brake fluid

Brake fluid is the most important fluid in your vehicle. Sadly, it’s often neglected. Without it,
your brakes wouldn’t be able to operate. Today, we’re taking a closer look at what role it plays in the engine and why it’s so important. Let’s dive in.

What is the brake fluid, and why is it important?

Brake fluid is an incompressible, hydraulic fluid that circulates throughout the braking system.
Its job is to transport force from the brake pedal to the calipers. This force is what allows the
calipers to clamp down on the rotors, stopping a moving vehicle. Without the correct amount of
fluid, your brakes will fail.

Because it is close to the engine, it needs to be capable of withstanding extreme heat. It
has to have a high boiling point so it doesn’t vaporize when exposed to heat from the engine.
Brake fluid also needs to maintain a constant viscosity, regardless of the temperature. This is
especially important in ABS systems. Since they have intricate passages and valving, the brake
fluid needs to be able to flow easily. These days, fluid contains added chemicals with
anti-corrosive properties. These help increase the lifespan of the engine’s metal components and
reduce rusting.

Most fluids are glycol-ether-based. This type of fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it’s
moisture-absorbing. Over time, this excess moisture reduces the boiling point of the fluid.
A lower boiling point can ultimately lead to decreased stopping ability. Additionally, too much
moisture can lead to internal corrosion of metal engine parts. For these reasons, it’s crucial to
get your fluid tested regularly and replaced as required.

How often does fluid need to be changed?

It’s always a good idea to consult your owner’s manual since the manufacturer might have
specific recommendations. Furthermore, not all brake fluids are the same. Different types have
different change intervals. Generally speaking, we suggest a brake fluid flush or replacement at
least every year or two.

A visual inspection of your brake fluid can provide a lot of important information. As your
brake fluid ages, its appearance changes. This is a good indicator of when it needs to be
replaced. Most fluid is amber-colored or clear. Over time, it gets polluted with rust and
other engine debris, turning it into a murky shade of brown. If your brake fluid looks like this,
then it needs to be flushed out. While examining your brake fluid, pay attention to the fluid
level. A small decrease in fluid is nothing to worry about. But, if you’re seeing this often,
then it probably means you have a problem with your brakes that needs addressing.

Getting the moisture content of your brake fluid tested is great preventative maintenance. This is
especially true if you experience a lot of humid weather. This will give you helpful information
on your brake fluid’s quality and composition.

Does your fluid need testing or replacement? Our licensed technicians at Brausen Auto
are here to help. Give us a call today at (​ 651) 633-4100 for our Arden Hills location, or (​ 651)
488-8800​ for our Roseville location. You can also ​ request your appointment online​ .