How Do You Inspect Your Car's Brake Lines For Wear And Tear?

Automotive Blog

Your car's brake lines carry brake fluid from the braking cylinder to your brake pads, which causes them to press down against your wheels. Without brake lines, your entire braking system would be unable to function correctly. The vast majority of brake lines are made from multiple layers of rubber, which means they degrade over time — sunlight and moisture are their main threats. Because of the fact that they deteriorate and their importance in keeping you safe, it's important to inspect them regularly. Thankfully, the process is easy. To find out what to look for, read on.

Brake Tubes

Several of your car's brake lines run through steel brake tubes. Their purpose is to protect the brake lines from being exposed to extreme heat or from being abraded by your car's suspension system. Unfortunately, the fact that the tubes conceal the brake lines underneath means that you can't easily check the condition of the lines. However, some signs of brake line deterioration will show up on the tubes. It's a good idea to start your inspection by looking at your brake tubes first.

Check your brake tubes for any signs of rust or corrosion. If water on the ground splashes up onto the tubes (especially if it's mixed with road salt), it can cause rust to form. Rusted brake tubes don't adequately protect your brake lines, so they'll need to be replaced.

Corrosion can also be a sign that the tube underneath is leaking — brake fluid can contain small amounts of water that also cause rust to develop. If the brake tubes aren't rusted, however, then there is unlikely to be anything wrong with them — they're rarely damaged by anything else.

Brake Lines

Next, move onto the brake lines that aren't covered by tubes. Touch the surface of the lines and feel their texture. They should be entirely smooth. If you can feel small cracks or pits in your brake lines, it's a sign that they're beginning to degrade. Since brake lines are made of multiple layers of rubber, it can take some time before degradation on the outside makes its way into the main line that carries your brake fluid. However, it's still a sign that you need to have them replaced soon.

You'll also need to have a friend sit in your driver's seat and push in the brake pedal. This causes fluid to rush through your brake lines. They should slightly expand, but you shouldn't see any noticeable bulging. If you notice a bulge in the brake line, this can be an indicator that one of the inner portions has failed — it's allowing some of the brake fluid to escape outside. This makes the line more likely to burst when you use your brakes.


Finally, check the connections between sets of brake lines. They should be entirely free of rust. They're subjected to high pressures just like the rest of your braking system, and they're more likely to fail when they're weakened by rust.

If you notice anything wrong with your brake lines, have them replaced at an automotive repair shop. Brake lines are very inexpensive, and the process to replace them can be done quickly. If your brake tubes are rusted, on the other hand, the process takes longer — they need to be carefully shaped and installed by a mechanic. It's still important to have them replaced in order to ensure that your car's brakes aren't subjected to becoming damaged.

To learn more about brake repairs, contact a mechanic in your area offering automotive repair services.


19 February 2020

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