Brake fluid is an essential component of your car’s braking system. It acts as a lubricant and transfer medium for brake pedal force, which is then converted into the stopping power of your vehicle. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and moisture, which can lead to a decrease in performance and even complete brake failure. That’s why it is essential to have your brake system flushed regularly. In this article, we will discuss the process of a DIY brake flush and when it’s best to leave the job to the professionals.
A brake flush is the process of removing old, contaminated brake fluid from your vehicle’s brake system and replacing it with fresh, new fluid. During this process, all of the brake fluid in the system is removed, including the fluid in the brake lines, calipers, and master cylinder. The system is then refilled with new fluid, which helps to ensure that your brakes are working at optimal performance. It is recommended that brake fluid is changed every 2 years or 24,000 miles for most vehicles.
Why is a Brake Flush Important?
A brake flush is an important maintenance procedure for your vehicle’s braking system. Over time, brake fluid can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and moisture, which can lead to a decrease in performance and even complete brake failure. Contaminated brake fluid can also cause corrosion in the brake system, which can lead to costly repairs. By having a brake flush, you can help to prevent these issues and ensure that your brakes are working at optimal performance.
DIY Brake Flush: How to Do It Yourself
A brake flush is a relatively simple process that can be done at home, but it does require a certain level of mechanical knowledge. Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary tools, including a brake fluid flush kit, brake fluid, and a clean, dry workspace.
Step 1: Prepare your vehicle
The first step in performing a DIY brake flush is to prepare your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is on a level surface and that the parking brake is applied.
Step 2: Remove the old brake fluid
Next, you will need to remove the old brake fluid from the system. Locate the brake fluid reservoir and remove the cap. Use a turkey baster or a brake flush kit to remove as much of the old brake fluid as possible. Be sure to catch the old brake fluid in a clean container.
Step 3: Replace the brake fluid
Once you have removed as much of the old brake fluid as possible, it’s time to replace it with new fluid. Pour new brake fluid into the brake fluid reservoir, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate type and amount of fluid.
Step 4: Bleed the brakes
The final step in performing a DIY brake flush is to bleed the brakes. This is the process of removing any air bubbles that may be present in the brake lines. The process of bleeding the brakes can vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model, so it’s essential to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific instructions.
When to Leave it to the Pros
While a DIY brake flush is a relatively simple process, it’s not recommended for everyone. If you’re not comfortable working on your vehicle, or if you don’t have the necessary tools or knowledge, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. Additionally, if you notice any issues with your brakes, such as a warning light, strange noises, or poor stopping power, it’s essential to have your brakes inspected by a professional as soon as possible. In these cases, it’s best to leave the brake flush and any necessary repairs to a certified mechanic.
Another reason to leave the brake flush to the pros is if your vehicle has an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) or a more complex braking system. These systems require specialized tools and knowledge to properly flush and bleed the brakes, and attempting to do it yourself may lead to damaging the system or not doing the job correctly.
Additionally, if you notice that your brake pedal is spongy or if the brake warning light is on, it’s likely that you have air in the brake lines. This can only be diagnosed and fixed by a professional mechanic.
In conclusion, a brake flush is an essential maintenance procedure for your vehicle’s braking system, but it’s not recommended for everyone. If you’re not comfortable working on your vehicle, or if you notice any issues with your brakes, it’s best to leave the job to the professionals. By having your brake system flushed regularly and addressing any issues promptly, you can help to ensure that your brakes are working at optimal performance and keep you and your passengers safe on the road.