Brake fluid is one of the most commonly overlooked yet important fluid in your car. Many people don’t even know that brake fluid needs to be changed regularly, but it does. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with water and other debris, which can cause serious problems.
What is Brake Fluid?
Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in braking systems. It helps transfer force from the brake pedal to the brakes themselves. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with moisture and other materials, reducing its performance. That’s why it’s essential to test your brake fluid regularly.
When to Test Brake Fluid
Brake fluid testing is easy and essential to do regularly. Here are some tips on when to test your brake fluid:
- At least once a year
- If the level is low
- If the color is dark
- If the texture is gritty
If any of these conditions are present, it’s time to test your brake fluid. Testing is easy to do and only takes a few minutes.
How to Test Brake Fluid
To test your brake fluid, you’ll need a clean, dry cloth and a container that can hold at least four ounces of fluid. First, remove the cap from the reservoir and wipe the inside of the reservoir with a cloth. Then, slowly depress the brake pedal until it feels firm. While holding the pedal down, carefully remove the cloth from under the reservoir cap and observe the color of the brake fluid.
You can also test the condition of your brake fluid using strips of specialty paper or cloth impregnated with chemicals. This is one of the tools we use at Hi-tech. They provide quick results because they will change color if they come into contact with contaminated brake fluid. To use them, dip the strip into the brake fluid reservoir. Then observe the results.
Interpreting Brake Testing Results
What does contaminated brake fluid look like? Well, it can vary depending on the severity of the contamination. In general, though, contaminated brake fluid will have a dark, murky appearance. It may also have chunks or sediment in it.
Brake fluid strips are used to test the quality of the brake fluid. The test we use at Hi-Tech includes checking the pH, freeze point, and nitrate. The pH level should be between 8 and 9.5. If it’s is outside of the acceptable range, it could indicate that there is contamination in the brake fluid. We can also determine if nitrate needs to be recharged and if the freeze point is outside of the acceptable range.
If you suspect that your brake fluid is contaminated, it’s important to have it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.
Proper Brake Fluid Level
In addition to brake fluid quality, it is important to maintain the proper brake fluid level in order to ensure the safety of your vehicle. If the level of brake fluid is too low, it can cause the brakes to not work properly, and can even lead to a complete failure of the braking system. This could cause an accident, and could result in serious injury or even death.
To check the level of your brake fluid, simply open the hood and locate the reservoir. The level should be between the “MIN” and “MAX” lines. If it is below the “MIN” line, you will need to add more fluid. It is best to use a quality brake fluid.
Test Brake Fluid Frequently
Be sure to check your brake fluid level often, like when you wash your vehicle or pump gas. Testing your brake fluid regularly is an easy way to help keep your car’s braking system in good working order. By catching contamination early, you can avoid expensive repairs down the road.