People commonly keep a careful watch on the wear of their brake pads, but how about brake fluid? Unlike motor oil, common DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid draws moisture from the air – so you should use only fresh brake fluid you’ve recently opened and determine if your vehicle may be overdue for a change.
Why is Moisture in the Fluid a Problem?
Moisture can cause problems because it lowers the boiling point of brake fluid, which can cause corrosion in the system. Repairs can get expensive if bad fluid corrodes calipers, brake lines and parts in anti-lock brake system (ABS) controllers. A lower boiling point also reduces performance in severe braking conditions.
How do you know when it’s time to change it?
Check your owner’s manual for service intervals. If it doesn’t have that info, or if it’s been a few years and the fluid is no longer a clean amber color like vegetable oil, get it changed. You can also buy test strips online or from a local parts store.