Brake fluid (c) Vauxhall

Don’t pay the price – check your brake fluid

Your car’s brakes are its most important safety device. Most other systems designed to protect you and your passengers are reactive – traction control responds to a skid or too much power and airbags inflate after a crash, for example – but you can actively prevent a crash by using the brakes.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re in a perfect shape – we really can’t stress it enough.

You can’t start by topping up your motor’s brake fluid. Locate the brake fluid reservoir and check the level – there should be a ‘Min’ and ‘Max’ gauge to judge whether there’s enough in there – there’s too little, you should seriously think about topping it up with fresh fluid.

Only do this if you’re 100% sure of what you’re doing. If you’re not confident in carrying out this process, get in touch with us at T W White & Sons or a qualified professional to arrange a brake check-up and service.

It’s important to pinpoint exactly what you need if you’re going to refill your brake reservoir yourself. There are a number of different types of brake fluid, each with different chemical make-ups used for different types of vehicle and giving different braking characteristics.

Consult your vehicle’s handbook to make sure you use the right grade of fluid – mixing solutions can cause safety issues, so check and double-check you’ve got the right stuff.

Make sure you don’t let any moisture into the brake fluid reservoir when topping up, as this can be as dangerous as not filling up your fluid, too. The whole point of the special solution in your car’s braking system is that it doesn’t compress and is more resistant to heat.

Normal water in a car’s brake lines can make the pedal feel ‘squidgy’ after a bit of use, as the fluid heats up and literally boils, turning into steam. Turning from a liquid to a gas means the H2O molecules can now be compressed more, hence the mushy feeling brake pedal. It reduces your effective braking force and puts you at risk.

It’s also important not to let any air into the brake circuit for the same reason – bleeding your brakes can eradicate any gas from the brake lines or calipers, giving a safer and more reliable brake pedal every time.

Not topping up your brake fluid can lead to a brake failure, and following that, potentially a catastrophic accident. So don’t pay the price by being negligent with your car’s brakes.

It’s important to remember that you’ve got to be on the ball when it comes to working on your car’s brakes, too – even completing something as simple as filling up the brake fluid reservoir.

Don’t put yourself at risk of feeling the consequences of not topping up your brake fluid.

 

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