How do you replace a faulty brake hose?
Your hydraulic brake hose plays a crucial role in delivering brake fluid to your wheel cylinder or brake caliper. And if it turns faulty, you could be looking at a compromised braking system.
In this article, we’ll first cover the basics of brake hose replacement, then tell you how much replacement costs, and later answer several other questions you may have about a brake hose replacement.
This Article Contains:
- How Do You Replace A Brake Hose?
- 7 FAQs About A Brake Hose Replacement
- Is The Brake Hose The Same As A Brake Line?
- What Are The Different Types Of Brake Hoses?
- How Does My Brake Hose Become Defective?
- What Symptoms Indicate That I Have A Defective Brake Hose?
- How Frequently Will I Need Brake Hose Replacements?
- How Much Does Brake Hose Replacement Cost?
- What’s An Easy Brake Hose Replacement Solution?
Let’s get started.
How Do You Replace A Brake Hose?
If your vehicle has a defective brake hose assembly, your car won’t be able to deliver pressurized hydraulic fluid to your wheel cylinder (for drum brakes) or brake caliper (for disc brakes).
However, replacing brake hoses is difficult as it requires specific tools and equipment you might not own.
For example, you’ll usually need:
- 15 mm line wrench (for the hose connection to your caliper)
- 9 mm wrench (for the bleeder valve)
- Hydraulic jack
- Jack stops
- Brake fluid bleeder
- Safety glasses
- Drain pan
- And more
That’s why it’s always best to have a professional mechanic do the replacement.
But how does a mechanic replace your brake hose?
Usually, a mechanic would:
1. Jack up the car and keep it elevated using jack stands.
2. Take off the wheel to access the brake hose assembly.
3. Loosen the banjo bolt at the end of the brake line with a suitable wrench.
4. Disconnect the brake hose from the wheel cylinder or brake caliper.
7. Bleed your vehicle’s hydraulic brakes using a bleeder to remove any air that might’ve seeped in.
8. Ensure that there are no leaks in the brake system.
9. Set the wheel back on the car.
10. Test drive your vehicle and verify that the braking system works as expected.
Next, let’s explore some common FAQs related to brake hose replacements.
7 FAQs About A Brake Hose Replacement
Here are answers to seven common questions you might have on brake hose replacements:
1. Is The Brake Hose The Same As A Brake Line?
Both the brake line and brake hose help transmit brake fluid.
However, there are some critical differences between the two.
The brake line (a.k.a. a brake pipe) is a rigid metallic tube that runs along the length of your vehicle. The tubing carries pressurized hydraulic fluid from the brake master cylinder to the wheel cylinder or brake caliper.
However, the brake line (brake pipe) doesn’t directly connect to the wheel cylinder or caliper.
This is because your metal brake line can easily break as your vehicle’s wheels turn sideways during steering or when they go up and down as you drive over speed bumps.
To avoid getting ruptured, your brake lines connect to brake hoses via banjo fittings.
The brake hose is a flexible tube that ultimately delivers the brake fluid to the wheel cylinder or brake caliper. Since this tubing is flexible, unlike your metal or steel brake line, it won’t break easily from the movements of your wheel and the vibration of your vehicle’s chassis.
In short, the metal brake line and brake hose are two parts working in tandem to deliver brake fluid.
2. What Are The Different Types Of Brake Hoses?
Usually, your brake hoses would fall under one of the following two categories:
- Rubber brake hose
- Stainless steel brake hose
A rubber hose is flexible and less expensive, works well across temperature ranges, and supports excellent braking performance.
On the flip side, a stainless hose has superior durability, resilience to physical damage, and the ability to withstand expansion under high pressures.
3. How Does My Brake Hose Become Defective?
Over time, your steel or rubber hose will develop issues, and if left unchecked, this can compromise braking performance. And when your brake system doesn’t operate properly, your road safety would be at risk.
But why does a hose become defective in the first place?
Your hydraulic brake hose can degrade and lose its effectiveness due to several factors:
Remember, your brake hose undergoes a lot of movement as it stays connected to the wheel cylinder or brake caliper.
There’s the lateral flexing of your hose as the vehicle steers and the up and down movement as the vehicle drives over uneven surfaces.
During these movements, the surface of your brake hose can rub against nearby vehicle components, which creates friction. And in turn, this friction can lead to wear, causing weak points to develop in the hose.
Gradually, your brake hose loses its structural integrity and stops being effective.
Brake hoses are constantly exposed to environmental elements like moisture.
And with this repeated exposure, this moisture can corrode your hose or parts of it. Corrosion is particularly evident in a rubber brake hose that uses metallic end fittings to connect to the brake line or brake pipe.
These end fittings can undergo corrosion from atmospheric moisture and degrade. With time, the corrosion advances to the point that the link between the brake hose and the brake line or pipe breaks apart.
When that happens, your brake system might fail, and you won’t be able to slow down your vehicle.
C. Brake Fluid Leak & Contamination
If your brake fluid is leaking for some reason, it can negatively affect your brake hose.
Brake fluid is corrosive and can severely damage your hoses, especially if you’re using a rubber hose. If there’s a brake fluid leak, the fluid comes in contact with your brake hose assembly, and the hose might chemically react and undergo degradation.
This situation is worsened if you have contaminated brake fluid.
Contaminated fluid can reach high temperatures from repeated braking, and this can cause the brake fluid to become more acidic. The more acidic your brake fluid is, the easier it is to damage the linings inside your rubber brake hose or corrode your stainless steel hose.
4. What Symptoms Indicate That I Have A Defective Brake Hose?
You might need a brake hose replacement if you notice any of these symptoms with your vehicle:
A. Spongy Brake Pedal
If your brake pedal seems spongy as you press down on it, there’s probably something wrong with your brake fluid delivery system — and this includes your brake hose.
A soft, mushy, or spongy brake pedal usually results from a low brake fluid level.
What does your brake hose have to do with that?
A ruptured or cracked brake hose can leak brake fluid, causing the fluid level to drop. As a result, the amount of braking force you can build and transmit also decreases, and the resistance exerted by the brake fluid on your brake pedal comes down.
Low brake fluid levels can also indicate that you need a brake line repair or brake line replacement.
In any case, consult with a mechanic to find out what’s wrong with your brake pedal.
B. Brake Light Warning Comes On
If there’s something wrong with your brake system’s functioning, the brake warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard can get activated.
This can happen if your hydraulic brake hose gets completely ruptured and cannot deliver brake fluid effectively to the wheel cylinder or brake caliper. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that something’s wrong with your brake hose assembly specifically.
The warning light coming on can also indicate issues with:
- An old brake line
- A brake caliper or wheel cylinder
- Your brake rotor
- Your brake booster
- The set of brake pads
- The master cylinder
- The brake fluid reservoir
- And so on
Anyhow, it’s best to approach a professional mechanic to do a thorough inspection and identify the underlying issue (for example, faulty brake hose, brake line failure, or so on).
The mechanic can then tell you whether you need a new hose, a new brake line or pipe, or if you need to replace some other brake component.
C. Excessive Brake Hose Wear
This particular symptom can be tricky to notice if you’re inexperienced with auto-repairs.
Essentially, after prolonged or heavy-duty use, the surface of your hydraulic brake hose will wear down. And if the wear is excessive, your brake hose will be susceptible to a brake fluid leak and deliver low braking performance.
A mechanic would inspect your hydraulic brake hose to look for:
- Hanging threads
- Broken torque stripe
- And more
If any of these visual signs of deterioration seem excessive, the mechanic will likely recommend a hose replacement.
5. How Frequently Will I Need Brake Hose Replacements?
Usually, a brake hose will last up to six years.
This timeline can vary depending on other factors as well, like:
- Driving habits
- Road conditions
- Hose material
- Hose manufacturer
- Vehicle maintenance frequency
- And more
Ideally, to prolong the life of your brake hoses and to detect brake hose issues before they turn severe, it’s recommended to have your vehicle inspected by professional mechanics every two years.
They can check for signs of swelling, rust, and other signs of damage, helping you stay proactive about brake hose maintenance.
6. How Much Does Brake Hose Replacement Cost?
The cost of replacing your hydraulic brake hose will vary depending on the make and model of your car, the type of hose your vehicle uses, its manufacturer, and where you live.
Generally, you can expect to pay between $150 and $360 for brake hose replacement, including labor costs. However, a high-performance or heavy-duty brake hose (for example, a braided hose) will cost more.
7. What’s An Easy Brake Hose Replacement Solution?
To replace your hoses, you can:
- Take your vehicle to an auto repair shop or dealership
- Have a mobile mechanic come to your driveway
Since a faulty brake hose can cause serious safety hazards while driving, it’s best to request a mobile mechanic’s assistance.
But where can you find a qualified and professional mobile mechanic?
Just get in touch with RepairSmith — an accessible and convenient mobile auto repair solution.
What makes RepairSmith great?
With RepairSmith, you get the following benefits:
- Convenient, online booking for all your repair services
- ASE-certified technicians will come to your driveway to perform vehicle inspection, repairs, and maintenance
- Competitive and upfront pricing
- Repairs using state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality replacement parts
- 12-month | 12,000-mile warranty on all repairs
For an accurate estimate of how much your brake hose replacement will cost, just fill this form.
Ensuring that your brake hose stays in top condition is vital to your road safety.
If you notice any issues that might indicate a defective brake hose, ask a mobile mechanic to come over and inspect your brake system to zero in on the underlying problem.
And if you need an accessible mobile repair solution, contact RepairSmith.
Our ASE-certified mechanics will come to your driveway to take care of all your vehicle repair needs!