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Your Brake line (brake hose) worn out? » Read more about common malfunctions • Repair • Replacement manual
Supplying pressure with the brake hose
The brake hose is a small, though important component attached to the brake caliper. It connects the caliper with the brake line. Read everything there is to know about the brake hose in this article.
Brake pressure for optimal effect
The brake system of a car is hydraulic. A closed circuit filled with brake fluid transmits pressure through the entire brake system, making use of the fact that liquids cannot be compressed. The comparatively low pressure of the brake pedal is amplified with help of lever, power brake and hydraulic application between brake master cylinder and caliper. Therefore, tightness is of the utmost importance for a brake system.
The tightness of a brake system makes the use of rigid pipes particularly efficient. It takes very strong forces to burst a copper pipe. The brake pressure comes nowhere near this. Nevertheless the brake pressure must be transmitted to the brake caliper one way or the other. Calipers are sitting right next to the wheel. Rear wheels and calipers are permanently moving up and down. Front wheels have the additional steering movement. Brake hoses enable a reliable and flexible connection between brake lines and brake calipers.
Construction of a brake hose
A brake hose consists of an internal, sturdy fabric, surrounded by a thick rubber mantle. The rubber layer ideally supplies the required flexibility for the brake pressure. Furthermore, brake hoses installed ex works are relatively cheap. Nevertheless, rubber has several disadvantages.
Rubber hoses are sensitive
Rubber brake hoses generally last the first years of the car. Nevertheless, at the moment of the first tyre change, it is recommended to check the brake hoses. Thrown-up objects can always cause fissures, compromising the stability of the hose. Furthermore, the internal fabric membrane could rupture. This is soon felt by a considerably impaired braking power. Often, the brake only functions on one side. The car pulls into the direction where the brake is still intact. A ballooning brake hose shows the damaged internal membrane. When rubber brake hoses are brittle or damaged, they should be replaced immediately. Replacement is not very difficult, although some expertise is required.
While you're at it...
There is nothing against replacing a worn brake hose by a new rubber component. However, the accessory trade now offers a solution with additional reliability: the steel-flex hoses. These high-grade brake hoses have an additional layer of braided stainless steel, not only keeping the internal rubber layer together but also effectively protecting the entire hose against external damage. All in all, the installation of steel-flex hoses is a simple, quick and effective solution for making your car safe – meanwhile enhancing its value.
When the hose has to be replaced
When the brake hose is replaced, the brake oil needs to be checked at least. Its change is recommended if this hasn't been done recently. A brake fluid tester checking the percentage of water in the oil gives certainty. After replacement of the hoses the entire brake system must be vented.
Branded products for safety-relevant parts
Brake hoses, whether made of rubber or steel-flex, are safety-relevant components. Choosing cheap products is therefore a taboo. A new branded rubber hose is sufficiently cheap, making the choice for a product of doubtful origin not worthwhile. The upgrade to steel-flex hoses on the other hand is a real investment. For these high-grade components, you may expect a price of 20 – 40 euro (£18 – £36) per hose. The additional expense nevertheless pays itself back with a clear plus in the safety area.