Whether it’s a pinhole leak, visible rust, or physical damage, all of these are good reasons to replace your brake lines ASAP. If it’s your first time dealing with a brake line replacement or it’s been a while since your last replacement, you might be wondering how much it’ll cost. Read on and find out for yourself how much you can expect to pay.
Factors That Affect Costs
According to the latest research from Repair Pal, you can expect to pay anywhere from $148 to $186 for a brake line replacement, minus taxes and fees. However, the aforementioned answer isn’t as cut-and-dry as you’d expect. There are plenty of variables that could make your brake line replacement cheaper or more expensive.
Let’s start with DIY versus repairs at a trusted shop:
- Your local dealer’s service center may charge the highest prices for a brake line replacement. For your money, you’ll get high-quality OEM-grade brake lines installed by factory-trained and certified technicians, which definitely adds to the total cost of your repair.
- Independent garages usually charge more reasonable prices to replace brake lines. While most may use OEM parts, some shops may rely on less-expensive aftermarket brands and pass on the savings to their customers. While aftermarket parts usually meet or even exceed OEM standards, there’s always a risk of getting faulty or lower-quality parts.
- Replacing your own brake lines is the cheapest option of all since you’re trading a shop’s labor fees for your own time. However, brake line replacement isn’t for everyone. If you’re not comfortable or experienced with bending, flaring, and fitting your own brake lines, then you may want to let the professionals handle it for you.
Then there’s the actual brake line to consider. Pre-formed brake lines are the easiest to install since they already have the correct length and bends that exactly match your make and model, but these lines don’t come cheap. Brake lines also come in 25’ or 50’ coils that must be cut down to the right length, and then bent and flared to mirror the original line. Going the DIY route can be significantly cheaper than buying pre-formed lines, but you’ll need the right tools and a good deal of experience to precisely and successfully bend and flare your own brake lines.
Brake lines also come in a variety of different materials:
- Stainless steel brake lines are fairly resistant to rust and corrosion, but they’re also significantly harder to bend and flare using standard brake line tools.
- Nickel-copper brake lines offer excellent corrosion resistance and a higher burst strength thanks to their alloy makeup. However, these lines tend to be more expensive than standard steel brake lines.
- PVF brake lines feature a polyvinyl fluorine coating that shields against rust and debris. These lines also cost more than the traditional steel brake line but usually not as much as nickel-copper lines.