Replacing brake fluid
Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in automobiles, motorcycles, light trucks, and some bicycles. It is used to transfer force into pressure. It works because liquids are not appreciably compressible – in their natural state the component molecules do not have internal voids and the molecules pack together well, so bulk forces are directly transferred to trying to compress the fluid’s chemical bonds.
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The single most important reason brake fluid must be changed regularly is to replenish the anticorrosion additives. Corrosion inhibitors, pH stabilizers and antioxidants are added to brake fluid to improve the long-term corrosion protection of brake systems. Over time these corrosion inhibitors can become depleted leaving the internal parts of the brake system vulnerable to corrosion.
Q: How can you tell if your vehicle is due for a brake fluid flush?
A: Special test might indicate high levels of moisture present in the brake fluid. Another method is the old fashioned “eye ball test”. Remove the brake master cylinder cap and visually inspect the condition of the fluid.
Many experts have long recommend changing the brake fluid every year or two for preventative maintenance. Their rationale is based on the fact that glycol-based brake fluid starts to absorb moisture from the moment it is put in the system. The fluid attracts moisture through microscopic pores in rubber hoses, past seals and exposure to the air. The problem is obviously worse in wet climates where humidity is high.
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