Brake lines replaced

Buick Century had a brake fluid leak about half-way down from the fluid reservoir. To see the leak, a mirror on the end of an adjustable rod is needed.

Mechanic said he would replace 2 brake lines and the fee would be $300. While he was working on the car, he told me that a third line broke and I would have to pay another $50. In other words, 3 lines were replaced for $350, but I am certain that there was but one leak. Do you believe that the third line broke? If the third line really broke, am I responsible? Please comment.

You don’t mention the year of the Buick, but once a brake line is rusted enough to leak, all the brake lines near it are usually in poor condition.

It’s likely that he very understandably had to disturb that 3rd brake line slightly - just to replace the first two. If that 3rd brake line was rusty in any way, a leak in it likely sprung up.

That scenario has happened to me many times. Going only by the information you provided, I would say pay him the $350, be happy, and be glad it’s done.

It is a 2005 Century. The old brake lines were put into a trash can and looked ok to me.

Hmm. 2005 does seem a relatively new to have rusted lines.
Was this car ever under water, salt water, or parked near salt water?

It could be the nut at the end of the brake had frozen in place, and trying to remove it in a tight spot led to twisting or bending of the 3rd line. There’s not enough information to go on.

When dealing with brake lines, since the odds are the mechanic ran into something that caused replace that 3rd line, it’s all in the interest of safety for you. And an $50 increment seems well worth it to me.

I suppose it’s possible for a car of that age to have a rusted brake line if you live somewhere where rust is an issue. Where I live, rust is something I deal with when someone moves here and brings their old car. Or uses it to launch a boat.

Anyway, if one or two lines are rusted surely there are more on the way. He probably had to remove or adjust the third to get to the first rusty one and that in turn caused it to break. That’s part of the repair process and on your dime, not his.

A mechanic is able to say without any doubt at all whether a brake line is broken or not. Do you not trust your mechanic?

The way I would look at is is this, if one brake line was bad I would replace them all knowing the next time I go to stop and not spring another leak. Its like if your upper radiator hose sprung a leak, I would also replace the lower one and the heater core hoses.

I had a '92 Vic with ABS brakes and the steel brake lines started leaking, one after the other…The cost of replacing ALL the brake lines on this car exceeded the value of the well-used car and I scrapped it…Newer ABS equipped cars can have complex brake systems with multiple lines and junction blocks in inaccessible locations that can make repair VERY difficult…