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All you need to know about brake fluid

Your car's braking system is a crucial safety component, acting as the last line of defense between you and potential hazards on the road. At TurboBrakes Mobile Brake Repair, we recognize the importance of proper brake fluid maintenance in ensuring the safety of you, your passengers, and others on the road. Let's delve into the significance of brake fluid, its types, and the essential maintenance practices.


Understanding Brake Fluid: A Vital Component in Your Braking System

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid integral to hydraulic braking systems, transferring force into pressure to bring your vehicle to a complete stop when the brakes are engaged. Routine flushes and replacements of brake fluid are essential for modern braking systems, and neglecting this maintenance can compromise your vehicle's ability to stop effectively.


The Role of Brake Fluid: Beyond Just Stopping Your Car

Brake Fluid Helps Your Car Stop

The brake fluid and the hydraulic braking system work together to bring your vehicle to a stop. As pressure is applied to the brake pedal, a rod forces a piston into the cylinder, generating pressure throughout the hydraulic system. Brake fluid is then forced into the brake lines, reaching the caliper pistons, which apply force to the brake pads, slowing down the entire vehicle.

Brake Fluid Prevents Rust & Corrosion

Most brake fluids are hygroscopic, adept at absorbing moisture. This not only lubricates the braking system's moving parts but also prevents corrosion and rust. Moisture can enter the system through brake line leaks or broken seals in the master cylinder or caliper.


Types of Brake Fluid: Choosing the Right One

Brake fluid comes in several forms: DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5, and DOT 5.1.

DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1 are glycol-based fluids that absorb water and are commonly used in modern vehicles. DOT 5 is a silicone-based fluid that doesn't absorb water and is suitable for classic cars and those requiring non-petroleum-based brake fluids. Additives blended into brake fluid prevent corrosion, rust, wear, and may act as acid neutralizers. Most brake fluid caps state the brake fluid DOT number required. If you are unsure, check the owner's manual or ask a qualified professional.


When to Change Your Brake Fluid: A Crucial Maintenance Schedule

Your car's owner manual specifies the type of brake fluid required and the recommended intervals for flushes and replacements. In general, brake fluid flushes are advised every 30,000 miles or two years. However, driving habits and braking patterns can influence the frequency of required brake fluid changes.

Signs You Need Brake Fluid Service:

  • ABS or Brake Light Illuminates: Check your brake fluid if the ABS or brake dashboard light is on.

  • Changes in Brake Pedal: A soft, loose, bouncy, or spongy brake pedal indicates low or deteriorating brake fluid.

  • Strong Burning Smell & Loud Sounds: A burnt smell or unusual brake sounds may signal the need for brake fluid replacement.

  • Ineffective Braking: Sudden changes in brake performance may be attributed to low or dirty brake fluid, warped rotors, or worn components.




mercedes Amg brakes

How to Check and Add Brake Fluid: A Simple Maintenance Step

Follow these steps to check and add brake fluid:

  • Locate the brake master cylinder on the driver's side against the firewall.

  • Inspect the fluid level against the fill line on the reservoir or inside the metal cap (for older vehicles).

  • If low, add brake fluid to the full line temporarily.

  • Replace the cap, close the hood, and consider having your brakes inspected for potential issues.


It is normal for the brake fluid level in the reservoir to go down slowly over time as brake pads wear down. However, if fluid is dropping rapidly then there may be a leak and the car is NOT safe to drive.


At TurboBrakes Mobile Brake Repair, your safety is our priority. For brake-related concerns, contact us at 704-776-6394 or email Alex@TurboBrakesLKN.com. Visit TurboBrakesLKN.com to learn more and ensure your braking system remains in optimal condition.


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