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Can I Drive With a Broken Brake Line? – [Expert Opinion]

drive with broken brake line

A broken brake line is a common problem in old cars due to parts losing their integrity. That doesn’t mean your new car won’t face the same problem in the middle of the road someday. In times a small patch of rust can easily break a steel brake line without prior notice.

Can I drive with a broken brake line? Well, I don’t need to tell you how fatal it can be for you and others on the road while driving with a broken brake line. Even if you go slowly, you won’t be able to stop at traffic, which can be problematic from a legal standpoint.

The immediate solution would be to call roadside service and tow the car to an auto service station. But if you are one of the lucky ones having this problem in your garage, you can fix it yourself with the help of the right tools.

So lookout for the symptoms to avoid the hassle.

The first symptom of brake line leak would be the effortless brake pedal. If there is a leak on the line, you will feel less foot pressure to press the pedal, and the brake would need longer than usual to take effect. This happens due to a lack of adequate hydraulic fluid in the master cylinder.

If that’s the case, park your car immediately to a safe side and inspect under the car. You can also check the master cylinder to see the brake fluid level.

If you found a visible leak on the brake line and the fluid level is low, seek professional help. Don’t try to drive the car in heavy traffic.

Why Do Brake Lines Break?

Unless you are in some significant accident that tears the brake line apart, oxidation on the line might be the culprit. In simpler words, rust or corrosion weakens the integrity of the brake line and force to break under pressure.

In general, the brake lines you see in various automobiles, all are mostly from steel. Whenever you use the brake, the brake fluid travels to the calipers to clamp the rotor through hydraulic pressure.

That’s why brake lines need immense durability like steel.

While steel lines are perfectly capable of taking hydraulic pressure, it doesn’t play well with humidity. With the help of de-icer salt from the road and moisture from the atmosphere, the line could easily be a victim of oxidation.

Can You Fix a Broken Brake Line?

Fixing a broken brake line requires a few tools and replacement parts. Some of them are double flare tools, brake line union, tube cutter, brake cleaner, etc. If you have those in hand and prior experience rejoining the brake line, it’s fairly an easy task.

Here are some quick steps for fixing the brake line:

  • Park the car in a suitable position so you can access the brake line.
  • Inspect the origin of the leak on the brake line.
  • Clean the damaged area with a scrubber.
  • Take out as much of the broken portion of the brake line.
  • Measure how much replacement line you will need and unions to join them together.
  • Make at least double or bubble flare at each open end of the line.
  • Carefully tighten the union sleeves and check for leaks.

Are Brake Lines Easy to Replace?

In most cases replacing brake lines is an easy task as long as you have the right tools to do it. There’s a big difference between replacing a small portion of the line and the whole brake line. Replacing the entire brake line does require you to rebuild the whole channel.

Some pro tips if you have decided to fix the broken line by yourself. These tips will give you the upper edge and assurance of a job well done.

  • Get a good quality brake line flaring tool that has a bending and cutting kit.
  • Before making any changes, know about your existing brake lines like material, the perimeter of the line, and the type of tubing it has.
  • Try to replace as much as the bad section of your damaged brake line so that it won’t create a problem in the future.
  • Get the steel replacement brake line or whichever suits your vehicle model.
  • Apply lubricant on the lines before the flaring process.

Can leaking brake lines cause traction light to come on?

If you see the traction light is blinking or stays on, there’s likely a problem with your brakes. It could be your malfunctioning ABS, fault of traction control, and low brake fluid. Brake fluid gets low due to leaks in the brake lines.

Can you splice a brake line?

Splicing a brake line is the most common way to fix a damaged brake line. However, you should keep in mind that you need to use the appropriate flaring kit and double inverted unions for a secure fit.

As long as you put them together firmly, there will be no leaks under pressure.

Can you use a rubber hose for the brake line?

It’s never a good idea to put a rubber hose in place of the brake line. In general, the brake line holds high hydraulic pressure around 1000-2000 PSI when moving brake fluid to calipers.

On the other hand, rubber hoses can only sustain 100-200 PSI pressure, which is not enough to replace steel lines.