If you take good care of your brakes, they are going to take good care of you when you need it most. Apart from brake pads, callipers, and hoses, there is one bit of regular maintenance that many people forget about, and that is brake fluid flushing. It is a simple procedure and it is done on a set schedule for all vehicles. Here is the how and why behind brake fluid flushing so you know what to expect when the maintenance interval comes up on your car or truck.
Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture. Through regular braking and the shrinking of parts due to wear and tear, like your brake pads and rotors, air makes its way into the brake system, bringing along with it moist humid air from our coastal climate. Since the brake lines and all parts of the braking system are made of metal they are prone to rust, and rusty brake components can seize and cause catastrophic failure. Besides rust on the brake components, the simple act of stopping the car through friction between the brake pads and rotors can cause the moisture in the brake fluid to boil, creating vapour that can get in the way of proper operation. When we completely drain and refill the brake fluid, we are removing moisture from the brake lines to help your brakes last longer and perform at the highest level.
A brake fluid flush should be done every two years. When you bring your vehicle in for its regular maintenance we will use a brake fluid tester to check for moisture content (most testers give a failed reading when the moisture level reaches 4%) and we will do a visual inspection to check the colour of the brake fluid. When we see brown, black, or grey fluid it confirms that it is time for a flush to introduce new crystal clear brake fluid into your brake system.
Waiting for Symptoms? Don’t.
You really do not want to wait until there are external symptoms, only because the main symptom of extremely high brake fluid moisture levels would be brake system failure, which would put you in extreme danger. One thing to watch out for is the brake fluid warning light on the dashboard (as seen in the above image). That light comes on when the brake fluid is low, which is caused by a leak in the brake line. This is a very serious problem that should be addressed at the shop immediately. When there is a leak in the line, every time you depress your brake pedal the pressure will be forced out the crack instead of to your brakes, causing unresponsive braking and eventually brake failure.