Why is brake fluid important?

Brake lfuid Hamilton Waikato

Be sure to occasionally check the brake fluid reservoir to see if the levels are lower than normal.

Brake fluid is a hydraulic, non-compressible fluid which is used to slow your car down when the brakes are applied. When you push your foot down on the brake pedal the hydraulic properties of brake fluid convert this energy into brake pressure, which squeezed your brake rotors and slows the car down.

Since the hydraulic properties of brake fluid are crucial to the operation of your braking system, low brake fluid can affect the safety of your vehicle. When there is little or no brake fluid, there will be a lack of brake pressure and your car may take a lot longer to come to a stop.

In order to work properly and safely, brake fluid should be replaced every 30,000 km or 2-3 years.

Why is brake fluid important?


Common causes of low brake fluid:

  • General wear and tear: Over time, brake fluid levels naturally decrease due to the normal wear and tear of the brake system. As brake pads or shoes wear down, the brake fluid compensates for the reduced volume by moving into the calipers or wheel cylinders. This gradual decrease in brake fluid levels is considered normal, but it should be monitored and replenished when necessary.
  • Leaks in the brake system: One of the most common causes of low brake fluid is a leak in the braking system. Leaks can occur at various points, such as the brake lines, calipers, wheel cylinders, or master cylinder. Damaged or corroded components, worn seals, or loose fittings can cause fluid to seep out. Leaks can be identified by the presence of fluid on the ground near the wheels or a gradual decrease in brake fluid levels over time.
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  • Worn brake pads or shoes: As brake pads or shoes wear down, the caliper pistons or wheel cylinders extend further to compensate for the reduced thickness. This movement causes the brake fluid to be displaced from the master cylinder into the calipers or wheel cylinders, resulting in lower fluid levels. Regular brake pad or shoe inspections and replacements can help maintain proper brake fluid levels.
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Symptoms of low brake fluid:

Low brake fluid can lead to various symptoms that indicate potential issues with your vehicle’s braking system. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Brake warning light: Many vehicles are equipped with a dashboard warning light specifically for low brake fluid. This light, often labeled as “Brake” or “Brake Fluid,” illuminates when the brake fluid level falls below a certain threshold. If you see this warning light illuminated, it’s an immediate indication that your brake fluid needs attention.
  • Soft or spongy brake pedal: A noticeable change in the feel of the brake pedal can indicate low brake fluid. If the brake fluid level is low, it can cause the pedal to feel soft, spongy, or less responsive than usual. You may need to apply more pressure to achieve the same braking force, and the pedal may sink closer to the floor when pressed.
  • Longer braking distances: Low brake fluid can result in longer braking distances. Insufficient fluid affects the hydraulic pressure within the braking system, reducing the efficiency of the brakes. If you notice that it takes longer for your vehicle to come to a complete stop or that you need to apply more force on the brake pedal, it may be due to low brake fluid.


Why you shouldn’t drive with low brake fluid:

Driving with low brake fluid is strongly discouraged due to several critical reasons. Firstly, low brake fluid compromises braking performance, making the brakes less responsive and increasing stopping distances. Secondly, it raises the risk of brake failure, as low fluid levels can introduce air into the system, resulting in a soft brake pedal and diminished braking power. This can lead to a complete loss of braking ability, posing a severe danger on the road. Additionally, low brake fluid can cause damage to braking system components, such as rotors, pads, and seals, leading to costly repairs.


Low Brake Fluid Service & Replacement in Hamilton

Is your car in need of a brake fluid top up? If so, we can help! At Grimmer Motors, our team of experienced mechanics can replace your brake fluid and fix any leaks in your car’s braking system. This will allow for smoother, safer and more responsive braking.

For brake fluid servicing and replacement in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today


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