How To Replace Brake Fluid

Click Here to Begin The brake fluid is a critical part of your brake system. When you step on your brake pedal, the pressure pushes the brake fluid through your brake lines, which end up compressing your brake calipers’ pistons. When the calipers’ pistons are compressed, they force your brake pads to rub on your brake rotors; the friction is what causes your car to stop. Overtime, your brake fluid’s boiling point starts decreasing, which is a natural reaction to it being used, when the boiling point decreases, the fluid boils much quicker, causing air bubbles to form, which causes the bubbles to go through your system when you step on the brake fluid, thus altering your brake performance. Having air in your brake system can affect the feel of your brake pedal, causing it to feel spongy and less responsive. The recommended maintenance intervals for brake fluid vary from one model to another. For instance, Chevrolet recommends all their models to have a brake fluid replacement at 40,000 miles, while some Ford models recommend their owners to replace the brake fluid every 25,000 miles. If you ever feel a change in the brake feel, whether it’s the brake pedal or the brake performance, then you should consider replacing the brake fluid. If you check your brake pedal and it appears to have a dark brown, almost burnt, color, then it’s time for a brake fluid replacement. Any brake fluid leak has to be found and the source of the leak has to be repaired. The brake system is a pressurized system, any leaks, not only mean brake fluid is escaping the system, it also means air is going into it, which can tremendously affect the stopping power and brake feel. Anytime you perform a brake fluid replacement, you have to bleed the brake system to ensure there is no air in it. Read on to learn how to replace the brake fluid and bleed the system after. Tools Required: Turkey baster Empty bottle Clear hose Wrench Jack, jack stands, and tire iron (optional) Brake fluid

How To Replace Brake Fluid

Click Here to Begin

The brake fluid is a critical part of your brake system. When you step on your brake pedal, the pressure pushes the brake fluid through your brake lines, which end up compressing your brake calipers’ pistons. When the calipers’ pistons are compressed, they force your brake pads to rub on your brake rotors; the friction is what causes your car to stop. Overtime, your brake fluid’s boiling point starts decreasing, which is a natural reaction to it being used, when the boiling point decreases, the fluid boils much quicker, causing air bubbles to form, which causes the bubbles to go through your system when you step on the brake fluid, thus altering your brake performance. Having air in your brake system can affect the feel of your brake pedal, causing it to feel spongy and less responsive.

The recommended maintenance intervals for brake fluid vary from one model to another. For instance, Chevrolet recommends all their models to have a brake fluid replacement at 40,000 miles, while some Ford models recommend their owners to replace the brake fluid every 25,000 miles. If you ever feel a change in the brake feel, whether it’s the brake pedal or the brake performance, then you should consider replacing the brake fluid. If you check your brake pedal and it appears to have a dark brown, almost burnt, color, then it’s time for a brake fluid replacement. Any brake fluid leak has to be found and the source of the leak has to be repaired. The brake system is a pressurized system, any leaks, not only mean brake fluid is escaping the system, it also means air is going into it, which can tremendously affect the stopping power and brake feel. Anytime you perform a brake fluid replacement, you have to bleed the brake system to ensure there is no air in it. Read on to learn how to replace the brake fluid and bleed the system after.
Tools Required:

Turkey baster
Empty bottle
Clear hose
Wrench
Jack, jack stands, and tire iron (optional)
Brake fluid

Step 1 – Remove old fluid

Locate the brake fluid reservoir. Regardless of the brand, year, or model of your car, the brake fluid reservoir will always be in the engine compartment, in front of the driver.

Open the brake reservoir cover, then use your turkey baster to syphon the old brake fluid from it. Remove almost all the fluid, but leave a thin layer of fluid, this will ensure no air goes into the system.

Step 2 – Refill reservoir with fresh fluid

Fill the brake fluid reservoir with fresh fluid until it reaches the max line on the brake fluid reservoir. Keep the cover open after that.

Step 3 – Bleed the brake system

The bleeding process will ensure there is no air bubbles trapped in the system, as well as get rid of the old fluid that is still in the brake lines.

You don’t need to remove the wheels for this step; however, if you feel more comfortable working with a lot of room, now is the time to remove the wheels and raise the car.

Locate the bleeder screws on the back of each brake caliper. If you have drum brakes, then locate the bleeder valve on it.
The proper bleeding sequence starts on the passenger’s side’s rear caliper, passenger’s caliper, driver’s side’s rear caliper, and ends on the driver’s caliper.
Install the hose onto the bleeder screw, and then insert the other end of the hose into an empty bottle. Ask a friend to pump the brake pedal a few times, and then keep it pressed down. With the pedal pressed down, loosen the bleeder screw with your wrench and watch the fluid that is coming out. As soon as you stop seeing dark colored fluid and you start seeing fresh, clear fluid with no air bubbles, tighten the bleeder screw first, then ask the friend to release the brake pedal.
Repeat the same process for the rest of the brake calipers, but remember to refill the brake fluid reservoir between each caliper. If you wait until it gets too low, you could introduce air into your brake system, which will require you to repeat the whole procedure again.

When you are done, ensure your brake fluid is filled to the max line in the brake fluid reservoir, take your car for a spin, and then check it again. Refill if you need to.
Pro Tip

Don’t dispose the old brake fluid into your regular drain system. Most auto shops will dispose the old fluid free of charge. Be careful when handling brake fluid, as it is corrosive to your skin and your car’s paint.

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  • My ’82 Monte Carlo is still holding it’s original brake fluid and it is in fact brown and worn out. These simple instructions are not new to me (I’ll have to put them to use if I ever get this car back on the road, there’s other things preventing that) but they are good and accurate advise and will surely be helpful to others. Thanks.

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