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How Often Do You Need to Change Your Brake Fluid

Out of all your car’s components, the brake system stands as one of the most vital when it comes to safety. Thus, knowing the ins and outs of doing a brake fluid change is critical to your vehicle’s safety and performance. Specifically, we’ll discuss how often you need to change the brake fluid and how to complete that process. However, you need to know that the frequency at which you should change your brake fluid depends on several factors, including your vehicle’s make and model, driving habits, and environmental conditions. As a general guideline, most experts recommend changing brake fluid every 2-3 years.

If you drive in harsh conditions, such as heavy traffic or mountainous terrain, or if you frequently tow heavy loads, you may need to change your brake fluid more often, perhaps every 1-2 years. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual, as it may provide specific recommendations for your particular make and model.

Why Does Brake Fluid Need to Be Changed?

Like any other fluid that runs through your vehicle’s systems, brake fluid becomes gradually less effective. In fact, one of the unique qualities of brake fluid is its ability to absorb moisture, which can corrode your hydraulic system and cause some damage to your brakes. As a result of this wear and tear, your ability to brake suddenly becomes compromised.

This degradation of the brake fluid is caused by consistent exposure to moisture, as mentioned, and also high temperatures. From there, the fluid takes on acidic qualities which brings about the corrosive effect.

In addition to the exposure to the elements, there might be times that your bleeder valve is loosened or damaged. This causes your brake fluid to leak out which presents another reason for a brake fluid change

How to Change Brake Fluid

Before you embark on this important task, you will need to keep three vital aspects in mind. One is the level of your knowledge and skill since a brake fluid change is usually performed by a licensed mechanic. The other is that two people (as opposed to just one) should complete this job for safety sake. Finally, you should find out if you can legally perform this repair or if you have to take the car to a professional, licensed mechanic. Otherwise, your handiwork might cancel out a vehicle’s warranty. Here are the steps for changing out your brake fluid to give you a clear understanding of the process.

1: Drain all your brake fluid.

First you will need to elevate your car on axle stands in order to remove all four tires. After that, you will locate your brake master cylinder. In the case of manual brakes, it is attached to the firewall and linked to the brake pedal. If you have power brakes, you will find it attached to the brake booster. Once you find it, take off the cap and drain the old fluid with a vacuum pump.

2: Fill up with the new fluid and start flushing and bleeding the brakes.

After the master cylinder has been drained, you will then fill it with new brake fluid. From there, you can attach the brake bleeder hose to the furthest caliper bleeder screw and place the other end into a jar that will catch the fluid. Your help can press on the brake pedal to keep this process going. Repeat this part of the procedure until you no longer see air bubbles. Additionally, you will keep filling the reservoir with new fluid, ensuring that it never goes empty.

3: Repeat the above process and refill.

You will repeat the above process of flushing and then bleeding all the brakes while refilling the reservoir as you go. Once they are completed, then you will need to top off the reservoir, taking care not to fill above the line. 

Now that you have an idea of how the process works for a brake fluid change, you might consider getting the best product for your vehicle. At Shield, we not only specialize in oils and lubricants but also brake fluid. Our specialized formula combines antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, and metal deactivators to help prolong the life of your brakes. Plus, our products exceed the standards set forth by SAE, ACEA, API, and other worldwide institutions. Contact us today for a sample.

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