Do you live in a state like Wisconsin that throws a pound of salt on an ounce of snow? I replace a steel line about once every three years on my '88 Grand Caravan. The last one was four weeks ago.
Did they show you the steel line? If so, was it rusty? How rusty do the other lines look under the car. Unfortunately for mechanics, they get the blame for everything that goes wrong after they work on a car. If they had actually cut a line, it would have been leaking as soon as you picked up the car, not a week later.
Other than looking for rust, there isn't a real good way to foresee a line springing a leak. Often, when they have your best interest at heart and they look extra close to find things like this, they get accused of trying to sell parts you don't need. To prevent these accusations, many mechanics just do what is requested and don't inspect for other potential problems. Then they get blamed for anything that happens later.
But, there IS something I would warn you about if you were my customer because it is not common knowledge even among some mechanics. Your brake pedal normally goes no further than halfway to the floor. In the master cylinder, the rubber lip seals never run through the bottom halves of the two bores so corrosion and debris builds up there. By running the pedal all the way to the floor when the line sprung a leak, the seals ran over that crap and could have been ripped. This will result in the pedal sinking to the floor when you apply the brakes. It might not happen right away, and if it does, you will have half of the brakes still working until the other seal rips. That could be hours, days, or never. The fix for this is a rebuilt master cylinder.
My only reason for mentioning this is so you realize the mechanic didn't cause the problem. This problem might not even develop, but being a nine year old car, I would warn my customer and I would spend plenty of time explaining why it could happen rather than spending my time later in a futile atempt to defend myself. I would not try to sell you a new master cylinder because surely in future conversations, some self-professed expert will try to convince you I sold you a part you didn't need. There are enough chain stores doing that already.
Saturday, February 27th, 2010 AT 5:03 PM