To put it in simple terms: Yes! Brake fluid can go bad. If you have a hydraulic braking system in your vehicle, the liquid is stored inside a sealed container. And in most cases, it should last you several years before needing a change or flush. However, moisture remains the biggest problem for brakes, and it can escape into the fluid lines and cause a leak. DOT fluid is prone to absorb water from the air. As a result, it will dilute the solution, lower its boiling point, and decline brake performance. Furthermore, the moisture in the fluid can also spread damage to other brake parts by corroding the calipers, cylinders, and so forth.
How Long Does the Fluid Last?
The effectiveness of your brake fluid depends on various things, such as the quality and type of fluid and the environment the car is driven in. For example, if you operate your vehicle in a more humid area, you will need brake fluid maintenance more often. Also, high-performing cars that run under hot temperatures may need to be serviced more frequently. You can also keep an eye out for the following signs of poor brake fluid:
- ABS warning light is lit
- The brake pedal feels spongy, weird, etc.
- Brakes are slow responding or unresponsive
- Loud and unusual sounds coming from the brakes
- You catch the smell of burning rubber whenever you engage the brakes
There are multiple types of brake fluid on the market, making it difficult for most people to know which is best suitable for their cars. Your owner's manual will usually have the information regarding which DOT fluid your vehicle requires. However, we recommend taking your vehicle to a brake expert at Richman Automotive & Towing instead. That way, you don't end up accidentally mixing the wrong type of brake fluids together, causing damage to your braking system.
If you require brake fluid services in Des Moines, IA, please bring your vehicle to Richman Automotive & Towing today.