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The Importance of Brake Fluid in Cars

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brake fluid in cars

Brake fluid

It is a fluid whose main function is to allow the force exerted from the brake pedal to be transmitted to the wheel cylinders, thus allowing effective braking.

The brake fluid must be kept in good condition and for this, it is necessary to change it periodically. In this sense, one of the main factors that should be reviewed is the boiling point. The more heat generated and the higher the temperature reached by the brake fluid, the easier it will be to boil, causing the appearance of bubbles that decrease the effectiveness of braking.

Another of the factors that most affect brake fluids are that they have hygroscopic properties, that is, they react chemically to water, which is affected by ambient humidity. Therefore, professionals of the automotive industry recommend it to change them every 2 years or 60,000 kilometres, depending on their state.

Types of brake fluids

Another point to keep in mind is that you should always use the brake fluid according to each vehicle, that is, the one recommended by the manufacturer. Using the wrong, expired, or dirty brake fluid can cause serious damage to the system, so it is recommended that you remove all the fluid, clean the system and refill it with the correct fluid.

The brake fluid oversees transmitting the pressure exerted to the other components of the braking system, so manufacturers recommend that it be checked and replaced after two years.

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The fact that manufacturers recommend a brake fluid replacement of between two and four years (better always two), often makes them forget its importance. In general, much more attention is paid to the pads and discs or, in the purely mechanical and preventive maintenance part, to the oil or fuel filters, which must be changed much more regularly.

But the fact that the brake fluids have a longer useful life does not mean that they do not have to be checked with a certain frequency, taking into account their function, which is none other than transmitting the pressure exerted to the other components of the braking system and that they work correctly.


The braking systems of modern vehicles are advanced enough today that factors that reduce the life of brake fluid do not affect them. We mainly talk about high temperatures, humidity, and dirt. High temperatures would have their incidence, to the point of being able to leave the car without brakes, in the event of reaching boiling temperature, something highly improbable. The automotive industry has evolved so much that brakes are much more technologically advanced compared even to 10 years ago.

But humidity can relatively affect it, since over time it mixes with water, causing the system to lose effectiveness. And as for the dirt particles that can affect you, there is not much that the user can do to avoid it, so the only thing left is to change the brake fluid on time, approximately every two years.

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How is the brake fluid changed?

It is not an operation that involves too much complication for a mechanic, but it is not convenient for a user to carry it out on their own if they do not have the necessary knowledge. It is always better to contact experts in the cash for cars industry if you lack the proper knowledge and experience. The first part of the task does not involve anything strange. Remove the old liquid from the container and add the new one following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

When replacing it, check that the brake fluid level is adequate by bleeding the callipers.

Sometimes you must raise the car and remove all four wheels to bleed the callipers, for which the help of a second person is required to press the brake pedal fully during the operation. This is the only way to check that the brake fluid level is adequate.

Lastly, it should be noted that almost 3 out of every 10 cars currently circulate with brake fluid in poor condition, so if a user comes to the workshop reporting squeaks when braking or the pedal is too soft, we have a great candidate for be the cause of the problem: the brake fluid.

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