Do you feel like your brakes aren’t as powerful anymore? You may have to change the brake fluid! This article will tell you how often. Keep up with your car maintenance, it’s time for a brake fluid change! Stay informed with this guide.
Brake fluid is key for a vehicle’s performance and safety. Keeping it clean is an absolute must. It can become contaminated due to moisture, dirt and debris. So, it’s important to change brake fluid regularly. The frequency varies depending on driving and environmental conditions, plus the type of brakes.
Here’s a guide to how often brake fluid needs to be changed for optimal safety and performance:
Reasons for Changing Brake Fluid
Changing brake fluid is an essential part of regular car maintenance. It’s recommended to change the brake fluid every 2 to 3 years, or 24,000 miles; whichever comes first. This ensures that the brakes are working well and respond when needed. The brake fluid should be changed in its entirety; partial changes are not enough to maintain safe brakes.
Why is it important to change the brake fluid regularly?
- To prevent corrosion – Brake fluid gradually wears down over time, leaving deposits on metal surfaces within the braking system. These deposits can lead to corrosion, weakening seals and other damage. This could cause brakes to fail when you need them the most.
- Improves braking performance – Accumulated deposits in the brake lines restrict the flow of the fluid, leading to slow response times or longer stopping distances. Regular changes guarantee a good flow, providing proper response times and shorter stopping distances.
- Extra protection – Most newer cars are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS). For this to function properly, it needs clean brake fluid with enough ‘boiling’ capacity so it won’t vaporize under heavy use. This provides protection when downhill mountain biking, or doing hot laps at a track event like drifting or autocrossing competitions. Clean and fresh brake fluid is essential.
Effects of Not Changing Brake Fluid
Changing brake fluid regularly is key to good brake performance. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and can corrode brake lines and other components like calipers, master cylinder, and wheel cylinders. Rust builds up in the lines and causes poor brake performance or even failure. Plus, ABS also suffers if brake fluid changes are not done frequently.
It’s recommended to have a mechanic flush and replace brake fluid every 25,000 miles or two years. This is especially relevant in winter climates, where salt from icy roads can cause faster corrosion and moisture build-up. Following the manufacturer’s suggestions and having frequent maintenance will keep you safe while driving and extend the life of your car’s braking system!
How to Check Brake Fluid
It is crucial to check your brake fluid for two reasons. Firstly, to detect if it needs changing. Secondly, to make sure the level is not too low, which could mean there’s a leak in the system. You can always contact a Johnson City mechanic. But if you are the DIY type, here are the steps to check the fluid quickly at home:
- Create a level surface with jacks or blocks.
- Find the brake master cylinder, usually behind the brake pedal.
- In some cars, you may need to disconnect something else to access it. Refer to the manual.
- Check that the fluid level is between max and min marks. If not, add more until it is. Replace the reservoir cap.
- Assess if any debris or discoloration is present. If there is, seek professional help as it could be dangerous.
How to Change Brake Fluid
Know when to change your brake fluid! This will help keep brakes working, and make them last longer. Generally, it should be changed every two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first). If your car is used a lot, like for racing or towing, change it more often.
- Prep – Get the right type of brake fluid. Plus, get new gaskets, a torque wrench and a container for used brake fluid.
- Drain – Find the master cylinder reservoir near the engine, and remove the cap. Then attach a tube to the cylinder, so old brake fluid can flow into the container.
- Inspect – Check for corrosion or damage inside the master cylinder reservoir. Clean any with an eraser.
- Leave Open – Keep the master cylinder open until ready to replace brake parts. This stops air entering and keeps the system dust-free.
- Replace & Add – Replace gaskets as instructed by the manual. Don’t over-tighten the bolts. Then, fill it with fresh brake fluid.
Cost of Changing Brake Fluid
Changing the brake fluid is a vital part of regular car maintenance. You can do it either at a professional auto shop or yourself – you just need to know how and have the right tools. Changing other parts of the brake system, like the master cylinder, calipers, cylinders and hoses, guarantees optimal performance.
The cost varies depending on the car and the labor. Normally, shops charge $50-$150 for a brake fluid change. Extra components will add to the cost. A DIY brake service can be cheaper, but be ready with the right tools – one mistake can damage a pricey part or cause future repairs.
Benefits of Changing Brake Fluid
Changing brake fluid is a must for your car’s brakes. It helps pressurize the brakes, helping you slow down or stop your car. But over time, the fluids get contaminated. This can lessen the system’s performance and increase risks.
Benefits of changing brake fluid:
- Pedal feel is improved.
- Operation gets smoother.
- Components are protected from corrosion.
- Repairs and replacements are less needed.
- Stopping power is increased.
- Risk of brake failure is lowered.
- Maintenance costs are reduced in the long run.
- An extra layer of safety is added.
- Response when braking in an emergency is quicker.
It’s important to service your vehicle’s brakes regularly – whatever type of driver you are.
For changing brake fluid, it’s best to follow your vehicle’s manufacturer’s schedule. This usually means every two years or 30,000 miles. The timing may vary a bit, so check your owner’s manual. Doing this will keep your brakes in top condition, give you peace of mind, and help other parts on your car last longer.
Having a professional inspect your brakes often is great for knowing their condition. Age and heat can wear down brake fluid faster than mileage. Older cars may need more frequent flushing or topping off of the brake reservoir with fresh fluid. Taking these steps ensures that you have reliable braking power when stopping at intersections, changing lanes, and in emergencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I change my brake fluid?
A: Generally, brake fluid should be changed every two years or 24,000 miles.
Q: What happens if I don’t change my brake fluid?
A: If you don’t change your brake fluid, it can become contaminated, leading to brake failure or other problems.
Q: What type of brake fluid should I use?
A: You should always use the type of brake fluid recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.