What does brake fluid do?
Brake fluid makes your brakes work when you put your foot to the pedal. So it really is a very important part of your car to maintain.
When you apply physical pressure to your brake pedal, the fluid is pushed along and applies equivalent pressure to the brake pads. This then squeezes the brake discs on the wheel and slows your car to a stop.
Why does it need replacing
Brake fluid is a high-density oil-like substance. Back in the day it was oil-based, but is now fully synthetically produced.
It is hygroscopic which means it’s able to absorb water. Because of this, the fluid in your car can lose its efficiency over time.
The fluid is subjected to high temperatures because of the friction that happens as the brakes slow your car down. Any water in the fluid means it has a different boiling point and so causes a different reaction at high temperatures.
The short story: the brake fluid stops working as well as it should.
This becomes a particular problem in certain driving conditions such has:
- Going down a long steep hill.
- When towing a trailer or caravan.
- When the car is fully loaded.
When should it be replaced
Most manufacturers recommend completely replacing the brake fluid in your car every 4 or 5 years.
This does depend on how you use your vehicle. Light usage and lower mileage could mean it will last you a little longer. If you’re using your vehicle for long distance driving, or regularly towing loads, then you should definitely have your car’s fluid changed every 4-5 years.
There is a simple test to see if brake fluid needs changing that can be done at the VFR Motors workshop.
The test involves a small tool that checks the boiling point of the fluid. The more water in the fluid, the lower the boiling point. This isn’t as dramatic as it might sound! The tool just takes a sample, it doesn’t boil all the fluid in your car and certainly doesn’t cause any damage to the vehicle.
Even if your brakes appear to be performing properly, there may still be too high a water content in the fluid.
This can cause premature corrosion to braking components such as brake callipers and wheel cylinders. Corrosion could cause seizure or a leak. And, you guessed it, fixing brake callipers and wheel cylinders is much more expensive than checking and changing your brake fluid.
Where to get your brake fluid changed
We can check your car if you think the brake fluid might need changing. A check and change is relatively inexpensive. Call us for a quote or to book an appointment on 0116 3190 118 or mobile 07850 881 911.
Our regular customers will be happy to know that this check is part of your regular service with VFR Motors.
If you have questions about getting your brake fluid replaced, or any other car maintenance queries, feel free to drop in to our friendly garage if you’re in the area. You can find us on Shaftsbury Road, Leicester, LE3 0QN.