August 02, 2018 By Francis G. Pallarco Story and Images by Prestone

Slippery When Wet

Brake Fluid Maintenance for Wet Weather Driving

It’s that time of the year again where the rains never seem to stop along with a deluge of flashfloods happening everywhere. It is during this rainy season where the vehicle’s brake system plays a vital role in ensuring one’s safety. Most especially when the roads are wet are slippery. Reason enough to have your brakes checked including the often neglected brake fluid. Just like the rest of the fluids in the car, it also goes bad. This is because brake fluid absorbs moisture which greatly affects its performance.

Unlike engine oil that gets dirty, brake fluid is hygroscopic. That means it likes water just like a sponge. In fact, brake fluid is notorious for absorbing water which ends up lowering the boiling temperature. Brake fluid can absorb moisture in a variety of ways – through the packaging process, while pouring it into the reservoir and even through the brake fluid lines. When this happens, the effectiveness of the fluid is reduced and might even damage the braking system by corroding precise metal hydraulic components such as the valves and pistons, causing them to get stuck-up or leak.
The only solution here would be to have the brake fluid checked or better yet replaced. Simply follow the owner’s manual or as a general rule of thumb every one or two years and to use the specified type of brake fluid as indicated on the brake fluid reservoir cap. Doing so will give you peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to stop effectively and will prevent further contamination that could cause more costly repairs.
When should Brake Fluid be replaced?
  1. Consult the owner’s manual or your service advisor.
  2. Every two years or 40,000 kilometers to help prevent brake failure.
  3. Every time major brake replacement/repair is being performed.
How often should brake fluid be checked?
  1. Have your brake fluid and brake system checked once a year.
  2. Have the brake fluid and brake system checked after wading through deep flood waters.

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