What Is a Flaring Tool?

by Contributor

Flaring tools are adaptive mechanisms used in pipe fittings. They accept pliable metal piping and expand the ends of pipe sections as needed, so the pipe can fit to the next section.

Significance

Flaring tools employ very traditional technology, probably dating back to the earliest metalworking. They are important in both professional and hobbyist applications, making pipe fitting possible. These tools don't require much technical prowess; just about anyone can use them. Water tightness is pivotal; flaring tools are rated by their ability to form tight fittings.

Function

In automotive uses, flaring tools help mechanics fit brake, fuel, cooling and transmission lines. The basic functionality is the same as non-automotive flaring tools, although the size presets provided by the device are industry-specific.

Identification

Flaring tool (image from Ridgid.com)

Flaring tools consist of three main components: a metal bar with holed presets that fit different pipe or tube sizes, a screw with a handle that goes into the pipe opening to expand it as needed, and a simple metal piece that fits into the handle and enables rotation by the user.

Types

These include block-type flaring tools, as featured in the image above. This form is also known as a screw type. Additionally, single flare tools are cheaper than double flare kits, as the latter provide much thicker and more durable fittings.

Considerations

Flaring tools are also known as cutting tools, because many kits add pipe cutting functionality. It's important to remember all of these tools only work well with soft tubing, mostly copper. They can't adjust harder metals.

Warning

In automotive uses, fuel and coolant lines often use single flare tools, which are faster and cheaper. However, brake lines universally apply a double flare for safety reasons; they can withstand much greater pressure.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.