it could be a sign of bad brake lines. Your brake lines should last the life of your car. However, debris or rough driving could cause cracks or holes in the lines.
Some common signs of brake line issues include:
Leaking Brake Fluid – Generally speaking, any leak from your vehicle should be a cause for concern. Since each liquid in your vehicle is a different color, it is best to examine the leak closely. Brake fluid is usually clear in color, although it may be brown if it is old and dirty. If you touch the fluid, it should have a dry oil feel to it. The other way to see if the leak is coming from your brake lines is by smelling the liquid. Brake fluid’s odor is usually compared to fish or castor oil. If you notice any of these signs, it’s most likely brake fluid.
Brake Light Comes On – If your brake line needs to be replaced, your car should let you know. In many cases, your brake light will appear on your dashboard if there is a problem. Whether your lines are going bad or you’re low on brake fluid, the light will give you a warning before serious damage occurs. If your brake light comes on, have it inspected by a professional.
You Can Push The Brake to the Ground – If you ever feel that you can push your brake pedal all the way down to the floorboard, with little to no resistance, your brake system is having issues. If this occurs, you should have your vehicle towed to a local shop and inspected.
Visible Distress – If you think you have an issue with your brake lines, and you know your way around a car, you can inspect it yourself. If you see any signs of moisture, corrosion, or damage you should have your vehicle’s brake lines replaced.
The easiest way to check for a brake line leak is by holding a flashlight under your car. If you notice drips on the inside of your wheels, rust spots along the lines, or any wet or dry fluid streaks, you could be dealing with a brake line leak.
- For more information, read our blog on brake system warning signs.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOUR BRAKE LINES ARE LEAKING?
If your brake lines are cracked, broken, frayed, brittle or corroded, call the professional experts at Christian Brothers Automotive. One of our ASE-certified technicians will take a look and determine whether your brake lines are the problem.
If the brake lines are damaged, our skilled mechanics will remove the old line, put a new brake line in place and refill new brake fluid into the system.
If you notice a problem with your car’s brake lines (or any part of the brake system), call Christian Brothers Automotive to schedule a brake inspection. It is imperative to ensure your brakes are routinely inspected if any issues arise to protect you and your family – as well as others on the road.
HOW CAN I REPAIR DAMAGED BRAKE LINES?
Just like above, if your brake lines are cracked, broken, frayed, brittle, or have other signs of corrosion, let your local mechanic at Christian Brothers perform an inspection right away. A skilled technician will be able to determine where the damage has occurred while being able to provide a solution that is meant to last.
Christian Brothers Automotive Brake Services
At Christian Brothers Automotive, we pride ourselves on providing reliable and durable solutions for you and your vehicle. From a brake line fluid top off to a full brake line replacement, our expert auto mechanics have the knowledge, experience, and proper tools to give you superior automotive care service whenever you need it most.
If you’re not sure what your car may need, bring it in! We are proud to offer complimentary courtesy inspections for every vehicle that enters our shop. During our inspection, we will bring any maintenance issues to your attention, while providing educated solutions for those issues before they become costly and lead to something more serious.
We offer courtesy inspections to take the stress of your regular vehicle maintenance off of your shoulders. Simply schedule an appointment, and we’ll do the rest.
Ready to schedule your courtesy inspection? Click here to locate your nearest Christian Brothers Automotive shop!