Proctor Car Tips: Brake Fluid

Welcome to another episode to Proctor Car Tips. Today we're going to be speaking about break fluid and it's importance.

The importance of brake fluid is that when you hit your pedal it actually uses hydraulic force to squeeze the brake pads on the rotor which then causes the car to stop.

To check your brake fluid, usually you'll pop the hood of the car and it will be somewhere along the back line of the firewall, which is by your windshield.  Usually it has a grey cap on most models. Some of them vary in color. A lot of the time it will say DOT 3, DOT 4, or DOT 5 on the cap and it will be a small reservoir. On the side of it, you can take a flashlight to look, it will have a minimum and maximum fluid range. You would like it to be somewhere in that range. You don't necessarily always want it to the maximum. As your brake pads wear the fluid level will come down so as long as it is in between those two bars, you should be in good shape.

If you don't change your brake fluid, usually what happens is since brake fluid is hydrascopic, it naturally pulls moisture out of the atmosphere into your brake fluid and it naturally absorbs all of that. Then it gets water mixed in which then makes it less dense, which then causes it not to be as responsive. So when you hit your brake pedal it doesn't squeeze as fast or hard on your brake calipers.  

It's difficult to determine if your brake fluid on your own. Looking at it can give you some determination if it's dark, but usually you want to have it professionally tested. Most places have some sort of system to test it, be it an electronic device or PH strips that actually test the water level in your fluid.

Most manufacturers recommend about every three years. That does vary by manufacturer. Some do it by mileage but most places do it by years. Just check that with your vehicle manufacturer.

You have three different types of brake fluid: DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5. DOT 5 fluid is a fully synthetic fluid. It doesn't actually absorb moisture out of the air but it will get water pocket stains in lines. The other difference is its boiling point. The boiling point of DOT 5 is much higher, but it is a full synthetic so it's not good for most cars. So with it you find you'll find it usually in big trucks and heavy equipment. DOT 3 and DOT 4 is what you usually find in conventional vehicles. With those, the difference is the boiling point and its water absorption range. Usually most manufacturers will recommend either or. DOT 3 or DOT 4 is usually safe to use in most vehicles.

It's better to have your brake fluid flushed and than bled. Bleeding the fluid actually just makes sure there is no air in your lines. Flushing your fluid is better because it gets all the fluid out and it gets all of the moisture out of your lines. In the old days they would just have to bleed the line, but as technology and knowledge of brake fluid advances, they recommend flushing the lines out because all of the fluid has moisture in it which then causes it to be less dense and can cause rust in the lines.

Thanks for watching this episode of Proctor Car Tips! Visit our YouTube Channel, and subscribe if you like what you see! As always, if you have any questions, please comment below.
Categories: Service, News


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