Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines - Are They Worth It?
Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines have become one of the best affordable stand-alone brake upgrades.
First of all, why would you want to replace your old rubber brake lines with stainless steel braided brake lines?
Well, you get up to 66% less expansion in the lines, this means that your new lines will not fade due to heat build up and you will drastically reduce pedal travel, improving the feel and thus create greater and faster braking power. The estimated life of a typical rubber brake hoses is 6 years, then they can become a safety hazard. With braided brake lines, you will not have to worry about having to replace your brake lines again.
It definitely sounds good.
Well it is, and it's less expensive than you would think. Compared to buying OEM hoses from your local main dealer, you will not notice much difference in your bank balance and you will be getting all the added benefits of stainless steel braided brake lines.
My opinion is to choose brake lines that are fully certified and approved around the world, the most popular type of approval being 'FMVSS-106'. There are other worldwide certifications such as ADR, LTSA, DOT and TUV. The best braided brake lines have all of these. I would try to avoid any manufacturer that doesn't offer these, just for your peace of mind.
A good manufacturer will offer braided brake lines with protective PVC covers attached as standard to protect bodywork and paintwork. With some even offering the PVC covers in a range of colours.
Also, make sure the brake lines that you buy have fully swaged stainless steel fittings onto the braided line and make sure that you don't have to use your original fittings. Using your existing fittings is a safety hazard and it's definitely not recommended, make sure the lines come complete with new stainless steel fittings.
Make sure that the braided brake lines you decide to purchase are fully stainless steel and don't use mild steel components. Stainless steel contains additional compounds that reduces atmospheric and hydro-corrosion and increases the hardness of the steel. Mild steel does not contain these additional compounds. I know which type of steel I would rather have used on my brake lines.
Look out for a decent warranty, the best manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty.
Will I definitely feel a difference if I install braided brake lines?
The answer is maybe, it will vary by the design, age and usage of the vehicle. Owners with older vehicles with tired, aging rubber hoses will notice a more dramatic improvement in pedal feel than a new car with decent OEM hoses.
Here's a summary of the benefits of stainless steel braided brake lines:
- 66% Less Expansion
- No Heat Fade
- Reduce Pedal Travel
- Shorter Shopping Distance
- Increased Brake Efficiency
- Abrasion / Corrosion Resistant
So here's your checklist for buying stainless steel braided brake lines:
- At least FMVSS-106 approval. ADR, LTSA, DOT and TUV certified are also desirable
- Make sure that the lines are fully stainless steel lines and not mild steel
- Make sure that the lines use fully swaged fittings and don't use reusable fittings
- Make sure that the lines come with protective PVC covers
- Warranty, try to get lifetime
Armed with this information, you should now know what type of braided brake lines you need and want to buy.