How hard is it to replace brake lines on a 1996 Honda civic

I have a brake fluid leak wear when I push on the brake pedal nothing happens and I replaced all the brake pads and shoes come to find out its a rusted brake line and I’m leaking brake fluid so I took to a shop that’s my cusins friend he said hell replace both lines for 200 I called auto zone 5ft line is 10 bucks so my question is should I attempt it I will do more research and I’m not scared of getting dirty so I would like if any of you guys had any tricks or tips you can pass on thank you I can’t drive any where because I literally can’t stop

buy a repair manual for your vehicle, at least 30 bucks. then you will see if you have the tools, and the desire, to continue with this and other projects.
acquiring tools is often the hardest part.

people here will help, and there may be you tube videos(some good, some not) of people doing the same job. take a look, buy a book, and decide

Pay the $200 have the brake lines replaced.

You’re not only going to need the sticks of brake line, but also the flare couplers for the brake lines, and if you don’t have tube bender you’ll need one of those.

If you’ve never replaced brake lines before, after fighting with the rusted lines/mounting clamps, etc, you’ll pay the $200.


For someone who has experience and done this before it is straight forward , if you have never replaced brake lines you will be in for a lot of frustration. You will need to by flaring tools, fittings in addition to the line. The $200 will look pretty good after you are 3/4 the way into the job and find all the un anticipated problems

I will add that $200 for this job is a great price. Grab it before your cousin’s friend changes his mind. On this vintage Honda you might want him to look at the fuel line too since they also tend to corrode and start leaking.

If you knew there was a leak, and replaced the pads to solve this you should NOT attempt this. Let some one who knows what they are doing fix it.

You will be VERY lucky if this job can be done for $200…Often, these lines are run through inaccessible places and you will find all the fittings, junction blocks and the hardware that secures the lines to the structure of the car badly rusted and difficult to repair or replace…You will find a lot more rust under there than just the brake lines…

Pay the money and leave with brakes that will operate correctly. I’ve repaired a lot of DIY brake jobs because the person doing the repair was not familiar with the tools needed especially line wrenches and flaring tools.

Just bending the lines to the correct length and curvature with a tubing a pain. Pay the $200 and be happy that you can stop.

on the other hand, if you are young, and plan to be a car guy, you have to start somewhere.

acquiring tools and experience is a task of a lifetime. if you screw up, its not like you are ruining a show car.

bending springs are not that hard to use or expensive. probably cheaper at a heating or plumbing supply store.

a flaring block.will cost a bit and if you get a cheap one, it won t work as well.

you can buy pre flared break lines of varying lengths and unions to make them longer if necessary. you can do it with them if you are creative.

but be prepared to screw up and learn from it. you can fix most any thing, but it may be a spendy job before you re done

I agree that the 200 bucks is a good deal

I got under the car today and found out the worst rust on the brake lines where in the middle of the the car where 4 ft of straight brake lines ran then the parts where they bend were rust free so I decide to tackle on the the take I went to auto zone got everything I need which has 70 including the a flaring maker and a line cuter along with the connections and I started today buy cuting the two line then make sure the line wasn’t compressed and I’m not pulling the old ones out rather I’m bend them and bolt then on the side then spray some rubber undercoating when I’m done

lol. you must be busy. that post was almost unreadable. good luck. you can do it. you have the right attitude.

Video on brake line double flaring:

Good for you to give it a go yourself. Should be an interesting experience. If all else fails you know you can always get it done for $200 in any event. If you run into problems, one idea might be to see if you could get a replacement from a junkyard. It would come in the exact shape and with all the fittings. There is a possibility such a part might even be available new. Either new or used, if you can find the exact replacement part, then there is no bending or flaring involved or wondering if the fitting will fit. That would simplify things.

I don’t have any experience on brake lines, but I’ve seen some articles written on the subject. If there’s a complicated shape needed, one idea I read is to use some soft iron wire (like bailing wire, clothes hanger wire, etc) to make a template of the shape needed, then use that as a model when doing the actual tube bending on the bench. There’s different kinds of line you can use too. The most rust proof is stainless steel, which is harder to work with apparently. And besides having the correct fittings, thread pitch, etc, there’s two different ways to make the flares in the tubing. One way is a little more robust.

WE don’t know where the OP is from, but in Wisconsin…a vehicle this old…the lines would be far too rusted together to try getting ones from a junker.
I have done quite a few and almost always have to get the torches out to free the flare nuts from the old line. They rust together so bad that you just twist the line into a pretzel. That is only if you can even free the nut from the fitting.

I found a new tool also for bending that has made me almost ready to throw out all the other bending jigs that I own.

I normally only buy “simple low impact” tools from HF, but I spotted this and think that it’s the greatest. You just have to learn to bend a little…move the tool down the line a 1/8 in and bend a little, repeat,repeat, repeat.
It is the only tool that I can make very small/tight bends without the line colapsing or kinking. You could bend 3/16 in line into a circle 2 in around. I have done about 10 line jobs with it and have never gone after any of the old jigs that I own.


@Yosemite , have you ever used bending springs? they just slide over the tubing and you can bend most things with no kinks at all. they are simple and cheap. I used them a lot after high school when I did HVAC for a few years. they are available at HVAC and plumbing supply houses

I have a set of the springs, but in tight bends…they either kink or flatten the line on the inside and outside of the bend. I also have about three other jigs that never seem to work.
I do like the springs for when you make looser bends. But when you have to make that sharp bend over the axle…around the rust in your eye bracket…under the flukendiffer… thru the chassis…and into the two hands inhibitor …and attach at the blind spot fitting…wait I need another bandaid!!!

Now I just need a tool to slap me when I have forgotten to put the flare nut on before flareing.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done that one!!!


Brake lines usually come with fittings attached. You go from junction block to junction block. They can be formed by carefully bending them by hand, no special tools needed…If the replacement tube is a little long you can make an “S” bend or loop to adjust the length…

Problems arise when the fittings at the end of the old lines are so badly corroded they become impossible to open. On some cars, the junction blocks are located in inaccessible places…

Interesting comments. What are the options for materials you can use for brake lines? Are ordinary steel and stainless steel the only option? What about aluminum? What about copper? I’ve plumbed with copper tubing and it is fairly easy to work with, and is rust-proof. But it is much softer than steel, so the pressures involved in braking might cause it deform more than would steel. Can copper be used for replacing brake lines in modern era vehicles?

Absolutely not…Brake lines are special made tubing with unique fittings…Copper can not be depended on to withstand the pressure…