4 reasons why you should flush your brake fluid

Q: I recently had my oil changed at a quick lane in Mundelein, and I was told I need to flush the brake fluid. I’ve never heard of that before. Is that maintenance that I should be doing?

A: Yes, we recommend periodically flushing brake fluid to remove dirty, contaminated fluid from the system, especially on today’s vehicles with ABS and traction control. Here’s why you should flush your brake fluid:

  1. Brake fluid is “hygroscopic,” which means it actively attracts moisture from the air. This is often touted as the main reason to change your brake fluid. Because many parts of your braking system are made of metal, flushing the brake fluid can prevent corrosion and failure of those metal components.
  2. As brake fluid ages and becomes contaminated with small particles, the boiling point of the fluid goes down. This reduces your braking performance, which you might not notice for awhile, but every inch counts when it comes to braking. In extreme cases, it can lead to the brakes not working at all.
  3. As your ABS and traction control systems activate, they generate heat, which further breaks down the fluid.
  4. Anti-lock braking (ABS) and traction control components are sensitive to moisture and small particulates from contaminated fluid. We recommend flushing the fluid before it can damage these pricey parts. An ABS module, for example, usually costs several hundred dollars, and at Auto Lab in Libertyville, we try to keep our clients from having to sink funds into a repair like that.

How do you know when it’s time for a brake fluid flush? At Auto Lab in Libertyville, we visually check the fluid to see how translucent — or how black — it is. And we also use test strips, which measures the moisture content in your brake fluid.

Not sure if you need a brake fluid flush? Call Auto Lab in Libertyville today at 847-367-4488, or if you’re in need of an appointment, schedule online.

 

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