Brake Line Flaring Tool Recommendations
Dear Four Wheeler,
I have an old-school brake line flaring tool that I've reluctantly used what seems like 1,001 times to flare 3/16 steel brake line. It's the inexpensive one available at the parts store with the wing nuts and the mandrel that sometimes slips on the tube when you tighten the clamp-like die. It works if you are very careful and meticulous and only occasionally yields an off-center double flare that leaks like a sieve. Fast forward to now, and the tool I love to hate finally broke, and I am ready to try something else. I've heard good things about several different kinds of flaring tools but am honestly afraid of spending $200-$250 on something I am not positive will work. What do you recommend?
William M. Via social media
William, your struggle is real and one that we've shared. We've struggled through many a double flare on factory and aftermarket brake lines. Generally, when we make the perfect flare using the kind of double flare tool, you're talking about how we forgot to put the flare nut on the line the first time and must then do it twice. Recently we've been introduced to two different types of brake flaring tools that we would definitely recommend. The good news is the first type isn't all that expensive, but it has a couple of drawbacks. First, it only works on 3/16 tube and doesn't work on stainless or other hard lines like those from the factory. Still, its' small, easy to use, can be used on the vehicle, and almost always yields a good double flare on a well-cut piece of tubing. The tool of which we speak is available from Summit Racing as OEM Tools PN: OES-24364 for $23.99. Just be careful threading the hex shaped barrel that holds the die onto the two-piece clamp base. It can cross thread relatively easy. Also, if we can spend more of your money, we would happily recommend the Summit Racing Professional Flaring Tools, PN: SUM-900314, $219.99. Sure, it ain't exactly cheap, though it is priced decently when compared to similar tools. The beauty of it is it is incredibly easy to use. There is no going back to the old-style tool after using this one. A trained monkey could use it. The only downside is the tool needs to be mounted in a vice, so you can't use it on the vehicle. Still it will do double flares and bubble flares in a bunch of common sized brake line sizes. It will flare 3/16 line, 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch and 3/8-inch line, the last two are great for making hard fuel lines and transmission lines easily that won't leak.