Q: My mechanic recommended I that get a brake fluid change or flush. Is this a necessary maintenance service? Why?
A: Yes, a brake fluid change or brake fluid flush is an important maintenance service. Here’s why:
- Brake fluid actively absorbs water or moisture in the brake system. Changing the old fluid and replacing it with new prevents the brake system from rusting inside-out.
- Rust and small particles in the brake fluid can destroy your expensive anti-lock brake (ABS) module. There will always be rust and other debris in the brake fluid, especially as the brakes age. A brake fluid change can remove these harmful contaminants from the braking system. This is especially important on vehicles with antilock brakes (ABS). The ABS module—which is what automatically applies and releases the brakes if they brakes begin to lock up—is exceptionally sensitive to dirt and debris. A brake fluid flush can save you a $1,000 or more in an ABS repair.
- Old brake fluid has a lower boiling point, which reduces braking performance. In severe cases, the brakes might not work at all. Brake fluid is subjected to very high temperatures and must have a high boiling point so that it doesn’t turn into a gas. If it does begin to turn into a gas, there’s less hydraulic pressure in the brake lines to apply the brake pads and make the car stop.
How often should you have a brake fluid change?
We generally recommend inspecting the brake fluid when the vehicle is due for new brake pads or shoes. Like many things with cars, the condition of the brake fluid is affected by a number of factors, such as whether you haul heavy loads, what your braking style is and if you drive in the mountains.
What is a Brake Fluid Change?
Changing or flushing the brake fluid is the process of removing all the old, contaminated brake fluid from the system and then adding in clean fluid.