Do Brake Lines Need Teflon Tape?
You must maintain your braking system in good working condition, as you probably already know, since it is an essential component of your car’s overall performance and safety. Hydraulic brake lines, often known as the “veins” of the braking system, must have specific features and be assembled in a certain way to function safely.
Should Teflon tape be used on brake lines? The simple answer to your question is “no,” since they do not. The most essential thing to remember is that you should always attempt to join brake lines using Teflon tape. Teflon tape is not only unnecessary for brake lines, but it would also be hazardous to apply it there in the first place. Brake lines do not conduct heat well.
If you’re to the point where you’re contemplating wrapping your brake lines with Teflon tape, you already know you’ve got a problem on your hands. In this article, let me elaborate on why you should not do this and what you need to do instead of wrapping Teflon tape around your brake lines.
Why Doesn’t Teflon Tape Work?
There are a few reasons why using Teflon tape in brake lines is a terrible idea; one of those reasons is friction. The first thing to take into consideration is the fact that the brake fluid that is used in the hydraulic braking system is a solvent that may dissolve Teflon tape as well as other types of sealants. Flaring, pressure, and precision machining are used in the manufacturing process of brake lines so that the individual components may be made to fit together precisely. This is the second aspect. We shall investigate why using Teflon tape is not required due to these variables.
First Factor: Brake Fluid
If the brake lines are the veins, then the brake fluid is the blood that flows through the braking system. In hydraulic systems, pieces are moved by using a pressurized liquid. This system is just like every other one.
The fluid used in the brakes is harsh. It is designed to endure extraordinarily high and extremely low temperatures without boiling or becoming thicker. In addition to that, it is hygroscopic. This indicates that it extracts moisture from the air, which is why it is essential to ensure the system is properly sealed. It is also why corrosion occurs, which is why you must have regular fluid exchanges every 24,000-36,000 miles.
Additionally classified as a solvent is brake fluid. This implies that it will eat away at everything like acid, including your hoses, seals, Teflon tape, and other materials. It also means that Teflon tape will not be able to withstand the same thing that makes the system function, even though the following section contains information on the system’s mechanical components.
Brake fluid is highly poisonous, so make sure you take appropriate precautions whenever you operate with it. Ingestion by accident can be potentially lethal.
Second Factor: The Parts Are Made to Fit Together
First things first, let’s get the hoses out of the way. Flexible hoses, known as brake hoses, link your brake caliper to the metal tube of your braking system. The vast majority of your brake lines are made up of this tube. The hoses are made flexible since the wheels’ movement and suspension would break a rigid line if not constructed that way.
When contrasted with the metal lines, this fact, nevertheless, makes no difference whatsoever in the manner in which their connections have to be handled. Even though they are made of different materials, the connectors need to be held similarly to the metal lines. Copper washers are used at the hoses’ end to connect the hose and the caliper. They do very accurate machining on the end of the hose that links to the metal hose used throughout the remainder of the system.
Because of these two considerations, there is no longer any need for sealants such as Teflon tape. If your hoses leak, replace them rather than merely patching them.
Your vehicle’s master cylinder is connected to the brake hose via a tube made of mild steel that is flexible and simple to flare. This tube is known as the brake line. These lines can get damaged and will need to be replaced. They may be purchased in straight lengths, wrapped in bundles, or in a pre-bent form tailored to your vehicle’s dimensions.
If you buy bundles of tubing, you need to make sure you know the correct size for your vehicle, which is often either 3/16″ or 14″; otherwise, the tubing will not fit with the lines that are already in place. It is essential to remember that for them to function well, they need to be bent and flared using specific equipment. Attempting this task while holding a screwdriver and pliers is not recommended.
The Tube Flair
The tube flair is positioned so that it is seated within the tube seat, and the fitting is arranged so that it is flush with the female end. If you were to apply Teflon tape to this fitting, it would prevent it from being able to fully seal in the union, which would result in leakage.
If there is a leak at this point in the line, you should replace the line, the flare, or the fittings as soon as possible. A defective burst cannot be improved by any changes or additions you make to it.
Brake Line Fittings
Because you are probably here because you wish to make repairs to your brake lines on your own, you should be aware that it is not only risky but also against the law to use plumbing compression fittings or single flair compression fittings on brake lines. Putting such fittings on brake lines may cause serious injury or even death. These components were made for use at low pressures and are unsuitable for the high pressure present in this system because of their design. They are doomed to fail. Only use flare fittings and unions that SAE has approved.
It is important to remember that the fittings are often made of a more delicate material than conventional bolts. If you try to remove them with regular wrenches or pliers, you run the danger of stripping the heads of the screws. Please use a brake line wrench, sometimes called a flare nut wrench or a line wrench in its place. This is the brake line wrench that comes highly recommended by our team.
On the outside, the fittings for the brake line appear the same as any other threaded fitting or coupler. However, when you remove them, you will see that what seems to be a regular threaded connection contains multiple elements engineered to fit together with great accuracy.
Brake fittings that are done well are very finely machined so that they can snap together. Adding Teflon tape prevents the components from coming together as intended. You should always follow the requirements when installing them, as overtightening the threads may damage your brake lines and cause a leak. Simply clicking on this link will take you to a video showing how the abovementioned process is carried out.
The line is pulled into the internal components of the fitting as the threaded fittings are tightened into the female end of the union. The threaded fitting has a precise angle corresponding to the block’s inside where it is being used.
The brake line flare is then placed over the curves once positioned so that it rests up against them. Because of this, fit is a very significant component. The union will break if there is even the tiniest gap or uneven surface, resulting in braking fluid leaking. This issue cannot be resolved by using Teflon tape.
It is strongly advised that you never reuse old brake line flairs or fittings, nor should you attempt to alter them in any way. Replace them if they are leaking or do not fit properly to spare yourself the hassle.
Equipment for the Maintenance and Repair of the Brake Lines
If you decide to repair your brake lines on your own, the following are some particular instruments that we suggest using.
- Flaring Tool: You are clearing tool that is precisely for the size of your line. This is one that we enjoy.
- Tubing Cutters: Instead of using a hacksaw, consider using one of these when cutting delicate brake lines. Please have a look at them over here.
- Brake Flaring Kit: You can also purchase a whole kit from this location if you still need to own the necessary equipment.
But What About…
Search the internet and discover many message boards or blogs that advise avoiding Teflon tape. On the same pages, you could see recommendations to use “pipe dope” or a liquid sealer instead of Teflon tape. Alternatively, you might encounter this recommendation. Although excellent for the tasks they were designed, these items are incompatible with the system.
According to this line of reasoning, the fact that the material is in a more fluid condition does not prevent the machined components from properly aligning themselves. Putting any of these suggestions into action is, at best, a waste of time, and money, and ineffective. In the worst-case scenario, they provide holes inside the threads that serve as entry points for failure in the system.
If It Leaks, Replace It
Consider: Is it possible to put Teflon tape on brake lines? No. It is impossible to do so safely, and you should not even try to put Teflon tape on brake lines. There should be no reliance on anything to halt a leak in a braking system. Teflon tape poses a risk to the system’s functioning since the system’s safety depends on a solvent being forced through a closed system at high pressure, and the system is closed. If there is a leak, you must get the problem fixed as soon as possible.