Could a big guy with a heavy foot blow out a brake line?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 2009

Dear Tom and Ray:

I had a car accident. My vehicle would not stop because a brake line ruptured and the fluid leaked out. My wife says that it was because I am so heavy, and that the force I apply with my big, fat foot blew out the line. She says that if SHE had been stomping on the brakes, this wouldn't have happened, because she is, uh, several pounds lighter than I am. Please say that I am right! -- James (a fat guy in Wisconsin)

RAY: Well, she's right that there is a relationship between the amount of force you apply with your foot and the amount of pressure in the brake lines, James.

TOM: But those brake lines are made of metal. And they're designed to take as much pressure as any human being -- no matter how circumferentially challenged -- can lay into them. So there's no way you blew a brake line just because you're a porker, James. The brake line failed because it had rusted out and you hadn't had anyone look at the brakes in a long time.

RAY: That's especially important when you live in a place like Wisconsin, where they use a lot of salt on the roads in the winter.

TOM: But we can say with complete confidence that your wife is 100 percent wrong, James.

RAY: She can legitimately blame you for breaking the recliner in the TV room and flattening out the seat cushions on the family sofa, but you're off the hook for the brake line, James. And we're glad you came through the accident with your sense of humor intact.

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