Part 2 in our series on braking looks at brake hoses.
What is a brake hose and what does it do?
Manufactured from either rubber or stainless steel, brake hoses are used to deliver braking force to the brake pads via hydraulic pressure and brake fluid. It is important for brake hoses to be flexible to enable the driver to steer and brake effectively, as well as manoeuvre over and around obstacles.
What types are available?
Brake hoses are manufactured from two different materials — rubber and stainless steel. Most cars on the market, including high performance cars, come with rubber brake hoses as they are the most flexible, helping to deliver improved braking.
With rubber hoses, moisture is absorbed through the sidewall which results in a spongey feel, but they are also prone to ‘swelling’ which can have an impact on the line pressure, negatively affecting brake performance over time.
Stainless steel hoses are more rigid and durable; a soft brake line is covered in a braided mesh casing which prevents swelling yet still offers lots of flexibility and added durability.
How often should the hoses be changed?
Whilst some manufacturers recommend that standard rubber hoses are changed every 5 years, Goodridge’s range of aftermarket stainless steel hose kits have a lifetime warranty. Regular maintenance of brake hoses is advised as corrosion and damage can be difficult to diagnose, and changing external conditions can affect the rate of wear and tear.
What are brake hose fittings?
Standard brake hoses come pre-assembled with the necessary fittings at each end and can be manufactured from zinc or stainless steel. These fittings ensure brake fluid is carried to the caliper without any leakage.
While zinc plating has proven to be durable and long-lasting, it is prone to discoloration and rust, the rate of which can depend on the environment and usage. Stainless steel fittings will maintain a good appearance throughout their lifetime.