Understanding Auto Part Numbers

3 Indications You Need New Brake Hoses

by Gwendolyn Anderson

Your brake hoses are the unsung heroes of your car's braking system. These intrepid components carry your brake fluid the "last mile" between your hard lines and your brake calipers. These hoses need to provide adequate flow while remaining flexible enough to move with your car as it bounces over bumps and holes in the road.

Since your brake hoses can take so much abuse, they tend to wear out and fail over time. Faulty brake hoses can impact your braking performance or even lead to dangerous leaks and lost hydraulic pressure. Even if you don't spend much time thinking about these critical components, it's essential to recognize when you may want to consider replacing yours.

1. You Have Dragging Brakes

Your brake system works on some relatively simple principles. When you press your brake pedal, you actuate a lever in your master brake cylinder. This lever (along with a brake booster or other power-assist feature) pushes on the hydraulic fluid, providing the pressure necessary to extend your caliper pistons. As you release the brake pedal, the caliper pistons retract along with the brake pads.

An obstruction inside your brake hoses can prevent this process from occurring smoothly, leaving your brakes dragging against the rotor. This situation can cause excessive brake dust, grinding noises, and a pull to one side when braking. If your old hoses aren't flowing freely, you'll need to replace them with new ones.

2. You're Replacing Your Calipers 

Brake calipers often last for the life of a vehicle, but they can fail for numerous reasons. One common cause for failure is waiting too long to change your brakes. Worn-down brake pads can damage your pistons, and the excessive heat produced by metal-on-metal contact can ruin your caliper seals. Ultimately, these impacts can significantly reduce the life of your calipers.

Changing out your hydraulic hoses is often a good idea if you know you need new calipers. The heat that affected the calipers may have also affected the hoses, and you may not be able to tell if there's a problem by visual inspection alone. Installing new hoses is a relatively cheap and easy option to ensure your new calipers perform as they should.

3. You Can See Physical Damage

If you're performing work on your brakes and you can see any physical damage on your brake hoses, it's time to buy some replacements. Cuts, tears, rot, or other signs of degradation on the hoses can compromise their performance and lead to leaks in the future. Even if your brakes seem to be working fine, a proactive replacement will help ensure your vehicle remains safe to drive.

While brake hoses may not be the most exciting part of your car, they're essential for your safety. Never ignore the signs that you may need new ones, and always choose quality replacement hoses.