If you’re driving and your brake pedal suddenly goes to the floor, there’s a good chance your brake line has broken. Don’t go pushing the panic button quite yet!
Fortunately, as a quick fix, you can locate the leaking area, remove it and use a lubricant to insert a new tubing.
Whether you’re on a long trip or going on errands, you’ll only want to make a stop when you need it most. If your brakes aren’t working, don’t worry. This article highlights steps you can take to fix a brake line.
How Do You Temporarily Fix a Brake Line?
If you’re a DIY mechanic and your vehicle’s brake line leaks or is corroded, you can fix the brake line on your own temporarily. This is important because a damaged brake line can put you at accident risk.
Before proceeding, remember that the temporary fixes are only for short periods until you get the brake line repaired.
Also, if you damage the ABS unit in your vehicle while trying to fix it, it can cost you a lot to replace it. Below are the ways you can temporarily fix a brake line;
- Locate the broken part of the brake line and mark it.
- Cut out the broken section of the brake line and about 1/4 inch on each side.
- Clean the remaining part of the line using brake parts cleaner or alcohol. This will help ensure that your temporary fix adheres appropriately to the existing pipe.
- Slide a piece of copper tubing over one end of your coupler to fit snugly inside. You can use silicone lubricant here if needed.
Can You Use a Rubber Hose for the Brake Line?
Generally, you cannot use rubber hoses since they are unsuitable for brake systems. Keep in mind that they do not withstand heat and pressure well.
The automotive brake lines are usually metallic for two reasons. One is metal lines are more durable than rubber ones, which means they last longer. The other is that they are thicker to handle more pressure than a rubber hose can.
If you used a rubber hose for your brake line, you might have problems with it becoming too soft and eventually breaking.
This could lead to leaks or the inability to stop your car in an emergency. It’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to brakes!
Most people think only cars have metal lines, but many trucks and SUVs have them. So if you’re wondering if this is something your vehicle should have or not, check with an expert first.
What Happens When a Brake Line Breaks?
A brake line is the part of a vehicle that connects the bake to the master cylinder. When a brake line breaks, you will notice significant changes in how your vehicle responds when you push the brakes. The following three things happen when a brake line breaks:
- Leakage: A break in a brake line will cause a leak of brake fluid, and the absence of this fluid causes the brakes to stop working.
- Loss of pressure: Brake lines carry high pressure to transmit force from the brake pedal to the wheels with as little loss as possible. A break in a brake line means that this pressure cannot be maintained, and subsequently, less force is transmitted through the lines to the wheels and brakes.
- The absence of hydraulic power help: Brake lines are full of hydraulic fluid and deliver hydraulic power to help your braking pedal. If they are broken, your vehicle will lose this critical feature, and it may become difficult or even impossible for you to stop your car correctly.
Can You Patch a Leaking Brake Line?
The short answer is yes; you can patch a leaky brake line. However, doing so may not be the best option for your vehicle.
Sometimes you’ll find that a brake line leaks because the outer casing has been rubbed through. You can patch it temporarily with duct tape or electrical tape.
However, that’s only a temporary fix until you can install a new line.
The real danger of brake line leaks is corrosion. Driving your car is no longer safe if the inner tubing with the brake fluid rusts.
If you notice rusty-looking liquid dripping from under your vehicle and pooling on the ground, the problem may be brake fluid.
It is possible to repair leaking brake lines by replacing them with flexible aftermarket lines. However, replacing them with factory-made lines, which are rigid and bend for optimum safety and performance, is better. The best solution is to replace all four of your lines at once. This ensures no braking power imbalance caused by each line’s different ages.
What is the Cost of Fixing a Broken Brake Line?
The cost of fixing a broken brake line varies depending on the location of the break. If your car’s brake line breaks, you will probably notice a puddle of fluid under your vehicle.
Brake lines are responsible for delivering brake fluid to the brakes. Therefore if it leaks, you must have it fixed as soon as possible.
The average cost of repairing a broken brake line can be $200 or $300 per axle, with the overall cost ranging from $400 to $700. Automotive brakes are just as important as any other part of your vehicle.
It is imperative to keep up with routine maintenance on your brake system. This will ensure your vehicle remains safe for you and your family.
Fortunately, most insurance policies cover the repair, depending on your specific plan and deductible.
What Causes the Brake Lines to Break?
The brake lines on your vehicle are exposed to the elements, so it’s no surprise they would eventually fail. However, you can do a few things to extend the life of your brake lines and prevent them from falling too early.
Brake lines are steel and covered in a thin rubber coating known as braided steel sleeving—rust forms underneath the steel when the rubber coating cracks and breaks down. Eventually, enough rust forms, hence the line break and leaks brake fluid.
How Can You Prevent Brake Lines from Breaking?
The best way to preserve your brake lines is to clean your car. If you live in a region with salt or sand on the roads during the winter months, make sure you keep your car washed regularly during those winter months.
Salt and sand are abrasive, so they can speed up corrosion and break down the rubber coating quicker than expected.
Next, make sure you have any leaks repaired as soon as possible. If you see any signs of leaking under your car (puddles of brake fluid), take it in for service as quickly as possible to fix it.
Can You Drive With a Leaking Brake Line?
The severity of the leak will also determine whether you can drive your car. A tiny pinhole leak that lets a few drops of fluid out won’t affect your braking power initially.
However, you’ll gradually lose braking ability as more fluid drains out.
While you can drive with a broken brake line, we certainly don’t recommend it. You want to keep up your braking power while on the road. Therefore, your entire system is at risk if even one of your lines doesn’t work.
Pull over if you drive with a broken brake line and notice leaking fluid beneath your vehicle or the brakes are excessively soft or spongy.
You might make an emergency repair if there’s a significant leak in an easy-to-access part of the system, like the metal pipe between the master cylinder.
Go ahead and clamp off the leak with a metal hose clamp. However, this is only a temporary fix. You should get to a mechanic as soon as possible so they can replace or repair the damaged parts.
See Also: Why Does My Brake Pedal Squeak?
Hopefully, you understand how to fix a brake line quickly. The first step is to locate the affected spot and fix it. Besides, you can patch it if that’s the only option present.
However, replacing any possible issues is the best way to prevent them. The cost of fixing the brake is not that much, though it depends on the leak’s location.
Consider cleaning your car regularly if you live in a salty or sandy area. Doing so will prevent leaks due to rust.