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Q: Rusted brake line - 1999 Mercury Sable

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I'd like to replace the brake steel pipes/unions (or brake lines, I've heard them called either one) myself. My mechanic has informed me after inspection that they are rusted through, and I've noticed the red brake sign flicker on the HUD near the odometer from time to time (very infrequently). I just went to Autozone to replace them but they need to know the size of the diameter. I have no jack or way to lift the car up so that I can measure them myself, but I figure that is easy info a Mercury Mechanic would know.

My car has 104000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hey there. 3/16 inch diameter brake line tu...

Hey there. 3/16 inch diameter brake line tubing is used on virtually all cars and trucks made in the world. The more important issue is what type of end fittings you have and type of flare (bubble, inverted, etc.). That can be discovered on disassembly or with reference to the Factory Service Manual.

It is highly recommended that steel tubing NOT be used to replace defective brake lines. New steel tubing will corrode just like the old. However, if you replace the brake (and fuel, too) lines using DOT approved Ni-Copp tubing (or comparable), the lines will NEVER corrode again. Plus, Ni-Copp in 3/16 inch sizes is practically bendable by hand. Ni-Copp is incredibly easy to work with and the ductility of the material creates a perfect seal with minimal torque.

Ni-Copp is probably vended with pre-made ends to fit your application but if you desire to create your own flare ends FedHill sells an excellent flaring tool kit to make professional flares in Ni-Copp or steel tubing.

If you would like a certified professional to assist you with parts procurement, planning, and execution of your brake line repair, by all means contact YourMechanic.

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