Emphasis On Brake Fluid

March 6, 2017
Posted by: Team Autodoc

Brake fluid is a kind of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in your vehicle. This fluid is used to amplify braking force and certainly plays a pivotal role in moving the various components of a vehicle’s braking system.

Brake fluid is a non-compressible substance that lies within the brake lines, delivering the force created by the pressure on the brake pedal to the brake rotors on the four corners of the vehicle. The fluid transfers the force directly onto the wheel hub and ultimately slows or stops your movement.

Furthermore, this fluid functions as a lubricant of all movable parts and simultaneously prevents corrosion. It needs to be compatible with rubber seals and hoses in order to allow braking systems to attain its long service and optimum performance.

The brake fluid is constantly subjected to very high temperatures produced by braking, particularly under heavier breaking or prolonged breaking. It must boast a high boiling point to prevent vaporizing in the lines. Vaporization can be a huge issue as vapor is highly compressible compared to liquid and therefore negates the hydraulic transfer of braking force – potentially resulting in brake failure.

Very frequently we read reports of “unexplained” brake failures causing massive accidents. Experts have recommended changing the vehicle brake fluid every one to two years as a safety measure. Their justification is based on the characteristic of glycol-based brake fluid, which absorbs moisture as soon as it is inserted into the system. The fluid draws moisture through microscopic pores in rubber hoses, past seals as well as exposure to the air. The issue is even more damaging in wet climates where humidity is high.

Having been addressed on the significance of brake fluid, you are advised to check the fluid level regularly. The fluid level will gradually drop as the brake pads wear, but a rapid drop in the level usually means there is a leak in your brake system. The fluid level should be conserved between the ADD and FULL marks, or the MIN and MAX marks. If the level is low, add the type of fluid specified on the filler cap (DOT 3 or 4).

Chevrolet advises its customers to replace the brake fluid on most models every 45,000 miles. Lexus recommends scheduled maintenance every 36 months or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. On the other hand, Honda and Volkswagen’s recommended interval is every three years regardless of the vehicle’s mileage. Whereas, the latter’s German counterpart, Mercedes Benz recommends the replacement of brake fluid every 2 years or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first.

As a rule of thumb, it is advisable for all vehicle owners to have the brake fluid checked and tested for moisture content every few years. It is also up to the owners to seek for advice from trusted and professional mechanics. You might be able to decide if a replacement if required by observing to see if the fluid is still fresh. Brake fluid is often light brown in color, but in some newer vehicles it’s clear. It darkens with age, becoming murky from water contamination.

It’s always best to be on the safe side!