BrakesSafety

Brake fluid is one of those parts of a vehicle that most drivers forget about, even those drivers who regularly check their engine oil and tire pressure.  While it may be neglected, it is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s braking system and has one of the biggest jobs of all.

Brake fluid transmits the pressure from your foot when you press down on the brake pedal to the master cylinder and then on to the calipers that clamp the brake pads and stop your wheels (if you have disc brakes).  In essence, without brake fluid, there are no brakes and your vehicle can not stop.

Other fluids, like engine oil or transmission oil have clear-cut rules and expectations about when they should be changed or flushed, but with brake fluid replacement, there is no standard interval among manufacturers.  Despite this, all brake fluids have common properties and there are some generally accepted principles for brake fluid replacement.

  • Replace brake fluid any time tests show the fluid is fail or near-fail
  • Replace brake fluid at an interval of two years or 40,000 kilometres to help prevent brake failure
  • Replace brake fluid any time major brake replacement is performed to ensure that all components of the braking system work as they were designed

Experience the VIP Service Difference with us, as we’ll check your brake fluid for moisture as our certified mechanics move through our Courtesy Inspection Sheet on every service.  We can identify brake fluid that can not withstand the heat generated during braking and make the recommendation of having this vital service performed.  We strongly recommend the preventative maintenance of a brake fluid flush every 40,000 kilometres or every two years.

We do feel that the best time to replace brake fluid is during a major brake replacement.  When your vehicle was new, all the brake components were also new.  Making the investment in new brakes should also have the support of revitalized brake fluid and a check of the master cylinder as well.

WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF NEGLECTING YOUR BRAKE FLUID?

Brake fluid is unique in several ways.

  1. Your brake fluid runs in a closed system, which is why it is sometimes forgotten about, but also makes it that much more important to be kept fresh.
  2. Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it can absorb moisture and expand. Brake Fluid will pull water through hoses and rubber connections.  If the master cylinder reservoir is off, the fluid can pull right out of the air.
  3. Even a few drops of water are enough to alter the chemistry of the brake fluid and put your entire braking system and your safety at risk. This is because water in the braking fluid will reduce its boiling point allowing the fluid to boil and the brake pedal to fall to the floor.

WHAT ARE THE DANGER SIGNS THAT YOUR BRAKE FLUID MAY BE LOW OR CONTAMINATED WITH WATER?

  • Low Pedal – over time it is natural for your brake pedal to dip
  • Spongy or dropping pedal – especially if your stepping on it several times while driving down a hill
  • High, firm pedal – this may be a sign that you have waited too long and the vital components may have rusted. Unlike other fluids (like engine oil) you may not be able to tell if the brake fluid has deteriorated simply by looking at it.  Let the VIP Service Experts assist you.

When you think your brake fluid is ready for replacement, make sure you don’t use anything other than approved brake fluid for your vehicle.  Better yet, bring your vehicle in to any of our 4 London Locations, for a complete inspection of all your fluids, filters and your tires, brakes and suspension.