The safety of your truck largely depends on your braking system. Good brake lines improve your personal safety, the efficiency of your truck, and the road worthiness of your vehicle. This guide explains your options for truck brake line replacement.
What Is a Brake Line and How Do They Work?
All modern trucks use a hydraulic braking system. The brake line is the most crucial part, containing the fluid that transfers the force from the brake pedal to stopping power. The fluid in the braking system helps transfer this force. When a driver applies force to the brake pedal, the master cylinder multiplies this force and pushes fluid to the brake calipers, clamping the brake rotors. As a result, the car slows down. The brake lines are crucial because they act as the vessel that allows the brake fluid to transfer forces across the braking system.
There are two types of brake lines. One is a metal pipe, while the other is typically a rubber hose. The metal lines are used throughout the majority of the vehicle, while rubber hoses carry the fluid the last short distance from the body or frame of the truck to the brake caliper. The rubber hose’s flexibility is necessary to move with the wheel as the suspension goes up and down or to turn with the front wheels as they steer left and right. Occasionally, stainless steel braided brake lines may replace rubber hoses. These serve the same purpose, but are stronger, more resistant to damage and heat, and are more expensive.
How Can You Tell If Your Truck Brake Lines Are Bad?
If the fluid level in the master cylinder gets low, you must check your brake lines. The most common way of knowing brake lines are faulty is if they are leaking. The best way to check for faulty brake lines is by crawling underneath the truck and looking at the brake lines underneath. The best way to test the brake lines is to have someone else press down the brake pedal as you check the brake lines for leaks.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Faulty Brake Lines in Your Truck?
- Cracks on the outer cover of the brake line
- Corrosion on parts of the brake line
- Any swelling on the hose
- Any leaks from the hose
- Twists on the hose
- Expansion of the hose
- The brake warning light is on
- Being able to push the brake pedal to the floor
How Often Should You Replace Your Truck’s Brake Lines?
Brake lines are designed to last a vehicle’s lifetime. They are among the most durable parts of a car. However, weather conditions, particularly in northern areas that use salt to treat roads in winter, may lead to early failure of the brake lines. It is advisable to change brake lines after every 100,000 miles. However, always refer to your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to see how often they recommend you should replace your brake lines.
Is it Safe To Drive Your Truck With Faulty Brake Lines?
Driving with bad brake lines is bound to end in disaster. You will have difficulty stopping the vehicle because you will not have adequate braking power. You may end up harming others and yourself or damaging property. You should, therefore, not drive your truck with a faulty brake line. If you notice problems with the brake lines, always have them replaced immediately.
What Is the Cost of Repairing a Faulty Brake Line in Your Truck?
It will cost about $250 to $500 to replace the brake lines. Labor costs between $40 and $50 while the parts cost about $150 to $275.
To perform a complete overhaul of the brake lines is more expensive. It costs between $1,000 and $2,000.
Replacing a brake line is a relatively difficult task. With the right tools, you could replace it yourself. However, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified mechanic. You may damage the vehicle’s components and have to replace them, which will end up being more expensive. We recommend using the procedure outlined in the service or repair manual for your particular vehicle. Here is a general overview of what’s involved in the process.
Replacing Metal Brake Lines
- Remove the wheels for easier access to the brake lines.
- Cut the connection to the distribution blocks using a pair of side cutters. Cut the lines at the distribution block to make it easier to put a socket at the fitting and remove the socket from the distribution block.
- Disconnect the brake line from the master cylinder without twisting the lines or stripping the connection.
- Attach the new brake lines to the master cylinder.
- Connect the new lines to the distribution block.
- Fill the new brake lines with brake fluid and then bleed the brakes to remove all air.
- Since the process of changing the brake lines is very technical and tedious, always ask for a qualified mechanic for repairs.
Replacing Flexible Brake Hoses
- Remove your wheel for easy access.
- Disconnect the hose from the metal brake line.
- Remove any fasteners such as bolts or brackets along the hose.
- Remove the connection of the line to the brake caliper.
- Replace the old hose with a new one.
- Reinstall the retainer clip and connect the new hose to the metal brake line. Remember to install all of the bolts and brackets to their original positions.
- Refill the brake fluid and bleed the brakes to remove any air that may be trapped inside the brake lines.
Again, we recommend having a qualified mechanic replace your brake lines for you rather than doing it yourself. This prevents further losses on parts when you replace the truck’s brake lines yourself without the necessary experience.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.