Brake Service: Taking A Look At The Fundamentals And The Importance Of Having Sufficient Brake Fluid

It takes a total of 329 feet for a vehicle to brake when travelling at a speed of 70 miles per hour. This includes an approximate 77 feet, which is required for one's reaction time and the approximate braking distance of 252 feet. By maintaining the condition of the brakes of your vehicle, you can improve the braking distance required, so that the vehicle can brake quickly in the event of surprises. The brake fluid level is one of the more important aspects that is often overlooked, but will be explained in-depth in this article.

The Functionality of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid plays one of the most important roles in the entire braking system of a vehicle, as it is responsible for transferring the force that has been created from the exerting force of the drums and discs onto the wheel hub. The heat that is generated from braking can cause accelerated deterioration and damages, but the brake fluid is able to act as a cooling agent in a sense. Last but not least, the brake fluid acts as a lubricant in order to prevent friction that may end up corroding the brake parts.

When the brake lights come on or when the vehicle starts to slide to one side when the brakes are applied, it is important to bring your vehicle in for servicing, and to get the brakes thoroughly inspected. You are the driver of the car, and you should be most aware of when your brakes may start to act up or feel different. 

The Boiling Point of Brake Fluid Affects Its Performance

Since brake fluid is subject to high-pressure environments, the brake fluid will also need to tolerate the heat, and have a high boiling point. The boiling temperature of brake fluid is separated into two different categories: dry and wet. The requirements for the boiling temperature are also determined based on the chemical compounds that can be found within the fluid.

Brake fluid that contain glycol ether and is chosen during the service should have a minimum dry boiling temperature of 401 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum wet boiling temperature of 284 degrees Fahrenheit. Brake fluid that contains borate esters in addition to glycol ether can have a minimum dry boiling temperature of 446 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum wet boiling temperature of 311 degrees Fahrenheit. Different types of vehicles will require brake fluids that contain varying concentrations of different chemical compounds. 

Deterioration of Brake Fluid versus Wear 

With wear, brake fluid will begin to deteriorate. This is because brake fluid has hygroscopic properties. This means that the brake fluid will absorb moisture during its lifespan. As the water content of the brake fluid increases, the boiling temperature will begin to decrease. This means that a lower temperature can cause the brake fluid to boil. Eventually, the brake fluid will boil easily and lose its function resulting in brake failure or fade. The boiling point of the brake fluid can be significantly reduced if there is a water contamination of approximately 5%


When getting your brake service, you should consult with a mechanic regarding the type of brake fluid that is best for your vehicle, and how you can also better maintain your brakes in order to keep them in the best condition possible. When purchasing brake fluid, always choose manufacturers that package the fluid in metal cans rather than plastic ones, as metal can act as a moisture barrier and will provide better performance than plastic alternatives. Always get the brake fluid levels measured if there are any symptoms that may indicate that there is a problem with the brakes. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry.