Brake fluid plays an essential part in your vehicle’s braking system. Sadly, it’s often overlooked
and underappreciated. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the role brake fluid has in keeping your
vehicle on the move. We’ll also discuss the steps you can take to keep your brake fluid up to
standard. Let’s dive in.
What and Why the Brake Fluid is important
Brake fluid is an incompressible, hydraulic liquid that runs throughout the braking system. It
transfers force from the brake pedal through the cylinders and out the brake lines to the calipers.
From here, the force causes the calipers to clamp onto the rotors, which stops the vehicle’s
wheels from spinning. Without brake fluid, your car wouldn’t be able to stop.
Since brake fluid is exposed to the engine’s extreme heat, it has a few important features that
allow it to do its job in these conditions. One of these features is its boiling point. To withstand
the heat, brake fluid has a very high boiling point to prevent it from vaporizing. If all of your
brake fluid boiled away, your brakes would go out. Another important feature is its viscosity.
Regardless of how hot or cold its atmosphere is, brake fluid can maintain a constant viscosity.
This helps guarantee that it can easily travel throughout all of the complex engine parts. Brake
fluid is formulated to withstand a wide range of temperatures, which allows it to do its job.
There are several different kinds of brake fluid. Most of them are glycol-ether-based. This type
is hygroscopic, meaning that it can take in water from the atmosphere. By nature, your brake
fluid will almost always contain some amount of water. However, too much water can cause
problems. One issue is that too much water will cause your engine parts to rust. Brake fluids
today contain anti-corrosive additives, but this won’t be helpful if there’s too much water in your
brake fluid. Additionally, too much water can lower the boiling point of the brake fluid. This
could ultimately lead to decreased stopping power. To avoid these problems, get your brake
fluid tested regularly and replace it if the water content is too high.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
As brake fluid circulates throughout your engine, it gets polluted with debris like rust particles.
Consequently, it needs to be routinely flushed out and replaced with new fluids. In general, we
recommend having this done at least every year or two. But, the exact change interval may vary,
depending on the type of brake fluid you use as well as the make and model of your vehicle. To
get more information on this, consult your owner’s manual or talk to one of our experienced
Signs it should be Changed
The most obvious sign that your brake fluid needs replacement is its physical appearance. Since
brake fluid gets contaminated over time, its color darkens and becomes more opaque. If you
notice this, it’s time to get your fluids flushed out and replaced.
It’s important to be mindful of all your fluid levels, but this is especially true with brake fluid.
An occasional decrease in brake fluid is nothing to worry about, but it’s not good if you deal
with this often. If that’s the case, it means you probably have a bigger problem on your hands
that needs attention.
Does your brake fluid need to be replaced or tested? Our licensed technicians at Dunrite
Automotive are here to help. Give us a call today at (952) 925-2020.