What is brake fluid and why is it important?
Imagine you are on the road, going to your office or maybe on a road trip with your family. And you discover that the braking system of your car is not functioning properly. We don’t need to emphasize on the stressful feeling. If ignored, your safety maybe at risk too.
This is why you need a basic idea about brake fluid and the need to change it. This is a type of fluid which converts force into pressure and amplifies braking force. When you push the brake pedal, the fluid enables the brake pads to press against the rotors, causing your car to slow down or stop.
It also serves as a lubricant for all moving parts of your car’s brakes and prevents corrosion. The job of the brake fluid is tricky since it has to work efficiently under high temperatures and pressure. Currently, most brake fluids are glycol-ether-based but silicone-based and mineral oil-based fluids are also available.
Brake fluid is hygroscopic in nature. This means that over time, it absorbs moisture, air, sludge, and other contaminants from the environment. As the water content in the fluid rises, the temperature at which it should boil or its boiling point decreases. This hampers the lifespan and optimal performance of your braking system. It becomes necessary to remove the contaminated fluid and moisture and replace it with new, clean fluid.
What are the signs that your car’s brake fluid needs changing?
- The fluid appears black or brown, indicating contamination
- Brake pedal feels spongy when pressed upon
- Decline in general performance of the car’s brake system
Never stray from the advice or guidelines mentioned in your car’s manufacturer’s manual regarding brake fluid maintenance. It is also a good practice to get a fluid refill after every 38,000kms or 36 months.
Keep in mind
Use a fluid which is suggested by your car manufacturer. If your car needs regular brake fluid, then you shouldn’t use silicon-based ones. Usually a brake fluid change will also involve inspection of brake pads, rotors and hoses, checks for fluid leaks and proper bleeding of brakes needs to happen.
Brake fluid is responsible for the proper functioning of your brake system but over time, contamination can reduce its effectiveness. So watch out for signs like soft brake pedal, general decrease in brake performance or black/brown brake fluid. We at CarDekho would be happy to help get your car’s brake fluid checked and replaced too, if necessary. Log on to services.cardekho.com to avail our services and cost estimates.