The brake pedal almost goes to the floor and your car still has to stop? Maybe time has come to check the car's braking system and, in particular, the brake fluid's conditions.
The correct performance of the discs, pads, calipers and brake master cylinder relies in fact on the brake fluid's lubricating behaviour and by its capacity to protect the main system's parts from corrosion due to condensation. This is an element that is often overlooked or topped up superficially without paying attention to its deterioration, while instead properly checking the fluid can protect the health of the entire braking system and ensure the braking efficiency.
WHEN - AND WHY - CHANGE THE BRAKE FLUID
The time needed to break increases in … time. It is not a play on words: the brake fluid deteriorates rather quickly loosing part of its initial properties. The main cause is its hygroscopicity, that is the characteristic of absorbing humidity that then turns into water vapor (long before the boiling point that is shown on the braking fluid's packaging is reached) and causes a dangerous increase in the pedal's travel, with a corresponding loss in performance and prompt braking response.
It is therefore a standard to advise the brake fluid's replacement according to the specifications provided by the Manufacturer. Such suggestions can vary according to type of product being used. The brake fluid's deterioration is quite fast even if the amount of water present is limited. Therefore, generally we suggest carrying out the replacement after an interval of time between 2 or 3 years.
Obviously, if the Vapor Lock (early boiling of the fluid due to humidity) or other severe use conditions capable of accelerating the product's deterioration had to take place, it will be better to bring forward the moment when to change the brake fluid.
7 ADVICES FOR CHECKING AND CHANGING THE BRAKE FLUID
Resistance to the Vapor Lock to oxidizing, anti-corrosive properties and a boiling point higher than the required standards: Brembo's braking fluids rely on quality to provide you with a safe braking under any condition. Our experience instead offers you seven easy suggestions on how to go about in the check and replacement operations.
- Before replacing the brake pads, it is wise to check the brake fluid's level, especially if the pads no longer have their wear indicators.
- Before repositioning the brake cylinders, remove from the reservoir the brake fluid in excess. In this way, the fluid will be prevented from overflowing from the reservoir.
- If the brake fluid level is higher than expected, check if it has already been topped up.
- The brake fluid's ideal level is between the minimum sign (to which it must never get close to) and the maximum level sign. Anyhow, it is best to keep in mind that if the level had to get close to the minimum it is not necessarily due to an insufficient amount of liquid. On the contrary, it could be due to the wear of the friction materials such as the discs and the pads, with a corresponding increase of the brake fluid in the system compared with the amount in the reservoir. Before topping up the fluid, it is therefore wise to check the status of the other components of the braking system.
- Try to avoid letting the brake fluid fall onto the bodywork as it attacks the paint.
- Keep the tank cap open just long enough to check / top up, as the brake fluid is hygroscopic.
- Use, if possible, a new or freshly opened bottle of brake fluid.
Finally, an advice aiming at, in this case, preserving the health of who likes to carry out do-it-yourself work: the brake fluid is for its very nature very corrosive, therefore handle it with great care and make sure it doesn't come in contact with the skin, the clothes, mechanical parts and the car's bodywork.