WHEN DO I NEED A BRAKE FLUID SERVICE?
Brake System Servicing
Your car’s brake system without a doubt is one of the most important assemblies that come with your car. Incidentally, just like all moving parts, it too goes through the usual wear and tear, as this happens in either normal and extreme conditions. Replacing your brake fluid could be as important as replacing your engine oil. It won’t only make it safer, as it will also save you time and money, literally, down the road.
Have your brakes gone noticeably soft lately? Do you hear strange noises when you step on the pedal? It may be time to have them checked as you already might needing a brake fluid flush or some other parts on your brake system may already be worn out.
What is a Brake Fluid Flush?
It is a car maintenance procedure that is done by completely removing used and dirty brake fluid out of the brake system. And then, it is replaced with fresh fluid that will help the brakes function properly and reliably.
Over time, normal wear and tear cause the fluid to become dirty and not work properly. So, it doesn’t mean that if your brakes are not working, your brake pads or some other contact points are already worn out. It could also be old and aging fluid that might already need to be flushed out and replaced.
What Are 4 Reasons I Should Flush My Brake Fluid?
1. With normal use, brake fluid eventually breaks down and becomes contaminated with rust and dust. A normal-looking fluid is usually light and golden brown in color, and in most cases clear. If it is already dark and dirty, it may already be time to do a flush.
2. Brake fluid is hygroscopic. Meaning, it is prone to water absorption in that once the seal of its bottle is opened and fluid is deposited into the brake system, it starts to absorb about 3% of its weight in water every year. That’s why a brake flush is recommended every 2 years or so.
3. A contaminated and increasingly ineffective brake fluid can cause interior damage to some integral parts of your brake system, making it not safe and unreliable. This is especially true of sensitive ABS brake parts that are not only expensive but are also connected to intricate electronics such as the ECU or computer box.
4. If the flashpoint or boiling point of your brake fluid is significantly lowered due to moisture and dirt, this could lead to a vapor lock which in turn could cause a total brake failure. You may attempt to floor the pedal, but no brakes will be applied.
How Does a Brake Fluid Flush Work?
If you are a car enthusiast and you are confident that you will be able to disassemble and reassemble the relevant parts of the brake system, by all means, go ahead and do it yourself. If not, you can contact your trusted mechanic.
1. Get a high-quality brake fluid replacement since the cheaper ones easily deteriorate, and you will likely end up spending more in the long run.
2. Find the brake fluid reservoir and drain all the fluid from it. Replace it with the fresh fluid.
3. To remove used fluid from the brake valve, jack up your car and remove all four wheels.
4. Use a tube hose to connect the brake valve to a container to bleed it and collect the used brake fluid.
5. Have a partner or another mechanic pump the brakes and hold down the pedal while you open the valve. The fluid should empty into the can.
6. This process of flushing is repeated until new fluid starts to spill into the container. The color has to be clear light amber. This should indicate that fresh brake fluid has already filled the entire braking system.
7. Do step no. 6 on all four brakes of the car, after which you may put the wheels back on.
8. Conduct a road test with care on empty roads.
How Often Do I Need to Change My Brake Fluid?
There is no standard on how many brake flushes you may need to do on your car. However, experienced mechanics would generally recommend a brake flush every 30,000 miles, or every 2 years, whichever comes first. This will give you room to avoid any problems related to old, contaminated brake fluid.
On the other hand, if you are used to braking hard all the time, or if you live in an area where you have to frequently stop and go due to heavy traffic, you may have to increase the frequency according to the color and consistency of your current fluid.
Doing a brake flush can keep your brakes functioning reliably and safely. It will ultimately help you save time and money from having to replace damaged parts. Drive safe and have fun.