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Changing Brake Fluid Frequency-Who Does & Other Brake Questions?


mjhpadi
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So I was watching Motorweek the other day and they did a segment on changing brake fluid. Pat Goss (the show's resident mechanic and shop owner) says that brake fluid should be completely changed every 2 years. Now recently I have been hearing that changing brake fluid should be a regular part of routine service and should be done because the fluid attracts water and becomes contaminated with moisture so that it needs regular changes. Now several mechanics have told me that this is something they don't do, but it has come up more then once. I have also heard that putting in fresh fluid also will yield a noticable improvement braking. So does anyone regularly change brake fluid? Next question, since the brake system is a closed system, I have asked several people how does moisture get into the fluid? No one seems to be able to answer, so any input would be appreciated. And lastly since we have a couple of older vehicles I see there is a brake flushing system made by Phoenix that is a one person operation. It attaches to the bleed valve and actually pulls the old fluid out of the system and does not require pressuring the system to get the old fluid out. Anyone have any experience with this system? They make 3 different systems: a Home Use system that is about $70.00, and upgraded kit for about $150.00 and a professional use kit for about $350.00. So any reviews of this system would be helpful, as I am thinking of purchasing the mid-range kit for my use. Thanks in advance.

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I'm going to answer your questions in a different order.

 

First. "Glycol-ether based DOT3, 4 & 5.1 brake fluids are hygroscopic (water absorbing), which means they absorb moisture from the atmosphere under normal humidity levels." Though braking systems in a car are mostly closed there are still several ways atmospheric moisture can get into the system. First the reservoir cap does not use a air tight seal, so that built up pressure can escape safely need, and to let air in to fill the void created when your breaking. So fluid can leave the reservoir and got through the brake lines freely. Also the brake fluid can pull in moisture through the brake lines themselevs. The rubber hoses that connect the hard brake lines to the caliper allow moisture to be drawn in at small amounts. What all this moisture does over time is lower the boiling point of the fluid making it over heat much quicker. Now most cars can go quite a while without changing brake fluid, because most people don't push their cars limits so the fluid never gets a chance to really heat up. These people don't know their brake fluid is bad until one day after a few hard freeway stops they push on the pedal and have not braking power at all.

 

Second. I can what the standard frequency should be to change your fluid for just regular driving. Most people who racing their cars in autocross or on road course change their fluid much more frequently depending on how often then are racing and how hard. A autocross person may change their fluid 1-2 times a year, while a road course racing may change their fluid before each track day. I personally change my brake fluid 1-2 times a year depending on how active i've been. When you racing and you get the fluid hot attracts more moisture.

 

Third. I've never used the "One man, One Pump" kits(hehe.. :D) but i have see several of those kits out there. I used to use the speedbleeder screws, which are caliper bleeder screws that have a "check valve" in them to allow fluid out and nothing in. I used those on several vehicles and was able to change the fluid by myself no problem. Those screws are also cheaper at about $10 a screw. I've since gone back to using the old fashioned one person pump and one person works the valve. My kids are getting old enough to help work on the car now so they need to learn the basics.

 

I hope this helps.

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Yes its true Mark, all though rarely performed bit maintenance. Ive use the mighty mini-vac to do this operation. The old manual way of doing described by racerx, can put undo wear and tear on the master cylinder. Also the brake fluid it self must be fresh also. Once opened it is subject to the same degradation.

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I use a "very Italian" synthetic Olive Oil solution that is Ferrari's secret weapon against brake fade...... I stop soooo fast that my car looks like a cartoon... front dives into pavement and back almost flips over!!!!

:whoo::RpS_w00t:

Lives up to it's name.... FORD "F L E X"!!!!!!!!!!:flypig::flypig::flypig::israel::jaw::tea::tea::tea:

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