1997 Honda Civic rotting fuel and brake lines


#1

How urgent of a problem is this? I have a 97 Honda Civic with 233K miles on it. I recently had my state inspection done and the mechanic noted my fuel and brake lines were starting to rot, but not leak. Is this a problem that needs immediate addressing, or can I wait until “symptoms” start to appear. Given the car’s age, what other car parts might also be rotting that I would want to consider? Is it time to purchase a new vehicle?


#2

Fuel and brake line are mostly metal and don’t “rot”! Only the flexble parts are not metal, and they are not too expensive to replace. If your car has been operated in an extremely corrosive environment, the metal lines may have rust on them at that mileage. I would take the car to a good mechanic for a proper evalution, and replace whatever was necessary.

If the rest of the car is in good condition, this repair, if necessary, is worth doing. Honda Civics are very durable and many have gone much further with complete reliablilty. Rubber bushings in the suspension gradually deterioate, and are easy to replace.

If the state inspection “mechanic” had found your car to be dangerous, he would have immediately failed it and ordered you to have it fixed!!

Based on his statements you obviously need a professional assessment, and proceed from there. Your car is not a death trap, and even a brake fuid leak will not incapacitate the brakes completely; the design allows for partial braking in such a case. A fuel leak will be immediately apparent by a strong gasoline smell.

Good luck and please report back to us what action you took.


#3

Was the mechanic talking about the rotting rubber parts of the system, or rusting metal brake and fuel lines under the car?

Either way, rotting brake lines is not a good thing. The first “symptom” you notice might be NO BRAKES. If a metal line or rubber brake hose ruptures your ability to stop the car will be severely compromised.

All rubber parts degrade over time, so the belts and hoses under the hood may be questionable, too, if they’ve never been replaced. I think you should ask your mechanic for a recommendation and a price to replace the rotting parts. Then you can decide whether it’s something you want to spend money, or start shopping for another car.


#4

I have a 1999 Accord that had the same problem. Brake lines to the back rotted out and started leaking and a I developed a fuel line leak near the gas tank. The Honda dealer quoted me $2100 for Honda lines and labor. My Toyota dealer (who I know and trust) spliced in some lines using compression fittings and fixed it for $900. This is a COMMON problem on Hondas that are old and have high miles in snowy areas.


#5

I could be wrong, but it is my understanding that compression fittings on brake lines is a major no no. The correct fitting would be a double flare union specified for brakes. A flaring block that makes a double flare is necessary for brake lines.


#6

it is going to be just fine… until one time you press on the brakes and…NO brakes.

this happens if you live in the snow belt, where sand and salt pile up on them and slowly corrode them. also leaves and pine needles collect and can corrode them too.

given the cars mileage it is worth doing some repairs. but a whole lot is up to you. soon you will be approaching the point of being better to put money towards another car. i guess it would depend on how your finances are doing. and in this economy maybe just repairing and keeping the cash isnt such a bad thing, huh?

would you by any chance have a recommendation for a good local mechanic? take it to them for a second opinion. ask around for references. ask co workers, friends, relatives, church members. etc etc etc


#7

I had a similar issue pointed out on a 1995 Civic(225k) and sold shortly after due to its need of a front/rear struts(OEM), timing belt, and falling bumper.

I sold the car with a conscious though, I recommended the potential buyers to a pay a mechanic for a check over which the buyer ignored.


#8

That $900 for a questionable repair could have been done much better, and cheaper, by an independent mechanic/shop. The auto parts store has various length brake lines, with the correct fittings on the ends. With these lines, and some bending, the brake lines can be replaced for a couple hundred dollars…or, even less if you do the job yourself.


#9

All of these brake and fuel lines can be replaced with the various length lines available at auto parts stores. The lines already have the proper fittings on the ends. All a mechanic has to do is select the proper lengths and diameters, bend to fit, and connect. It’s a novice mechanic skill level task.


#10

Thanks for the your thoughts. I have an appointment tomorrow for the car to be looked at. And I’ll have my list of specific questions as well! I spoke briefly on the phone to a fellow in the dealership service department and the vibe I got was that this was going to be an expensive repair. But I’ll wait and see- if I ask more pointed questions, hopefully I’ll get more honest info.


#11

Appreciate yours and others comments on this. I have visions of wanting to get this car to 300K (no reason other than for quiet satisfaction) but I do wonder what other “issues” may be lurking- and of course there is a little bit of rust EVERYWHERE. But it would be really hard to get rid of my car- it’s been with me such a long time!


#12

The lines in most Hondas are connected behind the fuel tank. This necessitates the removal of the fuel tank. This can only be done after removing the rear suspension components that are in the way. A brake line job in these Accords and Civics is 14 hours of labor. At $75/hour it is $1050 in labor alone.

Incidentally my $900 repair was done with double flare unions (I misspoke above when mentioning compression fittings) and it was done at my Toyota dealer by a mechanic who doubles as a race mechanic on weekends.


#13

Over $1K just to see the problem? Ouch! Too much for my '98 Honda Accord SWagon.
I only seem to see any gas leak if I fill the tank more than 1/2 full.
that doesn’t seem like a fuel line. Any ideas?