How often should you replace brake fluid?

Jak często wymieniać płyn hamulcowy?

How often should you replace brake fluid?

Stopping your car efficiently is essential for safety. How often should you replace brake fluid? Regular servicing of this system provides a very high level of confidence in an emergency situation.

In this article:
What is brake fluid?
How often to change brake fluid
The process of replacing brake fluid
How to add brake fluid
Effects of incorrect brake fluid replacement

In short, the braking system consists of brake discs and pads, calipers, pistons, and cables. There are also brake shoes and drums, as well as an ABS module. It is closely related to the quality of the brake fluid used. Among other things, the efficiency of the latter factor largely determines the braking efficiency.

How often should you replace brake fluid?
How often should you replace brake fluid?

What is brake fluid?

Brake fluid plays a key role in the safety system of every vehicle. It is a mixture of chemical compounds that are resistant to foaming and high temperatures. The fluid transfers pressure from the brake pedal to the brake pads. Proper use and regular replacement of brake fluid is essential to maintain braking effectiveness and safety. The answer to the question of how often to replace brake fluid depends on several factors.

How often should you replace brake fluid?

According to manufacturers’ recommendations, brake fluid should be replaced approximately every 40-50 thousand kilometers or every two years. It is important not to neglect this activity, especially if there is a noticeable reduction in braking force. Brake fluid is highly hygroscopic. Water absorbed by the brake fluid can lower the boiling point of the brake fluid. The water contained in such a fluid may itself exceed its boiling point, which causes air bubbles to appear in the system. Then the brakes cease to be effective. Dirt and moisture can significantly affect braking performance, so regular inspection and replacement of the fluid is essential. Now that we know how often to change the brake fluid, let’s move on to the process of replacing the fluid in the brake system.

The process of replacing brake fluid

If we want to replace the brake fluid ourselves, we can do so. This service activity requires appropriate preparation and is best performed with the help of another person. Below we describe what steps should be taken into account to make the repair effective.

In newer cars equipped with electronically controlled ABS, ESP and traction assisted braking systems, the so-called “spinning wheels”, it is necessary to put the vehicle into the brake fluid replacement mode by activating the appropriate mode in the on-board computer using a diagnostic device. Sometimes it is enough to turn the key in the ignition to the appropriate position, sometimes it is necessary to call up the appropriate menu.

The rest of the activities are standard:

  • Preparation – let’s start by sucking out the old brake fluid from the reservoir using a syringe. Then add new fluid to avoid air in the brakes.
  • Air bleeders – locate the air bleeders on the calipers or brake drums. After cleaning them, connect a hose to them, the end of which should be placed in a bottle collecting the liquid.
  • Draining the old fluid – ask the assistant to inflate the brake system and then unscrew the bleeder. It is important to control the color of the flowing liquid.
  • Checking the brake fluid level – constantly monitor the fluid level in the reservoir and top it up throughout the entire process to avoid air in the system.
  • Finalization – close the vent when the color of the fluid matches that of the freshly added fluid and no air bubbles appear in it.

In addition to knowing how often to change brake fluid and how, it is good to be aware of a few additional issues. They are important when using the car, purchasing brake fluid and are useful when replacing the fluid with a new one:

  • Always top up the fluid – remember that all brake fluid ages and absorbs water. Replacing it regularly is crucial to maintaining braking effectiveness.
  • Different types of fluids – There are different types of brake fluids, each with different properties and boiling points. Choosing the right type is important to maintain braking properties.
  • Contamination – if the fluid is contaminated or dirty, it must be replaced, even if less than two years have passed since the previous replacement.

How to add brake fluid

Regularly checking the brake fluid level in the expansion tank is crucial. If the fluid level is below the recommended minimum, it may be a sign that it needs to be added. Also, the presence of water in the liquid above 2% is a signal to take action. It is important to use the same type of brake fluid that is already used in the braking system. There are various types of fluids available on the market. Each of them has different properties, including boiling point.

Before adding fluid, make sure the expansion tank and surrounding area are clean to avoid contaminants entering the system. Then gently unscrew the expansion tank cover and add fluid to the recommended level.

Decreasing brake fluid level is a natural phenomenon. As the brake pads wear, the pistons come out, and this is where the fluid that is lost from the reservoir accumulates. In such a situation, adding fluid is a mistake – provided, of course, that the level has not dropped below the minimum.

Effects of incorrect brake fluid replacement

We already know how often to change the brake fluid, but it is good to be aware of what can happen if we do it wrong. The most common problems include:

  • Air in the braking system – incorrect replacement of the brake fluid may lead to air in the system, which is a serious threat because air in the braking system significantly reduces braking effectiveness, and in extreme cases may lead to a complete loss of brakes.
  • Damage to seals of braking system components – using the wrong type of brake fluid may damage seals and other components of the braking system, which in turn may lead to leaks and failures.
  • Corrosion of the braking system – brake fluid that remains in the system for too long or is contaminated may accelerate the corrosion of metal elements of the braking system, which consequently leads to their premature wear and the need to replace them.
  • Reduced braking performance: Moisture in the brake fluid lowers its boiling point, which in extreme situations, such as heavy braking, can lead to the fluid boiling and a temporary loss of braking effectiveness.

Remember that maintaining the correct condition and level of brake fluid is crucial for road safety. In case of any doubts about the condition of the fluid or how to replace it, it is recommended to use the services of a professional car service.

Regularly replacing brake fluid is crucial for driving safety. This process, although simple, requires precision and attention. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or use the services of a service center, remember that this is an investment in your safety and the safety of other road users. Let’s not ignore this obligation and let’s make sure that the brake fluid in our vehicle is regularly checked and replaced.

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