Brake fluid is one of the most important yet the most neglected fluids in the vehicle. The purpose of brake fluid is to transfer force under pressure from the master cylinder to the calipers and wheel cylinders. Non contaminated fluid is imperative in order to maintain good brakeability. No consideration is given to it until a brake problem occurs.
Most consider moisture to be the single contaminating element in the braking system. And considering the hygroscopic nature of brake fluid moisture is definitely a problem. The system can absorb 2% of it’s volume in moisture in 12 months. A DOT3 fluid with just 3% moisture accumulation encounters a 25% drop in the boiling point. This lowered boiling point can cause brake fade, a soft brake pedal, or your brakes to fail completely.
New technologies allow your technician to test your brake fluid in the shop without have to completely drain your braking system. This new technology named FASCAR (Fluid Analysis by Stimulation of Copper Alpha Reactions) has made field testing for fluid contamination simple. The test involves simply placing a test strip into the brake fluid reservoir and waiting 30-120 seconds and comparing it to the contamination chart.
With proper maintenance, your brake system can have years of trouble free maintenance.