Best Tools for Flaring Brake Lines
The proper tools make the difference when flaring brake lines. Make sure you have the right ones on hand to best prepare the line end for a defect-free flare.
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Flaring brake lines starts with a quality cut, to prevent a cracked flare or a leaky seal. To do this, you'll need a quality tubing cutter, such as the RIDGID 40617 Model 101, which includes grooved rollers to help you cut close to an existing flare, preserving as much line length as possible. It cuts tubing from 1/4 in. to 1-1/8 in. in diameter, which makes it useful on home gas lines or plumbing projects, too.
Cutting and filing typically leaves some material hanging inside the tube. For brake lines, especially those made of medium to softer metals, a needle file serves as a great deburring tool for the inside of the tube, to help DIYers create a smooth surface for flaring the brake line. The 10-Piece Needle File Set by Kalim is made from hardened steel that easily smooths line cuts and has dipped, nonslip handles.
You could also choose rolled emery cloth, which is not as likely to nick soft brake line metal but may take a little longer to do the job. This 1-1/2-in. wide roll of emery cloth by EZ-FLO is a highly rated choice.
The type of flare you'll need to create depends on the type of brake line fitting your vehicle has. Most brake lines today require double flares, which involves shaping the end of the brake line in a way that creates a double-layered flare. To do this, you'll need a what's simply called a Double Flaring tool. We like the TLF02 flaring tool by Inline Tube because it's an inexpensive, highly rated bar-style form/clamp, which can be inverted to provide a surface for squaring and deburring the line end before creating the flare.
If your vehicle is among the smaller percentage requiring a bubble flare, you'll want a bubble flare tool instead.
Word to the wise: Don't forget to put the fitting on the line before creating the flare!
When flaring brake lines, a bench vise is helpful to get a solid hold on the flaring tool's gripping plate. One we like: the Wilton Jaw Bench Vise With Swivel Base, because of its sturdy construction from high-strength steel, handy anvil work surface behind the clamp and reasonable price.
Learn more DIY brake repair tips.