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Timely Reminder on Brake Fluid Life Span as Summer Approaches

Media Releases

Nov 28, 2013

Leading brake specialist Bendix has provided a timely reminder to motorists on the importance of changing brake fluid regularly as part of the standard vehicle maintenance and safety check, particularly where climatic high temperatures and humidity exist.

As summer approaches the glycol-based fluid used as the hydraulic fluid in braking systems is susceptible to absorbing water particularly in high temperatures of 35ºC+ and 90% humidity. After a year in service, brake fluid will absorb approximately 2% water, progressing to more than 3% after 18 months, decreasing its boiling point and heightening the risk of a spongy feeling in the pedal or complete brake failure. The presence of water and or vapour in the brake fluid also affects the performance of the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) as this pulsates at about 15 times per second and the brake fluid’s viscosity is an important factor in its correct operation.

Brake fluids also perform other important functions such as lubricating the moving parts within the braking system, protecting metal components from corrosion and ensuring that the hoses and seals remain in good condition.

For the average motorist traveling between 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres per year the often forgotten factor is the number of times the brake pedal is actuated over that period.

The main enemy of braking fluid is water as water vapour absorbed through the hoses, seals or even the polythene reservoir even when the vehicle is not driven. For braking safety Bendix engineers strongly recommend that brake fluid be tested regularly using a boiling point tester and changed every twelve months regardless of the mileage travelled to ensure maximum performance and safety.

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