When to Change Brake Fluid

Jonell Samara
Jonell Samara Car
8 Min Read

Every driver will eventually have car problems and one of the most common ones that you will encounter is brake flush. Brake flush is when you need to drain your entire brake system of the old brake fluid and refill it with new brake fluid.

A brake system contains three major components.

  1. Rotor
  2. Caliper
  3. Brake pads

When you press down on the brake, it sends an indication to the caliper which makes the two pads clamp down on the brake disc or the rotor, slowing down the car’s momentum forward. It is nearly impossible for this system to work without brake fluid. Since the entire system is a hydraulic press, it requires brake fluid to convert the force into pressure. So, now we know how important brake fluid is.

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Source: Unsplash

1. How do I know if my brake fluid needs changing?

When you wear down your brake fluid, it affects your brake pad’s performance. You can hear a loud noise when the brakes are pulled down. Another telltale sign may be that the brakes take up more time for you to stop after you initially press down on the brake pedal. This standard gives you all the requirements for a fluid in use for a hydraulic brake system.

2. Signs That You Need to Change Your Brake Fluid

2.1. Soft/Bouncy Brake Pedal

When you press down on your brake pedal if it feels soft or bouncy or even loose, maybe, then this is a sign that you need to change your brake fluid. If you need to press the brake pedal all the way down to the floor, then this means that you need to change your brake fluid.

2.2. ABS Dashboard Light

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The ABS dashboard light is a sign that there is an issue with your anti-lock braking system. This system stops your brakes from locking up when braking. Low brake fluid will make your ABS malfunction and this will stop your brakes from functioning properly.

2.3. Ineffective Braking Performance

Brakes should be quick and responsive to work well in case of an emergency. If you notice that your brakes aren’t responding with the same speed that they used to when you first bought your car, then that is a sign that you need to change the brake fluid.

2.4. Strange Noises or Strange Smells After Braking

If you notice strange sounds when you are applying your brakes, then that is a sign that you need to change your brake fluid. If you get a burning smell after a hard brake, it means that your brake fluid is burnt out, and if you choose not to replace it soon, then this could lead to brake failure.

3. Routine Maintenance for the Brake Fluid Reservoir

Or you can always rely on the maintenance. Brake fluid reservoirs need new fluid every 2 years or 30,000 miles. So, if you do not notice any of the above signs, then just change the brake fluid every two years. Routine maintenance also depends on the way you drive. For example, if you drive shorter routes with regular braking, you may need frequent brake fluid flushes. You can check your owner’s manual for any brake fluid information specific to your vehicle. 

How to do a Complete Brake Flush and Bleed

4. Types of brake fluid flushes

4.1. Chemical flush

A chemical brake fluid flush is when a chemical such as denatured alcohol is used to flush the brakes and restore the condition of the brake fluid. This standard shows you what needs to be done in order to properly flush a hydraulic system

4.2. Routine maintenance flush:

A routine maintenance brake flush is where old or dirty brake fluid is completely drained and replaced with clean brake fluid.

The flushing procedure is repeated until the clean and new brake fluid starts to flow to the brakes, this is what signifies a successful flush. The operation must be performed on each of the four brakes before reinstalling the wheels.

5. Frequently Asked Questions:

5.1. What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Brake Fluid?

Despite all of your brake fluid working daily, it is important that your brakes keep working properly. In time, fuel may burn out, be damaged, or be polluted, which could hinder brake function.

5.2. Can Brake Fluid Last 5 Years?

Usually, brake fluids need to be changed every two years, it is encouraged to be checked periodically during oil changes so you can expect it to be changed every five to seven years. Symptoms of a brake fluid leak include fluids that smell burnt and lack transparency.

5.3. Is a Brake Fluid Flush Really Necessary?

Are brake fluid flushes necessary? It’s certainly yes. This braking device uses hydraulic fluid to increase your brake force and help prevent heavy and fast-moving vehicles from moving, especially in case of emergencies, and this could literally save your life.

5.4. Will Changing Brake Fluid Improve Braking?

Yes, changing brake fluid will exponentially improve your vehicle’s braking performance. As time passes, brake fluid may accumulate moisture and dirt, leading to a lowered boiling point and diminished brake performance. By replacing the brake fluid and cleansing the system, the efficiency and responsiveness of the braking system can be reinstated. It is recommended by car manufacturers to change brake fluid every two years to ensure proper and efficient braking performance.

6. Consequences Of Not Changing The Fluid

If you do not change the brake fluid, the moisture that over time is absorbed and accumulated by the fluid builds up throughout the braking system. As the water content continues to increase, the boiling point of the brake fluid becomes lower. It will cause overheating and will make the fluid boil, slowly and surely making your brakes inefficient.

Allowing the water to build up and remain stagnant in the vehicle will cause internal corrosion, and this will damage the master cylinder, callipers, brake lines, and many other components. Replacing those will take a significant amount of your money

7. Summary

In summary, changing your brake fluid is a major component for maintaining your car in good condition and preventing many issues further down the line. We hope this article helped you understand why and how you need to change brake fluid, how frequently to change it, and potential warning signs that you should get that done immediately. 

Last Updated on by rahuldey7417

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