I own a 2001 Honda Accord EX with the 4 cylinder engine. A couple days ago one of my brake lines developed a leak as I was driving my car. I recently moved to another state and had not found a new mechanic yet. Unfortunately very few people that I work with know how to drive much less own a car so I couldn’t get any recommendations and I finally ended up taking it to the dealership. When I called to ask for an estimate the manager told me that the underside of my car was really rusty and one of his mechanics wanted to replace everything under the car “to be on the safe side” for $5000 and the other mechanic just wanted to replace all four brake lines for $350. I told him I needed to think about it. I couldn’t find another mechanic that could give me a rough estimate (my brother said replacing all the lines should cost ~$200-300 at most repair shops) and I didn’t want to pay to have the car towed again so I called the next day to tell the dealership to replace all 4 lines for the $350. Now the manager said that they could replace the one line that was broken for $120 but he had redone the estimate and it would cost $600 to do all 4 lines. At this point I just wanted to get my car out of there and told him to just replace the one broken line. When I went to pick up the car today he told me that they had just cut off the damaged section and crimped on a new piece instead of replacing the whole line “because it would have been too expensive”. Of course they still charged me the $120. I know that brake lines are not expensive. Are the lines on Accord’s that difficult to replace or is this guy as unethical as I think he is?
It seems the pre fab bent brake lines are getting to be a thing of the past. Bending them yourself sure would increase the time and cost for a repair.
"When I went to pick up the car today he told me that they had just cut off the damaged section and crimped on a new piece instead of replacing the whole line “because it would have been too expensive”.
This is a BIG No-No…Brake lines don’t take very well to having new pieces “crimped on”…Using any sort of compression fittings on brake lines has never been acceptable. The ONLY way to form joints in brake line tubing is to use a flaring tool and flare fittings. I don’t see this being done for $120 unless they just wanted to get rid of you…
I would have a certified brake mechanic check this repair for safety and soundness…
An estimate of 2-300 dollars is a bit cheap for replacing all of the brake lines and 600 would be closer to the norm at a dealer. Honda OEM brake lines will be a bit pricy.
Offhand, the 5000 dollar estimate is way overblown but it could be about right depending on what they’re going to change out due to rust. Suspension compenents and subframes maybe?
If the vehicle is that rusty it may be about time to say goodbye to it because if the brake lines are rotting out then odds are this car has other rust issues which may make it unsafe.
I’m in agreement with Caddyman; they should not be crimping anything.
They said they were going to get “lines from that place down the street” so I doubt they were Honda parts.
Brake lines rust from the inside as well as the outside. That is why brake fluid should be changed every few years. The Feds have been looking into the problem. The newer brake lines may be made of thinner gage steel. Also, in years past, salt was put down in the form of crystals; now they are using a slurp that tends to stick to the underside of the car. It helps to water-rinse the car’s underside, if possible, after driving on salted roads.
The dealer is also going to mark the prices of the parts up, as they should. The shop flat rate per hour charge can easily push the repair cost to 600 dollars. That flat rate charge varies quite a bit by locale but around here (75-80 per hour) it’s usually less than other parts of the country. An hour per line X 80 here, an hour per line there at 80 and it adds up.
Personally, I think a shop should not EVER tie themselves down to an estimate when it comes to rust beause there are simply too many things that can’t be accounted for when doing a repair to a vehcle that is rust eaten. Removing a single line may not be as easy as perceived and can run into much more work than what meets the eye.
We had a VW towed to us once with no brakes and road salt is not that big an issue in OK. However, the owner of this car had lived in a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico for years and ocean salt had absolutely butchered the car. The brakes failed and he wanted an estimate on it.
The estimate was considered to be “Open”, meaning there is no way of really knowing what it was going to take to do the repair. Nothing on that car was going to come apart without destroying it. Brake lines, wheel cylinders, master cylinder, brake line termnals, it was all rusted beyond recognition and it was very debateable as to whether the rear drums would even come off so as to change the wheel cylinders.
Given the rust on the body and suspension the owner chose to scrap the car.
What your brother feels the job should cost may not be an accurate assessment because he doesn’t understand the flat rate system.
Make mine another vote adamantly against the line patch.
There are ample aftermarket parts available that are just as good as actual Honda parts. If “the place down the street” is a parts supplier, that’s perfectly legit. If it’s a boneyard, run away from that shop fast.
Actually, you shouuld probably run from that shop anyway. Crimping on a patch is not a good repair.
I own a 99 Accord (same design as your 01). When my brake lines and fuel line failed, common problems at high mileage on this car, the dealer quoted me $2000 for OEM parts and his labor. I had it towed down the street to my Toyota dealer where the service manager is a race car mechanic. He put in non-OEM lines for the brakes and fixed the fuel line too. Total cost? $900. The moral of the story is you need to have a mechanic you can trust, otherwise you are just guessing.
I drive a 2001 Accord. The brake lines are rusted, and I want to paint them. I am struggling to get the plastic cover off that protects them. I got the front and rear bolts off, and the 18mm plastic bolts, but there is some kind of clip that hugs the lines at the front, and clips that connect each section of the cover. Any ideas short of breaking the clips?
Fitting new hydraulic lines from straight stock by a good mechanic should be 600-800 for a full set. But you probably just need the rears. Maybe not but you DO NOT NEED $5000, of brake lines.
Look here for a mechanic in your area. Find a few and ask the people you know about them.