Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that is used in Hydraulic brake and clutch systems. It plays an important role in the braking system and the vehicles’ security.
This type of fluid does not compress when a force is applied to it and hence transfers the braking force to the pistons which push the brake pads.
Without it, the brake does not work, even if you press like a madman on the pedal!!
Brake fluid´s importance:
As explained above, brake fluid converts the force that is applied to the brakes into pressure and transfers it to the brake pads through the piston.
It also performs the same function when a force is applied to the clutch.
Another major function of brake fluid is to protect the brake system components- which are made up of cast iron- from corrosion and wear.
This will be achieved by minimizing the heat produced due to friction by lubricating these metal parts.
Brake fluid is used in automobiles, heavy trucks, bikes, cycles, and almost all the means of transportation that are in use nowadays as all modern vehicles use the hydraulic system of brakes and clutches.
Now in practice….
Now that we know that the brake fluid is important for the vehicle functioning and foremost for your safety, you would like to know when you should refill it or replace it.
Actually, there are no set times to change the brake fluid, however, it is good to check it during regular oil check-ups and there are certain signs you should look for that are sure to let you know that your vehicle needs the brake fluid to be changed.
· If the ABS light on the dashboard lights up.
· If you hear the squealing sound when you hit the brakes.
· If you smell a chemical odor when you press the brakes.
· If the brake of your vehicle is too soft or too hard.
The brake fluid of the vehicle is stored in the brake master reservoir that is placed right behind the engine firewall of the vehicle. You can fill the brake fluid there if the level of it seems to have gone down, however it is advised that an expert should be consulted for the matter.
Brake fluid types
There are fundamentally two different types of brake fluids that are in use nowadays: Glycol or Silicon-based Brake fluid.
The names of their fluids are DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT5.1, and DOT 5 respectively. The major difference between them is that the brake fluid DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT5.1 are based on glycol as the main component whereas the DOT 5 brake fluid is based on silicon.
Another difference is that the DOT 3, DOT4, and DOT5.1 are hygroscopic, which means that they can absorb water however the Dot 5 is hydrophobic and does not absorb water.
Here is a comparison of the different brake fluids characteristics
In conclusion, you need to remember that different vehicles require different kinds of brake fluids, you must choose the one which suits your vehicle the best. To ensure your safety, make sure to regularly consult an expert and get your vehicle’s brake fluid along with other parameters checked.
Your Forsch Team