A brake is used to slow down a vehicle to a stop. When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the force is transmitted from the car to the brake calipers and pads through a fluid. The fluid travels to slave cylinders at each wheel and fills them, forcing pistons out to apply the brakes. Brakes transmit force to tires by using friction. Modern vehicle have a hydraulic brake system on all four wheels. There are two types of brakes; disk or drum brakes.
What is brake fluid?
Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in brakes and hydraulic clutch applications in automobiles. It is used to transfer force applied to the brake pedal by the driver into pressure exerted on the brake system, and to intensify braking power. Brake fluid is efficient and works because liquids are not appreciably compressible. Additionally brake fluid serves as a lubricant for all removable parts and prevents corrosion, which allows braking systems to function for longer periods of time.
How often should brake fluid be flushed?
Brake fluid should be changed every two years, this prevents brake failure and maintains the boiling point at a safe level. Periodic flushing and refilling is necessary for car maintenance.
Brake fluid needs to be flushed because the brake system is not indestructible. The rubber in the valves in the components of the brake system eventually deteriorates. These sediments end up in the brake fluid, or the fluid itself gets old and worn out. Moisture can invade the brake system, which can lead to rust formation. Eventually, the rust will flake off, into the brake fluid. These flakes or sediments can cause brake fluid to have a brown, sudsy and muddy appearance. If not flushed this causes a brake system to be ineffective and have decreased stopping power.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Often Does My Brake Fluid Need a Flush? and was authored by Keisha Page.