What does a brake hose do and how long do they last?

A brake hose is an element of automotive plumbing found in hydraulic braking systems. Brake hoses form part of brake lines (the other component in a brake line is a brake pipe) and are found in any vehicle with hydraulic brakes. But what do they actually do, and what happens if and when the time comes to replace a brake hose? The specialists at BrakeQuip have all the answers.

What does a brake hose do?

A brake hose is designed to transport hydraulic pressure from the brake pipes of your vehicle to its wheel cylinders and brake calipers, which is what helps the brakes to engage properly when slowing or stopping. Brake hoses are absolutely vital to the safe operation of a car, motorcycle, truck or any other vehicle using a hydraulic braking system – which is why you must arrange for them to be repaired or replaced as soon as you notice any fault or damage.

Brake hoses are commonly made from hard-wearing, flexible rubber layered with fabric netting, but stainless steel braided versions are also available that are extremely hardy. These are far less prone to wear, expansion and other damage, so they’ll work perfectly for longer, plus they allow for far more precise braking than their rubber counterparts.

How long should a brake hose last?

A basic rubber brake hose should last for up to six years depending on its quality, but this depends on the amount of wear and tear that is experienced by your braking system. If you use your vehicle regularly on tough terrain or in heavy traffic, it’s likely that brake hoses will need replacing earlier. Stainless steel hoses are designed to last far longer and may well outlast the rest of the vehicle!

Brake hoses usually experience consistent wear across a whole system, so if you discover that one is damaged, it’s probably a good idea to have all of them replaced.

If you wish to test your brakes, you should first ensure that your car has cooled down after any use, as hydraulic braking systems can get very hot to the touch. With rubber hoses, you should first undertake a visual inspection, making sure that there are no bubbles, drips, wet patches, cracks or bulges as this indicates that there is damage. You should also feel the hoses manually. If you can feel any swollen or soft parts, they will need replacing.

It is harder to check braided steel brakes for damage, but you will be able to see if there is any distortion or cracking in the metal.

As soon as you become aware of any damage to your brake hoses or the rest of the lines, you should arrange to have them replaced, or change them yourself if you’re confident. For replacements, simply browse our products and contact BrakeQuip today on 01257 220 010 or use our handy contact form to send us a message. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to assist you.

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