The Forgotten Fluid



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The Forgotten Fluid

Brake fluid is formulated with corrosion inhibitors to protect the hydraulic system and it should be replaced periodically. Over time the inhibitors are depleted, reducing the protection they provide. This could lead to brake system contamination.

 There are two types of contamination that affect brake performance:

Particulate contamination – These are minute particles created from physical wear, corrosion, and the breakdown of components within the hydraulic system.

Moisture contamination – Brake fluid is hygroscopic – which means it absorbs moisture. Moisture can be absorbed through rubber components such as brake hoses, caliper seals, and wheel cylinder cups.

Either type of contamination can cause serious problems and should be flushed from the system. Here are reasons why:

  • After corrosion inhibitors are severely depleted, corrosion of the internal components begins. This corrosion can pit the metal bores of the master cylinder, brake calipers, wheel cylinders or ABS components. This can lead to pistons not moving freely, seals being damaged, or the cylinders developing internal or external leaks.
  • As brake fluid absorbs moisture the boiling point is reduced and corrosion can occur.
  • Due to high temperatures created in a brake system, a reduced boiling point can cause the brake fluid to boil. This condition is referred to as “brake fade” and it can cause the driver to lose all or some of the brake pedal.

In the past, replacing a brake component was relatively inexpensive. Master cylinders could be purchased for $60 and approximately $30 labor to replace them. Many of today’s vehicles have ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems). ABS Hydraulic components can cost as much as $2500.00. This does not include the labor to replace them.

You can reduce the chance of an expensive repair by flushing your vehicle’s brake system and replacing the hydraulic fluid. It’s cheap insurance for the most important system on your vehicle.

At Stillwater Automotive Diagnostic Center we have the latest tools and techniques to test your vehicle’s brake fluid, and we keep our customers informed of the condition of their vehicle’s complete brake system. If brake fluid is something you have been overlooking as part of your vehicle maintenance, call for an appointment.

   1730 Industrial Blvd. | Stillwater, MN 55082
(651) 439-0581 | (800) 468-0601