How Brake Lines Work

Brake Line Tools

A good set of wrenches is essential for most basic brake line repair.­
A good set of wrenches is essential for most basic brake line repair.­
©­iStockphoto/­Jan Paul Schrage


Because brake lines carry brake fluid from the master cylinder to various other brake parts, it's important to keep them in good repair. Brake lines should never look frayed, cracked, brittle or corroded. Sometimes brake lines can become worn from rubbing against metal parts of the car (or even another brake part) so pay particular attention to the areas of the line that come in contact with other components. Any leaks should be dealt with immediately -- before the car is driven. If you can't fix the leak on your own and without driving the car, you should have the car towed to a licensed repair shop. Malfunctioning brake lines are nothing to fool around with.

Brake line tools are generally easy to find. In fact, you may already have one of the essential tools required for a brake line repair in your tool box. For basic brake line work, one of the tools you'll need is a set of wrenches. Actually, you'll need two wrenches to replace a brake line. That's because most brake line connections use a hexagonal fitting on each side. You'll need to loosen (and tighten) both of these fittings at the same time -- therefore, you'll need two wrenches.

A tube cutter is another handy brake line tool. If you have a small tube cutter, you can buy metal brake lines and cut them down to the size you need. A tube cutter quickly and evenly cuts through the line, making the cut more exact than it would be if you were using say, a hacksaw. It also keeps the end of the cut clean, with minimal fraying. If there is some fraying or jagged material on the edge of the new cut, a small metal file can easily smooth it out.

If you're doing more complicated work on your brake lines, like flaring -- which we'll discuss on the next page -- you'll need more tools. Read the next page to learn what flaring your brake lines means, why it's done and the tools you'll need to do it.