With a basic hydraulic system, brakes are designed to use kinetic energy to slow down a moving vehicle. Whether driving at slow speeds or high, by pushing down on your brake pedals your car will use a fluid to transmit a force which your tires will then use to create a friction that will ultimately slow things down.
Understanding the full extent of the technology behind brakes requires a great deal of knowledge but what even the most novice driver will know is that without your brakes your car won't function but how many are aware of what they can do to ensure their brakes remain in prime working condition?
The condition of your brake pads is essential and as a driver, it is crucial to ensure that you maintain and regular monitor this not only to ensure the smooth operation of your vehicle but to improve your safety on the roads. One of the crucial ways of doing this is by knowing just what your brake fluid is, what it does and how you as a driver can use it to determine just how well your brakes are operating.
Whether you're new to it all, not sure of whether you know enough or just curious; below are the brake fluid basics that every driver needs to know...
- Brake fluid has many responsibilities but its primary focus is the corrosion protection and lubrication of brake systems.
- Without the fluid, your hydraulic brake system will not be able to operate.
- Brake fluid is held in a fluid reservoir.
- Adding fluid is generally not part of a standard vehicle service.
- Low fluid levels or a sudden drop can be an indicator of several issues including low brake pads that may need to be changed.
- On a few occasions air may enter the brake line. Bleeding the brakes can improve this condition however if your reservoir is struggling to contain the liquid then you may need to get it checked by your mechanic. This may not work with newer vehicles so check your manual before doing anything.
- Brake fluid must never be substituted with any other fluid.
- Become familiar with the brake reservoir so that you can easily check your fluid. There will be a "full" mark which will give you an idea of what level your fluid is at and what it should be at.
- If your fluid level falls below the "add" line then you may need to have your discs checked.
- As the car owner you should have no issue in topping up your fluid however if you have any other issues or any general concerns over your brakes then you should see a professional.
Getting from a to b is important but doing so safely should be on top of your list! By knowing as much as possible about your brakes, how they function, what role the right fluid plays and any issues that can occur you have a great chance of ensuring your car remains in the best condition and you as the driver are as safe as possible.
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