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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Inspecting and Replacing Brake Lines
By Mike Bumbeck/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time120 minutes
120 minutes
Get in Line
While most of the line that contains the brake fluid is made of steel, there needs to be a flexible section that goes from the body of the vehicle to the wheels. This section is referred to as the brake hose, or hydraulic brake hose. As the suspension and wheel moves round and round and up and down, so must the brake hose from the caliper or drum-backing plate to the body. It is of vital importance that these flexible brake hoses are regularly inspected and replaced. This is especially true if you do brake-work yourself.

It's easy to replace the pads or other brake components and neglect the brake hoses. Good enough is never a good call when it comes to brakes. Cracked, dry, corroded, or flaking hydraulic brake hoses should immediately be replaced. Another common mistake is to let the calipers hang by the hoses as work is done on the brakes or front end. This can stress the hose where it joins with the steel ends and cause potential rupture problems down the road. The safest approach to working on brakes is to completely inspect everything, and make certain all the components of the entire system are working as they should. Hydraulic brake hoses are but one part of the braking system, yet they should never be overlooked.
Step 1 - Remove the wheel to gain access to the brake hose.
Remove Wheel to Gain Access to Brake Hose
Step 2 - Spray a bit of penetrating lubricant where the hose meets the brake caliper or drum, and on any rusty clips. Go have lunch.
Spray Penetrating Lubricant Where Hose Meets Brake Caliper or Drum, and Any Rusty Clips
Step 3 - Always use a flare nut or "line wrench" when working on brake lines and brake fittings.
Use a Flare Nut or "Line Wrench" when Working on Brake Lines and Brake Fittings
Step 4 - Use the line wrench and a second wrench to loosen and remove fittings.
Use Line Wrench and Second Wrench to Loosen and Remove Fitting
Step 5 - Cap off any brake lines to stop leaking brake fluid. Brake fluid will damage paint. Flush painted surfaces immediately with cool water if brake fluid contact occurs.
Cap Brake Lines to Stop Leaking Brake Fluid;  Flush Painted Surfaces Immediately
Step 6 - Remove any clips and fasteners holding the hose to struts or body mounts.
Remove Clips and Fasteners Holding Hose to Struts or Body Mounts
Step 7 - Install a new brake hose with new copper washers if required. Always use a line wrench to tighten brake hose fittings.
Install New Brake Hose with New Copper Washers if Required
Step 8 - Replace any lost brake fluid. Bleed the brake system of any air. Remove grease and crud from hoses and the disc surface with a brake parts cleaner. Test brakes before driving.

Replace Lost Brake Fluid; Bleed Brake System of Air; Remove Grease and Crud from Hoses and Disc Surface
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