Most drivers, including the very careful ones who carry out routine maintenance and inspection of their cars, usually disregard brake fluids. But the brake fluid has one of the most important jobs to perform in an automobile: it multiplies and transmits the force needed to slow down a car; it is practically the lifeblood of the braking system in a car. Most car owners pay no mind to it until their brakes perform very poorly and become unresponsive.
Over time, the brake fluid gets compromised by the presence of moisture and other contaminants that may be accumulated after long term use. This reduces the overall performance of your brake system. It is therefore important that you keep a close look on your brake fluid. There is no room for negligence.
What Happens If You Let Your Brake Fluid Suffer Neglect?
Brake fluid is quite unique in its properties. Foreign particles substances of any kind no matter how small can reduce its effectiveness.
Brake fluid is sensitive to moisture and expands when moisture is absorbed. Its hygroscopic nature makes it very easy to be contaminated by water. As little as four to five drops of water are detrimental to your brake fluid. When your brake fluid is polluted by moisture, its boiling point is lowered, letting the brake fluid boil and the brake pedal to fall to the floor. In a situation where you have to make a sudden stop, this can be very fatal.
Symptoms That Your Brake Fluid Requires A Change
Because the brake fluid operates in a closed environment, it is easily overlooked. How then can you tell when your brake fluid has absorbed moisture and compromised? Fortunately, there are a few signs to help you detect the presence of contaminants in your brake fluid:
- Low pedal
- Spongy or dropping pedal
- High and stiff pedal: This is usually an indication that some components are rusted and unable to move.
It is not easy to tell the state of your brake fluid just by looking at it. The best strategy is to carry out a brake fluid flush/change before you notice a decline in the performance of your braking system.
It is possible to perform brake fluid flush yourself, but it’s prudent to take your car to a brake repair specialist to do it for you. Make sure not to use any other fluid than brake fluid specified by the manufacturer of your car.
When Should You Perform Brake Fluid Flush?
Unlike other fluids, brake fluids have no clear cut rules or expectations. Brake fluids, however, should meet some globally accepted rules. Any or all of the following are an indication that your brake fluid is ripe for change:
- After a major servicing or repairs of the brakes or brake system
- If tests on the brake fluid show a near or complete failure.
- Brake fluid should be replaced after every two years
When having your brake fluid flushed or changed, a team of technicians will run tests and examine your brake fluid for moisture other contaminants.
When your brake fluid gets tainted with moisture, it can no longer withstand the heat generated while your brakes are in use. This could result in brake failure. To prevent this, do right by yourself, your passengers and other road users by replacing it after every two years.