However, an alarmingly high number of drivers fail to understand how pressing the brake pedal causes the calipers to grab the rotors. This is where brake lines come into the picture. The most common disc brake systems are hydraulically powered, meaning there is fluid involved in transferring braking power from your foot to the brakes. In a nutshell, this fluid, which is stored inside the master cylinder, moves to the calipers when the driver applies the brakes. The fluid forces the calipers to clamp down on the rotors and create friction. For brake fluid to get where it needs to be, it needs to move through the car’s brake lines. So, if the latter ever leak, your brakes would have a higher chance of failing. Flaring Brake line flaring adds flare to one end of the car’s brake line to make sure the connection stays free of leaks. This is a lot like flaring the bottom of your jeans to make them wider, although not many people do that these days. The gist is that this makes the tubing wider at the end so that it is easier for the connection to slip in. Most brake lines you get to buy nowadays come already flared, but they may be the wrong length, in which case you would need to cut and add a flare on one of the ends. You can get flaring tools online, or at a local auto parts store. Most of these places probably have the type you need. Just make sure you get the right size, and for that, first check what your manufacturer uses. • First, take a tubing clamp and cut the line to size. • Place the line fitting over the tube. • Clamp the tubing so it holds steady. • Insert the flaring tool into the tube. • While two of the prongs secure the brake line, screw the third one in and out until you have sufficiently widened that end of the tube. Done rightly, this should leave a flare that is both even and properly centered on the brake fitting opening. This will take time to complete, and is best done by someone with the proper training and experience. Brake Line Types Flares are not the only thing you need to worry about when it comes to brake lines. Many also require bending in the right places, but that depends on the variety you choose. You could buy pre-bent brake lines and save yourself a whole lot of time and bother. • Steel brake lines: Steel is among the most favored brake line materials among performance drivers and off-roaders, due to the following advantages it carries. The first is that it does not puncture easily, which means you do not have to worry about every rock and twig your drive over. Then comes the matter of swelling – repeated use can stretch out flexible brake lines, reducing line pressure and affecting braking performance, but steel does not have the same problem. That said, steel lines could undergo breakage and corrosion. Moreover, they lack the flexibility of other materials, making it vital to check the line connections more often. From many angles, the inflexibility is cause for concern. • Braided brake lines: These are one of the widely preferred alternatives to solid steel lines, which work better in many instances. Braided lines comprise soft brake lines covered in a braided steel mesh; picture a thin steel basket that is a lot longer than it is wide. This variety of brake line also finds use in plumbing, so you could get a good idea by looking under the kitchen sink. Steel mesh is more pliable than solid steel tubing, and for that reason, braided steel lines encounter less stress. Meanwhile, the steel itself protects the line and prevents it from swelling. As a bonus, these lines also look much better than hard steel, making their addition a kind of dressing done in performance cars. In braided steel lines, you have the soft tubing covered by a braid, which makes it harder to check for corrosion and leaks. This may not be much of a problem for off-road vehicles or racecars, because those get frequent part replacements regardless of how the current components are faring. Most streetcars, though, are serviced a lot less frequently, and only reveal leaks or corrosion when it is too late to do anything about it. This is one reason why periodic brake system maintenance is a good idea. Whether you choose to do, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.