Function of Brake Fluid

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April 30, 2024
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Can Brake Fluid Go Bad?

When you're driving, it's easy to forget about brake fluid, but it's important for your car. Understanding what brake fluid does, why it's necessary, and how to take care of it is key to making sure your car runs safely and smoothly.

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid used in the brake and clutch systems of cars and other vehicles. It transfers the force you apply to the brake pedal directly onto the wheel hub, slowing or stopping your vehicle. Brake fluid operates under hot temperatures and high pressure and is an indispensable component of your car's safety system.

Does Brake Fluid Need Replaced?
Brake fluid can deteriorate over time. It absorbs moisture from the environment through the microscopic pores in the hoses, joints, and seals of the brake system. The water accumulation lowers the brake fluid's boiling point, which can lead to brake fading or failure in extreme conditions. Neglecting the condition of your brake fluid can lead to serious problems. The most significant risk is brake failure, which can occur if the fluid becomes overly contaminated with water, reducing the effectiveness of your entire brake system. Additionally, moisture-induced corrosion can lead to costly repairs in the future.

Signs Your Brake Fluid May Be Going Bad
Watch out for signs indicating that your brake fluid might need attention:

  • Soft or spongy brake pedal: If the brake pedal feels soft or spongy, it could mean that air has entered the brake lines, often due to low or contaminated brake fluid.
  • ABS light: The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) light on your dashboard can signal issues with the brake fluid.
  • Unusual noises when braking: Squealing or grinding noises during braking can sometimes point to brake fluid issues.
  • Reduced braking efficiency: If your car takes longer to stop than usual, it's a sign that the brake fluid needs to be checked.

You should replace brake fluid every two years or 24,000 miles, depending on your vehicle's make and model, driving conditions, and the type of fluid you use. Always refer to your vehicle manual for specific recommendations.

Brake fluid is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and labeled by boiling point. DOT 3 brake fluid is a glycol-ether-based fluid, which has a high boiling point to facilitate effective braking and is compatible with most passenger vehicles. It also tends to be less expensive than other brake fluids. A high-performance vehicle may require a DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 brake fluid, which has a higher boiling point.

Milex: Your Go-To for Brake Fluid Maintenance
Our team of experienced technicians understands the complexities of brake systems across various vehicle makes and models. We use only high-quality brake fluids and parts, ensuring your vehicle receives the best care. In addition to replacing your brake fluid, we also conduct a thorough inspection of your entire brake system, including pads, discs, and lines.

Our edge lies in our commitment to education and transparency. We believe in servicing your vehicle and helping you understand the 'why' and 'how' of our services. Our approach ensures you're informed about your vehicle's maintenance needs so you can make knowledgeable decisions.

At Milex, we're equipped to handle the maintenance and repair of your vehicle. From fluid checks and changes to more complex repairs, our skilled technicians ensure your car runs smoothly, prolonging the life of your vehicle and maintaining its performance.

Find a Milex Near You
Trust Milex to keep your brake system, including the brake fluid, in optimal condition to keep you safe on the road. Find a Milex location near you today.

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