Automakers generally recommend changing your car’s brake fluid every now and then. Lots of car owners dismiss this activity as unnecessary, but what if you knew there were almost definitely downsides to neglecting it? Following is a look at exactly why vehicular brake fluid needs changing, and how it helps keep your car running in proper order.
When and Why it is Necessary?
Brake fluid is needed to keep the brakes in your car lubricated so that they can function properly. In time, small pieces flaking off of your calipers and cylinder can degrade this fluid by thickening and sometimes even clogging it. Its performance drops, as does the chance for good braking.
For this reason, just like engine oil, your brake fluid too needs to be replaced through flushing. Another reason is that water can mix with the fluid, and cause the metal parts to rust, which must be avoided. The latter is a significant safety issue; if rust occurs, it could accelerate buildup in the fluid. If you kept driving this car beyond a certain point you would not get ample stopping power. Moreover, the brake components would take a lot of wear and eventually need replacing.
Brake fluid flushing involves manually removing the old fluid and throwing it away in an approved chemical disposal unit. Then, the reservoir is filled with new brake fluid that is capable of delivering high stopping power, increasing breaking effectiveness.
How Often Should It Be Done?
Different automakers place different recommendations regarding this, based on either the amount of time the car is owned, or the number of miles it has been driven. Regardless, the best place to check is your car owner’s manual. Find out how often the manufacturer tells you to flush the brake fluid, and do so accordingly. If your manual has no recommendations, get a trusted mechanic to look your ride over and tell you how often is necessary.
Long-time mechanics are all too familiar with the damage that can happen with a car whose brake fluid has not been flushed in a long while. Listen to some of the stories if you have the stomach for them, and take away the most important lesson; do not put off a brake flush for more than 3 years or 30,000 miles. This is one of the many intricacies of optimizing brake performance.