What is the Brake Fluid?.
Brake fluid is important for driving all types of vehicles. For a driver to stop safely, a good brake system is required. Carmakers are designing the vehicles to have a lot of different engine power. Therefore, the operation of the brakes must be suitable and good enough to stop the horsepower of the engine as well. In case of the brake system is faulty, it may cause problems with the vehicle stopping or causing unsafe driving.
Therefore, you should regularly check the car’s brake system to ensure maximum safety when you drive the car on the road.
How do car brakes work?
Every time the driver presses his foot on the brake pedal, the pressure pass to the brake booster, which increases the pressure of the foot to the brake pressure valve. From then, the brake pump pushes the brake fluid through the brake pipes to the brake piston on each wheel and makes the car stop moving. You will see that it is a simple but effective system. It can easily stop a car weighing with a few hundred kilograms to tens of tons.
Therefore, it means that we apply the hydraulic system to the car’s brake system, the hydraulic oil is a specific grade for this system. There are many grades such as DOT3, 4, 5, 5.1. The driver needs to ensure the system is always ready to use by check the oil level, brake pad thickness, and condition of the brake booster. If the brake fluid level is lower than the max level, it must be added to the correct grade and the level specified by the car manufacturer.
How many grades of fluid?
Brake fluid has a grade called DOT, which is a standard set by The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The source of the DOT is the US Department of Transportation. The numbers are usually specified as DOT 3, 4, 5, 5.1.
The reason is that the brake fluid has different numbers because it has different heat resistance characteristics from 205-260 degrees Celsius. Therefore, cars with high speeds or frequent brakes will cause of high temperature, manufacturers will require higher DOT accordingly. Each grade of brake fluid will have a different color, for example, DOT 3-4 is amber, while DOT 5 will be purple.
What is causing oil deterioration?
The main components of brake fluid are glycol-ether (in DOT 3-4) and silicone-based (DOT 5). In the advantages of heat resistance, it has the disadvantage of absorbing moisture into it. The fluid with more moisture will cause the oil to have a lower boiling point. This causes the air is mix in the fluid. The air bubbles inside the brake pipeline cause difficult to brake when the brake fluid is hot.
Besides, the moisture causes wear and tear of the components inside the brake system, both metal and rubber, such as brake piston, brake valve and pipes, rubber parts in the cylinder.
Most cars today, whether manufactured in Europe, America or Asia, mainly use DOT4. If you want to know what grade your car is using, see the owner’s manual or see it on the brake fluid refill cap.
When should we refill brake fluid?
If you feel the need to press the brake pedal deeper than it used to, check the brake fluid in the its reservoir to see if it has come down from the max level. The cause of the fluid levels to fall is mainly due to brake pad wear. Thinner brake pads cause the brake cylinders to extend more than usual, resulting in more brake fluid being released from the storage tank. Therefore, you can add more oil to the max if you are sure that the brake pads are still thick enough for use. But if unsure, the mechanic should inspect.
When should we change the fluid?
All types of vehicles should change brake fluid according to the specified period. Which is on average 30,000 miles or 50,000 kilometers because it is the range in which the oil gets enough heat and moisture to cause it to deteriorate. If you continue to use these fluids, the braking results in emergency cases may be less secure and have more braking distances.
How to change brake fluid?
If you are not comfortable changing the fluid by yourself, you should take the car to the mechanic to do it for a specified amount of time, or about 30,000 miles or 50,000 kilometers.
In which, to change the new fluid, it should be flushed throughout the system by removing the wheels. You can do it yourself at home with these simple steps.
- New brake fluid, at least 1 liter.
- Pieces of Rag.
- Wrench for loosening valve brake bolts.
- Empty bottles for collecting old fluid.
- A small rubber hose.
- 1 assistant or, if done alone, should prepare a brake bleeder kit.
- Locate the fluid reservoir, most of which are in the same position as the brake booster. You can easily determine the position, which is right in front of the driver in the engine room.
- Remove the wheel to transfer the old oil and should always start from the rear wheel.
- Open the reservoir cover to prepare to add new fluid.
- Remove the rubber plug of the brake bleeder valve nut and use the hose to plug into the valve and insert the end of the hose into an empty bottle. Use a wrench to loosen the nut slightly enough for the oil to flow out.
- Tell the assistant to press the brake pedal 4-5 times, wait for air and fluid to flow into the empty bottle, then screw in the valve nut at this time. If you do not have an assistant, use a brake bleeder kit instead by plugging the hose of the kit to the brake valve and follow the instructions for use.
- Check and add new brake fluid to the reservoir. Then repeat step 5 until you see a new oil color, which should be amber. After tightening the bolts and close the rubber plug on the valve. Install the wheel, tighten the bolts
- Repeat steps 2-6 with other rear wheel and the remaining front wheels.
- Caution: Always refill the brake fluid every time you drain the old brake fluid and refill the fuel to the maximum level.
From the above information, you can see that the brake system is very important for driving. Therefore, you should have an understanding and know what to do maintenance and when is the schedule. You should have the car serviced within a proper time to ensure safe driving without causing accidents.