Steel Brake Lines Vs Rubber Brake Lines: What To Choose

Brakes are one of the most important components of a vehicle, and having a braking system that’s up to par is crucial for your safety on the road. If you want to replace your brake lines, you may have heard conflicting opinions on which type is superior. Knowing which is right for you can be tough with so many products available.

The debate over whether steel brake lines or rubber brake lines are the better choice is a longstanding one. Both materials have their own advantages and disadvantages; ultimately, the right choice will depend on your driving style, vehicle type, and personal preferences.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the differences between steel and rubber brake lines, weighing up the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.

About Steel Brake Lines

Stainless steel brake lines are designed with braided stainless steel fibers, providing both durability and flexibility. Certain models may also incorporate additional materials, such as Kevlar.

Stainless steel brake lines offer several advantages over rubber brake lines, including greater durability and resistance to tears from debris. They also maintain brake response sensitivity over time and are popular for off-road enthusiasts and those seeking highly responsive brakes.

While stainless steel lines are known for their resistance, they still have some disadvantages. Detecting tears on a stainless steel line can be more challenging than on a rubber one. Additionally, some stainless steel brake lines require maintenance of their PVC coating to prevent leaks.


Steel brake lines are a type of brake line made from high-quality steel tubing that is designed to replace the standard rubber brake hoses in vehicles. These lines are typically used in high-performance vehicles, as they offer several advantages over traditional rubber brake hoses.

One of the main benefits of steel brake lines is their durability. Unlike rubber hoses, steel brake lines are able to withstand high temperatures and pressures, making them less likely to fail over time. This can help to improve the overall safety and reliability of a vehicle’s braking system.

In addition to their durability, steel brake lines are also able to provide a better brake pedal feel and more consistent braking performance. This is because steel brake lines are less prone to expanding under pressure, which can cause a spongy feel in the brake pedal and reduce the effectiveness of the brakes.


There are also some potential downsides to using steel brake lines. For example, steel brake lines can be more difficult to install than rubber hoses and may require special tools or expertise to fit them into a vehicle’s brake system properly. Additionally, steel brake lines can be more expensive than rubber hoses, which may make them less accessible for some drivers.

Overall, steel brake lines are a good choice for drivers who prioritize performance, durability, and consistent braking performance. However, they may not be the best choice for all drivers and should be chosen based on individual needs and preferences.

What are Rubber Brake Lines?

Rubber brake lines are composed of EPDM rubber that is layered to create a durable and strong hose, despite the misconception that the term “rubber hose” implies flimsiness. Rubber is an affordable material that is also of high quality, making it ideal for brake lines.

It can withstand temperature changes, environmental factors, and movement effectively. While it works well for most drivers, it may not be the best choice for those seeking optimal performance.

Rubber can both excel and falter. As time passes, rubber tends to stretch, reducing its responsiveness. However, this stretching process takes a long time, allowing most drivers to adapt their brake times accordingly. Additionally, rubber brake hoses are initially very firm and typically withstand wear and tear.


The main advantage of rubber brake lines is their flexibility. This can make installation a breeze compared to steel brake lines. They also offer some vibration dampening, which means they’ll be quieter than steel brake lines when braking. Additionally, rubber brake lines are generally cheaper than steel ones, making them an attractive choice for those on a budget.


The main disadvantage of rubber brake lines is their tendency to leak more easily than steel brake lines. Over time, the rubber material can degrade and crack, leading to air in the brake system and reduced braking performance. Additionally, rubber brake lines have a lower burst pressure rating than steel ones, meaning they may not withstand heavy braking or steel brake lines.

Steel Brake Lines vs Rubber Brake Lines: What to Choose?

Regarding brake lines, you have a choice between steel and rubber. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider what factors are most important for your vehicle when deciding.

Steel brake lines are more durable than rubber ones because they don’t wear out as quickly or easily. They also provide better braking performance due to less flexing in the lines. However, steel brake lines can be more difficult to install and require special tools or expertise. Additionally, they may be more expensive than rubber hoses.

Rubber brake lines are flexible and easy to install, making them ideal for those who don’t have access to specialized tools or expertise. They also tend to be cheaper than steel brake lines.

However, rubber brakes might not be the best choice for drivers prioritizing performance and durability. Additionally, they may be prone to leaks due to their tendency to stretch over tie.

Ultimately, the decision between steel brake lines and rubber brake lines should be based on individual needs and preferences. Steel lines are a good choice for drivers who want more performance, durability, and consistent braking performance, while rubber lines can be better suited for those seeking an easy installation or lower cost.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Are Steel Brake Lines Better?

When it comes to brake lines, there are two main types of materials used in their construction: steel and rubber. Both offer advantages and drawbacks, so the choice depends on what is best for your needs. Steel brake lines are generally more durable than rubber ones and provide better corrosion resistance.

2. Are Braided Brake Lines Better Than Rubber?

When it comes to brake lines, the decision between steel braided and rubber can be a difficult one. Both have pros and cons and deciding which is best for your vehicle largely depends on your driving needs and preferences.

3. What Are The Advantages Of Steel Brake Lines?

Steel brake lines provide several advantages, including increased durability, better corrosion resistance, and improved braking performance. Additionally, steel lines are typically more responsive than rubber ones, making for a smoother braking experience. However, they can be difficult to install due to their rigidity and may require specialized tools or expertise.

4. Will Steel Brake Lines Rust?

Steel brake lines will not rust as long as they are properly installed and maintained. Rust can only occur when steel is exposed to moisture for an extended period of time, so if the brake lines are covered with a protective coating and kept clean, rust should never be an issue. Steel lines are also more durable than rubber brake lines, so they may need fewer repairs over the vehicle’s life.

5. How Long Do Rubber Brake Lines Last?

According to BrakeQuip, a manufacturer of aftermarket brake hoses, the typical lifespan of a rubber brake hose is 6 years. The wear and tear of the brake hoses can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions, driving style, and storage.


At the end of the day, both steel and rubber brake lines have advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your vehicle type, driving style, budget, and personal preference. Steel brake lines may be the way to go if you’re looking for a more reliable braking system that can handle heavy braking applications.

John D. Archer