Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Difference between a brake line and a brake hose

Recently I took my 1993 Ford Tempo (still in pretty good condition) because the breaks were making a grinding sound. Having just had the front brake pads and brake lines replaced (and new tires to boot), I thought that perhaps the drum brakes needed to be replaced. After waiting for 5 hours to find out what the problem was, the mechanic told me that, because I didn’t replace the break hoses when they told me to last August, my entire break system–including the parts I had recently installed–needed to be replaced. My question is, what is the difference between a brake line and a brake hose? I feel that, if I can answer this question, I will know whether they are telling me the truth, or trying to make me pay through the nose.

Hoses are rubber, lines are steel.Replacing the rubber brake hoses can give the brakes a different feel (firmer)the new hoses dont flex as much as the old rubber. Now I cannot make any connection to damaged rotors,pads,calipers and a failure to replace brake hoses.

i would say not just nose, but arm and leg too.

what shop? chain? local? dealer? i think you may need to find a more competent shop.

the hoses probably need replacing at this age. (have you ever had them replaced?)

but the system could just be flushed to remove any bad fluid.

sounds like make work to me.

Thanks so much. The service place was PepBoys. I don’t think I’ll be going back!

i believe the word “pepboys” may indeed be your biggest problem.

I agree, stay away from pepboys and find a good independent shop.

I am reminded of a fast oil change place I used sometimes some years ago, when it was still hard to dispose of oil in our community. They had a real cute blond woman working there as service writer. One Saturday she came out and told me with a straight face that my oil was really black, and that for X dollars, they would use a special cleaner to clean up my motor.

If it had been a man, we’d have been rolling around on the floor trying to gouge out each other’s eyes, but being a cute blond, I did what most men had apparently been doing, let it go and just told her no.

My son said not much later, there were enough customers who complained about her insults to their intelligence that she was gone.

The problem with brake lines is that they are made of steel and rust in snow country. They will eventually rust through causing loss of brake action in that circuit.

The brake hoses are flexible rubber and fail in a different manner. As they age the internal rubber swells and can cut off flow. When they fail, the pedal pressure is enough to cause flow to the caliper or brake cylinder but the restriction does not allow the unit to release. If a caliper is locked on, the pads will wear quickly, the rotors will warp, and eventually the pads will wear to the backing plate and destroy the rotor. Since there is one hose for each front wheel only one side will probably be damaged but the other side will need to be replaced to maintain balanced braking action. I am not sure whether the Tempo has one or two brake hoses for the rear. If the system has only one, both rear brakes would have been locked on wearing out both. But if you have two hoses, only one side would be damaged but the other side would also have to be rebuilt to maintain balance.

Hope that explains it.

Did you get any written warning/explanation as to what could happen and why it would happen at the time of your original brake job? Were you told “NO GUARANTY” if you dont replace your hoses. It seems to me if the shop made a record that you were informed of the damage that could come from not following their reccomendations it would not have taken them 5 hours to give you a reason for your concern. All they would have had to do was pull the records and all the warnings would have been present,they would have shown you their records,that you signed and the question would have been answered in minutes not hours.