Brake hoses are a vital part of motor vehicles to ensure safety, but few people ever take the time to think about them until they stop working properly.
As such an essential element in braking, you’ll want to choose the best brake hose possible for your vehicle when it needs replacing.
So, which should you choose out of rubber and stainless steel brake hoses? Check out the guide below to decide which type of brake hose you should buy.
Pros and cons of rubber brake hoses
Most cars come with rubber brake hoses, as vehicle manufacturers prefer the cheaper low-maintenance material to keep their costs down. If your vehicle has a rubber brake hose, these are the benefits and downsides:
＋ Low cost – If you want sufficient quality at a lower price, rubber is more affordable than braided stainless steel.
＋ Durable – Rubber brake hoses are stronger than you might think, constructed in layers to create a dense and tough hose.
＋ Weather resistant – Rubber hoses are usable in most climates, able to withstand temperatures from -14˚C to 121˚C.
－ Mushy brakes – Over time, rubber tends to stretch from constantly expanding under pressure, resulting in a ‘spongy’ feeling when you press the brake pedal.
－ Not for high performance driving – Rubber hoses hold up perfectly well for the average driver, but excessive heat and heavy braking makes them break down faster.
－ Lower corrosion resistance – Though rubber hoses are tough, they’re less resistant to oxidation and abrasions than stainless steel.
Pros and cons of stainless steel brake hoses
The alternative to brake hoses made of rubber is hoses made with stainless steel, where a Teflon inner tube is wrapped in an outer layer of steel mesh. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of stainless steel brake lines:
＋ Increased resistance – Stainless steel is stronger than rubber and shields the inner tubing against corrosion and abrasions, holding up much better against wear and tear.
＋ Better performance – The mesh acts like a cage around the tubing, preventing expansion and maintaining a firm brake response and feel.
＋ Stylish appearance – Stainless steel hoses improve the appearance of motorcycles and are often available in a wider variety of colours for greater customisation.
－ More expensive – The higher level of protection and aesthetic choices comes with a higher price tag (though stainless steel hoses need replacing less often than rubber ones).
－ Higher maintenance – Even with a protective PVC coating, it’s possible for particles of dust and dirt to get in through the mesh and cause tiny tears, which you have to check for regularly.
－ Not always necessary – As we’ve explained above, rubber steel hoses do the job just fine for everyday driving at a lower upfront cost.
Which type of brake hose is better?
Both types of brake hose are effective and reliable, so the choice between them depends on your individual driving style and what you use the vehicle for.
Rubber hoses are the best fit for the majority of drivers who just want a dependable cost-effective brake line and don’t care too much about the brake feel.
Anyone who favours enhanced looks and responsiveness, such as track drivers or off-roaders, would benefit from investing more in stainless steel brake hoses.