What You Should Know About Brake Fluid

There are certain problems with your car that don’t require immediate attention, but brake problems are not among them. Having well-functioning brakes is essential for driving safely. Your brake system is the only thing that will stop your car—and without brake fluid, your car won’t stop. That’s why routine maintenance and brake repair is critical.

Here’s what you need to know about what brake fluid is and why it’s so important.

Brake fluid basics

This is a type of fluid used for hydraulic braking systems that transfers force into pressure, thereby stopping the car when you push the brakes. Just like your engine, braking systems need routine flushes and replacement of brake fluid at regular intervals.

How brake fluid works

When you press down on the brakes when approaching another car, a rod forces a piston into the cylinder, generating pressure in the hydraulic system. This pressure is sent throughout the system when brake fluid is forced from the brake lines into the pistons. The pistons, in turn, apply force to the brake pads and tire rotors, which slows down the car.

Preventing rust and corrosion

Beyond serving its critical role in helping your car to stop, brake fluid is excellent at absorbing moisture. Not only does brake fluid lubricate all the moving parts in the car’s braking system, but it also absorbs any moisture in the system to ward off corrosion and rust. Water is liable to enter the system through brake line leaks or busted seals in the master cylinder or caliper. When it does, well-functioning brake fluid will ensure it doesn’t do further damage.

How often brake fluid should be replaced

Check your owner’s manual to find out which type of brake fluid your car needs and how frequently it should be flushed and replaced. A good rule of thumb is that brake fluid should be flushed once every 30,000 miles or once every two years, whichever comes first.

How frequently you’ll need brake fluid replacement is partly based on your driving habits and braking patterns. If, for example, you deal with daily stop-and-go traffic, then you will likely need brake servicing earlier.

Signs brake fluid needs to be replaced

Any of the following signs mean you should bring your car to a brake specialist:

  • Dashboard ABS (anti-lock braking system) light illuminates: There are a few reasons this light could turn on, and one of them is that the brake fluid needs attention.
  • Ineffective braking: Do your brakes seem slower and less responsive than in the past? It could be time to flush and replace the brake fluid.
  • Burning smell: If you get strange smells when braking, it could be that the fluid has all burned off.

Are you looking for experts in brake repair? Then turn to the team at Alignment Pros and Express Lube. We’re your one-stop shop for all your vehicle maintenance and repair needs. From quick oil changes to brake repair, alignment services and more, we will get your vehicle back on the road in safe operating condition. Give us a call right now to schedule your first appointment.