How do I know if the brake fluid needs to be changed? The mistake that many drivers make

No matter how hard you pump… the brake pedal is soft! The braking force is faulty. It remains to find out why. However, you have chosen a model with the ABS and ESP systems: they of course guarantee braking distance and vehicle care, but do not release you from the diligent maintenance of all the organs of your brakes involved in smooth response. This way you can create your check and maintenance list without necessarily having to go to the workshop.

Press the brake pedal

Maintaining your car is the guarantee of a return on investment. In competition, all racing clubs in the world adhere to this: a machine always on point, a checklist in hand, everything is scrutinized. Without going that far, it is recommended to service the braking system (every two years or every 30,000 km). The latter is admittedly complex: it uses mechanical parts (pads, calipers, cylinders) subject to wear and a pressurized hydraulic circuit (hoses, seals, rubber) that absorbs moisture and can drill.

How do I check and maintain my brakes?

If you ignore this signal on the dashboard, you are putting yourself in unnecessary danger

Maybe you missed the signs on the dashboard: the sign lit up (!): Brakes defective, don’t panic! Now it’s time to lift the hood and look for the brake circuit glass. Do not confuse it with that of the coolant, which is more impressive. Our tank is approximately 1 liter in size and has a black lid. The liquid is stored there and possibly refilled.

How do your brakes work?

Pressing a pedal activates a hydraulic pump. It applies pressure to a fluid (brake fluid) that acts on the brake calipers (types of shoes). They surround the brake disc with pads. This mechanical effect on the wheel’s master cylinder slows down your ride. For our breakdown, these components are not faulty: no smell of burning, no noise or smoke  However, do not forget about the wear and tear of these parts, especially the pads. It is the fluid system that is to blame, now check the level . Markings are on the container, information on the “Builder’s Booklet”. If the level is too low, wait a bit until you’re done and look at the appearance of the liquid. It is designed to be incompressible and must withstand the forces exerted by the brake lever. Result: The pedal sinks and resists.

The brake system bleeders shown here are brake calipers and master cylinders

What is brake fluid? How do I choose it?

Fluid chemistry varies from vehicle to vehicle. It responds to international codification. It takes into account its properties, especially its boiling point: which is the furthest from water at 100 ° C. The pressure releases heat, your liquid should not start to boil.

It was introduced by the US Department of Transportation and begins with the acronym “DOT”. Mineral origin for old cars (DOT 1 or 2), most others make do with synthetic bases (DOT 3 and 4) such as glycol, which protects the rubber seals. Finally, other newer silicone-based ones (DOT 5 and 5.1) also fight against the enemy of the circuit: moisture. Viscosity is also a fundamental element. When the liquid is thicker it reacts more slowly (DOT 3 and 4), when it is liquid it reacts a little faster (DOT 5 and 5.1).

When should the brake fluid be changed?

At this stage of the inspection the aspect is essential: in normal condition it is transparent. If you notice mineral deposits or other contaminants: Drain the entire system and change the fluid  . Use this to possibly adopt a liquid with the DOT 5.1 logo.

The brake fluid reservoir

On the other hand, if there is a noise when opening, air bubbles may have entered the system… A flush is required. Valves are located, among other things, at the level of the brake calipers or the master brake cylinder. A screwdriver and you’re done. If the error persists, it means that corrosion must have attacked the metal parts or the hoses or seals are leaking. Drainage and careful inspection of all organs are essential!

You got it, to be sure that it brakes, regular checks are necessary. Your attention also goes to the hydraulic system. Check the level and appearance of the brake fluid, choose the quality suitable for your vehicle and carry out a regular inspection, such as: B. change the oil no more than twice a year. Your personal to-do list is activated: your security is guaranteed.