Many car owners rely on the efficient and safe operation of their vehicle without giving a second thought to how it all actually works. They rely on interconnected systems to move from point A to B and to do so in a safe manner. One of these key components is the braking system, which relies on parts that can wear out. What is one of the most important, degradable parts of the braking system that you need to be aware of?
The Importance of Fluid
The majority of moving parts in your car rely on a form of lubrication, and the braking system relies on a special brake fluid in order to function. This is not simply a lubricant that is added and can then be forgotten. It can degrade over time, which can affect the ability of your car to stop.
Brake fluid is hydraulic, which means that it is responsible for actually moving components in the braking system. In this respect, it is not similar to the oil in the engine which simply lubricates the moving parts. The brake fluid is actually responsible for pushing the pistons within the brake calipers, which in turn slow down the brake discs and driving wheels. You can imagine that a lot of friction is caused during deceleration and the fluid has to work under high temperatures and pressures.
Susceptible to Moisture
Brake fluid is highly susceptible to moisture absorption, also known as being hygroscopic. This type of fluid can absorb moisture directly from the air it comes into contact with it, but it is most important to protect brake fluid from direct contact with water. You should be aware that the brake fluid will over time become saturated with moisture, to a point where it will be unable to function properly in your hydraulic system.
Ratings for Safety
Because brake fluid is so important from a safety perspective and has a very specialised composition, Department of Transportation rules have been applied. These DOT ratings refer to individual products and their ability to resist the effect of moisture and heat. As new fluid specifications are released, so a higher DOT rating is issued. It's important to remember that you should not put fluid that has a lower DOT rating into a system that is designed for a higher rating. Your car owner's manual will tell you what is the right specification in your case.
Ensure that you get your brake fluid checked and flushed if needed during your next car service, so that you are always as protected as possible.Share
22 November 2016
I love to take my car down to the track on the weekend. Running a race car is an expensive exercise so I need to be smart about how I spend my limited car budget. I do some of my auto servicing myself, but I don't have the equipment to some of the more complex jobs. I have put a lot of time and energy into my car so it's quite a commitment to trust someone else with my car, even for a few days, so I've found a trustworthy car service centre with a lot of experience in high performance vehicles. This blog has some tips on finding car servicing for racing cars.