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Best way to tape up a leaky brake line

edited September 2011 in Repair and Maintenance
My 93 year old dad has a 97 Dodge neon with a leaky brake line. He says it's the line that goes back to the passenger side back wheel and he feels that he can just tape up the leak. I think he is crazy, but he says the tape will be fine and work just fine since he doesn't drive the car that much. So my question is what would be the best type of tape for him to use?

Since I know this won't work, what is involved in fixing a brake line with a leak?


  • edited September 2011
    There is NO safe way to 'tape up' a leaky brake line, you're 100% correct. But it shouldn't be that expensive to have a brake shop replace the bad portion of the line. The pedestrian or other driver this keeps him from killing will thank you for it.
  • brm7675

    Is your father chronically depressed?
    Has he expressed suicidal thoughts?

    I ask these questions because someone who believes that a hydraulic brake line can be repaired with tape is...not someone who values his own life or the lives of his passsengers and other folks whom he encounters on the road.

    As texases stated, you CANNOT repair hydraulic brake lines with tape.
    Perhaps it is time to take Dad's car keys (both sets!) away from him if his judgment is so impaired that he believes this to be an acceptable way of repairing his leaking brake lines.

    No, I am not kidding about taking his car keys away.
    How would you feel if he decides to overrule you and do his cheapo, sure-to-fail repair job, and then winds up killing some people when his brakes fail? Even if he "doesn't drive the car that much", any attempt to put this car back on the road with leaking brake lines that have been "repaired" in this manner is sure to end in tragedy.
  • edited September 2011
    Taking the keys away is not an option, my dad is very stubborn and drives at night when he can't see too well and is now trying to figure out how to tape up the brake line. My sister is going to try and convince him not to, but my dad comes from a generation when you fix things yourself with some sweat and tape. I wasn't sure if the whole brake lines needed to be replaced when a leak happens or if they can just fix the area of the leak.
  • edited September 2011
    Well, my dad was from that generation (edit - I'm sorry, I missed the fact that he's 93, bless him), and fixing a brake line with tape was NEVER an option for him.
  • Your 93 year old father lived through the depression. My parents went through the great depression and this was the way they reasoned. Fortunately, my dad did have a trusted mechanic keep his automobile in good repair so he would never tape up a brake line. However, my dad did have a lawnmower that if it stopped when the engine was hot, it would have to cool down for about an hour before it would restart. I thought about fixing it for him, but my mother said not to do it. My dad was in his late 80s and she said that when the mower stopped, this gave him a break.
    At any rate, if I were in your position, I would just take the car out and have the brake line fixed.
  • Can you get your dad to sit with you and review this thread?

    As everyone has said, a brake line cannot be safely repaired with tape. You cannot contain this hydraulic fluid under hydraulic pressure, which is exactly what a brake line is, with tape. And even if you could, a leak suggests that the line is in need of's failed and will leak again in another spot.

    The good news is that replacing a brake line is not an expensive job. And it'll give the mechanic a chance to check the other lines as well.

    Dad, listen to your young one. Have the line replaced. It's worth the few bucks it'll cost.
  • If you can't talk dad into fixing this problem disable the car, and when it won't start, tell dad you don't have time but you'll have a "friend" take a look at it. Then have it towed to a garage and have the brakes fixed. And while they are at it have them check the rest of the car over and bring it up to good repair.

    Even if he doesn't drive much a car that can't stop is much worst than a car that won't start.

  • I know there is no exact way of knowing what the cost might be, but ballpark wise, to replace a brake line we are looking..

    0-50 dollars
    50-100 dollars
    100-150 dollars
    more then 150 dollars?

    Dad won't have any monies till his SS hits the bank on the 3rd of next month, so it will have to sit till then.
  • The problem is, if it's a rusted line that's leaking (most likely), it could be rusted in many places that aren't quite leaking yet, and the shop will want to replace all the rusted line (quite justifialbly, in my opinion). So If I had to guess, it'll be more than $150.
  • It'll be less than an hours shop time. Most shops around here charge a minimum 1 hour, so I'm guessing it'll be $100-150. The line itself should be less than $25.

    The most important thing about this is the other lines will be checked. Brake lines, like all things elastomeric, get old and fail. One leak on a vehicle this suggests that the other lines might be getting old too. All four lines could be replaced and the entire system bled in one hour's shop time.
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