A brake flush is one of the most important things you can do …. for your vehicle.
Did you know the average motorist who drives 20,000 km a year uses their brakes about 75,000 times a year?
Brake fluid is one of the most neglected fluids in vehicles today. The longer the brake fluid is in the lines, reservoir, calipers and ABS module, the more exposure to moisture. Metal components in your brake system can become contaminated by brake fluid that has not been flushed due to oxidation. In order to protect the internal components from oxidation and keep the system operating reliably and safely, a flush will keep the system protected. Moisture lowers the boiling temperature of brake fluid, and that can reduce braking effectiveness in repeated hard stops.
Here are some tips:
- Brake fluid is based on time, not kilometers driven. Consult your owner’s manual, most recommend every 2 years for brake fluid flush interval.
- What does your brake fluid look like? Open the hood, and then open the reservoir. The reservoir is typically located on the driver’s side of the vehicle above where your brake pedal will be. Brake fluid should be clear or translucent. If the fluid is rust-colored, moisture is present and a flush is due.
- At Motor Werke, we test your transmission fluid with a refractometer which tells us the moisture content of the fluid. When brake fluid reaches 2% moisture content, there is enough moisture in the brake system to cause damage due to oxidation (corrosion). This amount of moisture in the brake fluid can also cause the fluid to boil. It is also possible, on extended braking periods (such as coming down a mountain or steep hill), that the moisture in the fluid could cause a soft pedal and partial loss of braking. As the moisture content increases the potential for air in the system also increases, the possibility of expensive repairs and reduced braking performance and capabilities increases. It’s not uncommon for us to see 4% moisture content in many vehicles and some have never had a brake fluid flush performed!
- Brake flushing and bleeding the brakes are two different procedures. A brake flush involves removing all the brake fluid from the system and getting all-new, clean fluid inside. Brake bleeding just means removing enough brake fluid to get air bubbles out of the brake lines. Once again, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to be sure you are using the correct “DOT” fluid. (some vehicles use DOT 3 and some use DOT 4).
- ABS brake systems should also be tested for copper content. When the copper content exceeds set limits the chances of damage to expensive hydraulic components rises. If you are told that your brake fluid needs to be flushed, it has failed one or both of these two tests.
It is for these reasons that all manufacturers recommend minimum intervals of two years for a brake flush and pressure bleed. There are some manufacturers that recommend brake fluid renewal every year, Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and Lamborghini typically fit into the annual category due to the extreme braking and high load that these cars endure on the track where they were designed to be driven.