If you own a vehicle you are not always concerned about checking on the brake fluid thus this becomes one of the most neglected areas in the vehicles. It has an important purpose where in the foot pressure transfer has been done to the brakes or the hydraulic system of the clutch. The chemical properties that have been seen and found in most of the brake fluids can damage paint permanently. The good brake fluid has a property of being hydroscopic, which implies that it has a natural tendency to absorb moisture.
Types of brake fluids that are available:
- DOT 3: it is the most commonly used brake fluid which is used in domestic cars and trucks. DOT 3 is said to absorb 2 percent of its volume in water every year. There will be an excessive moisture that will cause corrosion in the system of the brake which can lead to issues that may include a spongy pedal.
- DOT 4: it has been formulated and can be used for all the vehicles. The boiling point of this is higher compared to that of DOT 3 and also it does not have the capacity to absorb moisture as fast as DOT 3. Adding DOT 3 fluid to a system that already uses DOT 4 is something that needs to be avoided, however DOT 4 and DOT 3 are interchangeable.
- DOT 5: this type of brake fluid is commonly referred to as the synthetic brake fluid. It is silicone based thus it does not absorb any moisture. The silicone based fluids can expand more when they are compressed which eventually which will make the pedal feel spongy. Also DOT 5 cannot be mixed with any other kind of a fluid.
- DOT 5.1: basically this is a non – silicone based polyglycol. The boiling point of DOT 5.1 is more than 500 degrees. Also it can be mixed with DOT 3 or DOT 4. The boiling point of DOT 5.1 is being recommended for severe duty and also high performance applications.
Good brake fluid has some characters that need to be fulfilled in order for the braking system to function in a proper manner.
The viscosity: for a brake system that is consistent and reliable, the brake fluid must have a constant viscosity under different ranges of temperatures, which also includes extreme cold. The anti – lock braking system and the traction control, systems like these mostly use micro valves and also require very quick activation.
The boiling point: the good brake fluid will be subjected a temperature that is high. It must have a high point of boiling in order to avoid the vaporizing in the lines. The vaporization could cause an issue since the vapor is highly compressible relative to the liquid – this might result in the brakes failing to stop the vehicle. A fluid that is silicone based is more compressible rather than a fluid that is glycol based which might lead the brakes to a spongy feeling. Single phase hygroscopic fluids are used thus there can be a potential suffering of the separation of the phase and also in the freezing or the boiling in the system over a period of time.
Corrosion: the brake fluids should not corrode the metals that are used inside components which may include calipers, wheel cylinders and master cylinders. They must also be able to protect against corrosion as moisture might enter the system. The corrosion inhibitors are added to the base fluid. There is an absence of corrosion in the Citroen LHM mineral oil based brake fluid. There might be a wear and tear of the seals at high mileages but otherwise the system has a good longevity.
What is the brake fluid additive package?
These are the additives that are blended into the stocks of the brake fluid by the manufacturers. This is basically a combination of the anticorrosion inhibitors, the anti- wear additives, the anti – rust additives, anti – foaming additives and so on which are blended in the brake fluids.
What are the reasons that the additive package will encounter a break down over time from the usage of the vehicle?
- Overheating that is being caused by the usage of the vehicle’s brakes.
- Stop and go driving which maybe a cause of heat sinking and the passing off of heat into the hydraulic system by the constant heat that is present in such driving conditions.
- Thermal shock which is caused by the extreme temperature of the brakes of the vehicles under all the driving conditions.
- Low cost brake fluids may contain additive packages which are low thus there will be a break down that will be encountered sooner or later from the usage of the vehicles.
The level of the brake fluid may be low due to a leak, which might result in the loss of hydraulic pressure and also a loss in the ability of braking. The good brake fluid that has DOT ratings which differ cannot always be mixed. Brake fluid can be toxic and also cause damage to the surfaces which have been painted. There can be a problem that might occur when there is moisture that has seeped in the brake fluid. In today’s times the brake fluid can be tested accurately in order to determine the needs of its replacement. The amount of dissolved copper in the brake fluid can indicate the health of the brake fluid’s additive package. With the usage of the vehicle the additive package that has been blended into the brake fluid when it has been manufactured will not last forever.
When the content of water in the brake fluid increases, the temperature at which the liquid boils will decrease. The boiling point can be reduced by contamination of water which will have a negative impact on the ability of your braking system. There is a recommendation made by the manufacturer of the vehicle that you should change the brake fluid of your vehicle every second year. This will be beneficial as it will prevent break failure and also will maintain the boiling point at a safe level.