Car Care 101: 4 Things You Should Know About Changing Brake Fluids
Written By: Sean
April 24, 2015
If there’s one thing you must remember about owning a vehicle, it’s maintenance. That means you need to have your sweet ride, along with its muffler, radiator and tubes, checked regularly. And while you’re at it, why not have your car’s brake system checked as well in case the brake fluid needs some changing! Here are just some basic facts you should know about taking care of your car’s brake system.
What is brake fluid changing?
Brake fluid changing is the process of changing or flushing out old brake fluids in an automobile. Brake fluid is used to transmit pressure from the brake pedal to the pistons on the wheels, causing the braking motion that stops cars on its tracks.
Why should you change brake fluids?
What some people don’t realize is that not changing the brake fluid of their ride’s brake system can damage it. Brake fluids are basically hygroscopic; that is, it absorbs moisture from its surroundings. As time passes, the moisture in your brake fluid will cause the entire brake system to rust. Moreover, some moisture particles may break off and travel through your car’s system and cause further trouble.
When must you change brake fluids?
Changing brake fluids is an absolute must for all vehicles. Now there are two things that’ll indicate when to change your brake fluid. First is time period. Most vehicles can last up to 20,000 worth of mileage or up to two years without changing fluids. For example, Subaru mobiles need their brake fluids flushed every thirty thousand miles while Volkswagen needs fluid changing every two years. In any case, the best way to know your own ride’s brake system limits would be to contact your car manufacturer’s nearest service center and ask them. Or you can just ask your trusty mechanic, although they might recommend that you change fluids prematurely.
The second thing that’ll indicate that your car’s brake fluid needs changing would be the fluid color. New brake fluid is clear or golden, very much like cooking oil. Used brake fluid, however, is brownish. If the brake fluid in your system gets really dark that it’s almost black, better change it.
How can you change brake fluids?
Changing brake fluids can be done using three methods: two-person, vacuum, and pressure. In the two-person method, one person is outside the car beside the bleeder screw while the other is inside the car to push the pedal as needed. In the vacuum method, a vacuum device is used to suck out the fluid. And in the pressure method, you use pressure to push the old brake fluid down and out through the bleeder screw.
But before changing the fluid, it’s best if know your car’s DOT type first. If the manual specifies DOT 3, use only DOT 3. If DOT 5, use only DOT 5. Don’t ever mix them up! If you’re unsure what brake fluid your car uses, ask help from the manufacturer or your mechanic. And lastly, you’ll need other stuff like clean rags, a large syringe or turkey baster, and a fresh supply of new brake fluid.
Never delay car maintenance or fluid changes. Delaying these even once can cause serious (and sometimes massive) problems to your ride. And that’s one thing you don’t want to happen—ever!