Driving during the wet season brings to mind the importance of a brake fluid flush. Especially if you are approaching the brake maintenance interval for your vehicle or notice a squishy feeling in your brake pedal. When necessary, a brake fluid flush can prevent corrosion of your vehicle’s brake lines, calipers, and other components. Let’s look at the process and the tools involved. Hint, your technician uses a nifty gadget called a pressure bleeder.

What Is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in vehicle brake systems. Most automobiles use a glycol-based formula containing additives to aid lubrication and deter corrosion. Glycol is a hygroscopic liquid, which means it naturally absorbs and retains moisture. When manufacturing the brake fluid, the hygroscopic properties instantly start absorbing water from the atmosphere (1.5-3% per year under normal atmospheric pressures).

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in vehicle brake systems. Most automobiles use a glycol-based formula containing additives to aid lubrication and deter corrosion. Glycol is a hygroscopic liquid, which means it naturally absorbs and retains moisture. When manufacturing the brake fluid, the hygroscopic properties instantly start absorbing water from the atmosphere (1.5-3% per year under normal atmospheric pressures).

How Does It Work?

In climates with higher humidity or heavy rainfall, the likelihood of your brake fluid becoming contaminated with water through regular driving is greater. As the moisture level in the brake fluid increases, the boiling point of the fluid decreases. Thus, the heat generated during active braking can cause the brake fluid to boil at lower and lower temperatures.

When brake fluid boils, gas or air pockets get introduced into the brake system. These air pockets reduce the compression of the fluid, causing a squishy feeling in the brakes when you apply the brake pedal. When left unchecked, this degradation of your vehicle’s brake fluid increases the chance of damages to your brake components and eventual brake failure.

What Does A Brake Fluid Flush Do?

A brake fluid flush removes all the old fluid from the braking system then pumps in new brake fluid. Any air introduced during the procedure is removed, and the system resealed. Having a brake fluid flush ensures that your vehicle’s braking system can perform as designed, keeping you safe while driving.

REPLACE OLD BRAKE FLUID

One way to tell if it is time to replace your brake fluid is to look into the brake fluid reservoir found under the hood and on top of the master cylinder. Brake fluid is usually a translucent light brown or clear when new but will darken with age. It turns dark, murky, and cloudy from water contamination.

PREVENT CORROSION OF BRAKE LINES & CALIPERS

Contaminated brake fluid can cause corrosion and excessive wear to metal brake lines, calipers, and master cylinder pistons. These metal braking components can eventually corrode from the inside when the old brake fluid is left in the system too long. When a brake line fails, partial or complete brake failure can occur. Corrosion build-up may cause the brake calipers to stick open or closed, resulting in ineffective brakes. Additionally, corrosion is abrasive and causes gaskets and seals to wear, which leads to leaks and low brake fluid.

How Is A Brake Fluid Flush Done?

First, your service technician will need to jack your car up and remove the wheels. Then the old fluid is removed, and a pressure bleeder adds the new fluid. Once the brake fluid flush is complete, your technician will safely dispose of the old toxic brake fluid.

PRESSURE BLEEDER

Pressure bleeders come in power and manual versions. If done manually, a technician uses a hand pump while a second person pumps the brake pedal inside the car. Experienced auto repair centers often utilize power flush machines over manual methods to save time. The pressure bleeder fits over the brake fluid reservoir and attaches with adapters. They work by pushing new brake fluid in while the old fluid pumps out. Loosening or tightening the bleeder screws located at the brake caliper of each wheel helps accomplish this task.

When Do I Need A Brake Fluid Flush?

This answer is not a simple one. The recommended time interval for a brake fluid flush differs between auto manufacturers and vehicle models. During the 1990s, the industry standard for a brake fluid flush was every two years. Now, modern car manufacturers have recommendations that range from every 2-3 years or 20,000 – 45,000-miles to ‘never .’ Of course, we all know that nothing actually lasts forever, so I suggest a more proactive route.

Read your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s recommended brake fluid maintenance schedule. Then consult your mechanic and discuss your specific vehicle and driving style to determine the best interval for your needs. Finally, proceed with testing or servicing your brake fluid at the suggested intervals. Of course, if you experience any unexpected or unusual issues with your brakes, schedule a diagnostic brake service immediately.

Brake Maintenance in San Diego, CA

Taylor Co European Auto Service knows how much you care about your European automobile, which is why we offer a full menu of repair and maintenance services. One of our qualified technicians will stay with your vehicle from start to finish once it is in our shop. We work hard to be your dealership alternative. Our maintenance and repair services will help keep you in good standing with your manufacturer’s warranty while providing you with unparalleled customer service.

SCHEDULE A BRAKE FLUID FLUSH

To schedule your European auto brake maintenance or repair service, please call us at (909) 316-6166 or visit our website.