2000 Chevy Tahoe brake lines

I would like to get some professional opinions on my Tahoe. It’s a 2000 Chevy Tahoe. In October of 2012, I had all of the brake lines replaced. I took my car into Firestone to have an inspection done and the brake line failed as I pulled in. I had all of the brake lines replaced and now that leads me to what happen today. I drove this evening and when I pulled into my garage and stepped on the brake, the pad went all the way to the floor and there was a loud hissing sound from the back of the car. I tried several times and the brakes continued to do the same thing. There is also a puddle of clear liquid pooled up behind the driver’s rear tire.

The questions I have are 1) how long should new brake lines last? 2) Does this sound like the brake lines?

I’m assuming it’s unsafe to drive. That is a given. I just feel that this is something that shouldn’t have happened within a year of replacing the lines.

I would appreciate anyone’s opinions on this. Not a great way to start 2014.



A vehicle has brake lines and brake hoses

you said all the brake lines were replaced

What about the brake hoses?

Are you sure ALL of the brake lines were replaced? If they actually were I imagine they did a bad job flaring one of the lines.

Even if this is a failure of the new brake lines, you’re almost certainly beyond any warranty on the repair. You could ask if Firestone would cover part of the cost anyway, but I’d be more comfortable dealing with a good local independent mechanic instead.

You’re correct that this car is unsafe to drive, so plan to have it towed, unfortunately.

I’m not sure if the brake hoses were replaced or not. I know for sure all of the brake lines were. Pep Boys actually did the replacement. Firestone told us that they couldn’t do it so we had it towed to Pep Boys. We’ll have it towed some place to be fixed. I’m not sure I want to go back to Pep Boys. Thank you for all of your replies and suggestions.

Just wanted to update on our Tahoe. We ended up taking it to Pep Boys who after two days said it was the hard line in the brake system that needs to be replaced and they can’t do the work. I asked them about how much that would cost and they said anywhere between $1,500 - 2,000. I called the dealer and they quoted me $3,000 but could be higher if they find more things rusted. I’m going to have it towed to another small automotive shop and get a second opinion. The Tahoe has 125,000 miles on it and within the last two years we have replaced all four rotors/brakes. All soft brake lines and the parking brake. We also replaced the a/c blower. Is it worth sinking in another possibly $3,000 to have this fixed? What does it entail to replace this hard line? The dealer said the steel or metal line has to be handmade. I would love any information regarding this line. We lived in PA for eight years and apparently many cars from the north have rust underneath. We are now in TX and dealing with all of these rust issues, I don’t think I’ll ever live up north again. Way too costly in the long run.

It seems to be a little followed rule, but a brake fluid flush with each break job, is my norm, I think I had to replace a brake line once in the 70’s so please add this to your list if tou are having brakes done. You can probably find it done for less, our mechanic had an 03 and they no longer offer replacement parts, so it is make your own, it is not that hard, but it seems these days if it is not a shelf item you are into gigabucks.

I would stay out of Pep Boys shops, in general. And I would call around to local, independent shops for estimates, especially if you find any that specialize in brake work.

Those prices sound high. The cost of materials is actual fairly low, but as you were told, the lines will have to be bent by hand. But $2000 or $3000??? I’ve had a couple of lines replaced on my Dakota and they were a couple of hundred each (done at different times which increased the total price a bit).

Ask friends co-workers relatives etc for recommendation for a local inde mechanic. I think you’ll likely get better results that way. And probably save some money in the long run. I have two vehicles, one 40 years old, and one 20 years old, never had to replace a brake line. But I live in a mild climate area, no salt on the roads. One thing you can do that might help prevent this if you live in a place they put salt on the roads is to take your car to one of those diy car wash places, where you put in some quarters and you get to use a pressurized wand for 3 minutes. After driving on salted roads, use that wand to clean the underside of the vehicle as best you can, focusing on the wheel wells, and the tire area, inside and out.


Here’s what may be going on

That 1500 - 2000 quote is probably to install prefabricated brake lines

As the others have said, I’d get a quote from an independent shop. Ask them what it would cost to fabricate and install the brake lines you need

Just curious @db4690, how does an inde shop go about prefabbing a brake line? Do they buy the metal tubes in long straight sections, then use one of those gadgets that look like a long spring to bend the tubes without kinks in the orientation they need? Like when you have to bend a copper tube into the correct contortions to install a refridge ice maker water line?

Yes, you can buy brake line in lengths and work it with tubing benders and flaring tools (with appropriate threaded fittings to add) to fab any hard brake line you like. In fact, if I was the OP I would actually fab my own. I haven’t suggested it because you never know someone’s level of common sense and mechanical savvy, and well…they’re brakes.

More info: http://www.eastwood.com/brake_article

Speaking of such things ~ back in the summer I had to do some flares on a transmission line. I wasn’t really making a flare connection - really just adding a flare as a barb to connect rubber tranmission cooler hose. But I thought it was time I owned a good flaring tool. I ended up not actually buying one because I couldn’t tell what to do. I didn’t want to spend gobs of money on the professional level stuff, but I wasn’t impressed by the typical auto parts & hardware store cheapie ones. (I ended up temporarily using one out of a loaner tool program). But there must be something in the middle - not the typical cheap stuff and not the hundreds of dollars professional stuff. FWIW as a point of reference, I tend to buy things like Craftsman hand tools as the middle ground between Mac / SnapOn and cheap crap. I think I looked at the Craftsman selection, but just didn’t know enough to choose. If anyone knows a middle-of-the-road flaring tool set I’d be happy to have suggestions.

The problems you’ve had are very common on this truck model. Tahoe’s, Suburbans, Avalanches and similar at Cadillac and GMC are all GMT-800 models from GM. The brake hoses will fail over time either from leaks or internal failures that don’t allow the brakes to release. The “drum-in-hat” parking brake is useless and finally, the brake hard lines corrode and fail. (I own one of these, I’ve had issues with all but the hard lines) You can by pre-made hard lines for these trucks for $329. Here is a link;


Its going to cost a bit of labor but at least they don’t have to bend and flare everything. Print the page and show it to your mechanic, he may not know where to get these parts.

You can also click on ‘Mechanics Files’ at the top of this page and look for one near you. I’ve used this twice with success.

Replacing brake lines does not require the dealer, and, as others have said, stay away from chains. Find a good independent shop near you.

Thanks @cigroller , interesting comments. I looked at the Eastwood article & it’s quite informative too. I think I read there that their flaring tool is about $100, so if all else fails that could be a fall-back position if someone wanted to buy one. It looks like a very good one. It does seem that if you knew you only wanted to do one or two sizes of tubing and a limited number of fittings something should be available for less $$$. But still $100 isn’t really out of line. For the driveway diy’er like me, just renting one like you did probably makes even more sense.

Another update for you. We had our Tahoe towed to a local, independent mechanic. They ended up fixing the car for $1600. Here’s what they found. They said all of the hard brake lines from the driver’s seat to the back of the vehicle needed to be replaced. They had to take the gas tank out in order to replace the brake lines that go over it. When they went to put the gas tank back on the fuel lines went. They were corroded, as well. The problem seems fixed, however, as I was driving the car home I noticed the brake light was on on the dashboard. I called the shop and they told me that there is a sensor on the top of the master cylinder that is not working correctly. They said that there is plenty of brake fluid so not to worry but that they master cylinder will need to be replaced. Why they did not tell me this WHILE they had the car in the shop is beyond me. I’m not very happy about that. Anyway, does that sound right? They said that the light being on is just a bad sensor and not to worry about it. There is plenty of fluid in the car. However, it will need to be fixed before the annual state inspection because it will not pass with that being on. I’m not sure why that light is on now when it was not on before they did the repair or ever has been on.
I just wanted to get some opinions on whether that sounds legit on why the light would be on and if I should be concerned driving it. I certainly do not want to drive it and have the brakes fail.

Thanks for your opinions.


There is indeed a brake fluid level sensor, which is located inside the fluid reservoir

If you were to buy a master cylinder for your vehicle, this is what it would look like


However, you can get the fluid level sensor separately. Here’s what it looks like up close


I’m kind of disappointed that they told you over the phone to not worry, versus having you bring the car in and verify what the problem is. If they’re doing diagnosis over the phone, they’re merely assuming the fluid level sensor is the problem. What if it’s something else?

Here’s an idea . . . pop the hood. See if that sensor’s connector is even plugged in. Verify for yourself that the fluid reservoir is topped off with dot 3. You will see markings.

If everything’s plugged in and the reservoir is full, I’d go back to that shop and have them diagnose and repair the vehicle immediately. Brakes are a safety, and they should be 100% at all times, even if the annual inspection isn’t just around the corner

Good luck

Thank you so much for those picture attachments. That really has helped to understand more about what they are saying. They told me that the fluid was full and not to worry about that being the reason for the light being on. My husband will check it out when he gets a chance. Is this something that my husband could replace himself? I know he did a master cylinder replacement way back in his teen years (haha) but if it would be easy enough for him to do and save us more money, he’d try it.

I would be more concerned about what the shop actually KNOWS for sure about the cause of the light, and that they would let you take off with the light on. You NEED that light to be correct so that if a problem does occur you know it. So if they KNEW the light was on and had determined that it was the sensor, then it was wrong to let you drive off that way. Or if they didn’t know the light was on then they haven’t actually determined WHY it is on, and they can only guess about the sensor. You don’t want to proceed based on a guess.