What You Should Know About Your Brakes

When inspecting a vehicle be sure the brakes are the first thing checked. At least once a year, check the fluid level. Every two years, have it changed. Always use quality products from a well known manufacturer. Brake systems are made up of many components but maintenance concerning the brake fluid can be handled by most car owners.

How Do You Check Your Fluid Level?

First, be sure the engine is turned off. Open the hood and locate the reservoir for the brake fluid. Wipe off the outside to keep debris from getting inside once you have removed the cap. Remove the cap and check the level of the combined reservoirs visually. If the fluid is below the “MIN” line, add fluid to the reservoir until it reaches the “MAX” line. It is important not to overfill.

What Causes the Fluid to Run Low?

Worn brake pads or broken shoes are one cause for low fluid. Problems can arise from a faulty master cylinder. Brake lines lead to all four wheels of the vehicle, and parts wear out and can cause a leak. Brake lines can also be punctured or pulled apart by road debris. Sometimes bleeder valves are inadvertently left a little loose. If the brake light is lit up on your dash and a maintenance check does not resolve the problem then professional help should be sought.

How Do You Fix a Leak?

When you find the leak, it may be as simple as tightening a valve to quell the problem. If there is no resistance when depressing the brake pedal, there may be a puncture in the brake line or a fitting may have failed. Either of these cases needs to be taken care of immediately. Without brake fluid, brakes fail. Sometimes an auto repair professional is needed to find and fix the problem. Always keep brakes in proper working order.

Should the Fluid be Changed or Do You Just Need to Add More?

If your brake fluid hasn’t been flushed and replaced in the past two years, it is time to do so. Oxygen in the air oxidizes and lowers the boiling point of brake fluid. Brake fluid and water don’t mix but when water vapor accidently does get in, it lowers the boiling point and in cold weather, forms ice crystals. This makes braking difficult. It also can rust the system and create acids that can etch wheel cylinders and the master cylinder. This causes your brakes, to work poorly or not at all. Water is notorious for destroying vital parts of expensive braking systems.

Keeping brakes in good working order is vital. Make sure the brake fluid is clean and at the proper level. If problems arise, the required fix may be as simple as adding brake fluid. But, if problems persist, consult a mechanic if you aren’t able to do the repairs yourself. Road hazards are dangerous to the life of your brake system. They can tear into hoses and loosen fittings allowing brake fluid to run out, thus causing the brake system to fail. Brake repairs must not be put off. Vigilance is the key to safety concerning the brakes.