The short answer to the question is: Yes! Brake fluid does go bad. Your brake fluid is held inside a sealed system, and most of the time, it will last you at least a couple of years. However, moisture in the surrounding air can seep into the lines and other brake system parts, or components can wear out and cause a fluid leak. Since your fluid likes to absorb water from the air, it will lower its boiling point and reduce its stopping capabilities. Furthermore, the moisture can also cause internal corrosion in brake lines, calipers, cylinders, and other components. This is why it is crucial to maintain your brake fluid by getting it flushed.
How Long Should Brake Fluid Last?
Once it's in your vehicle, the longevity of brake fluid depends on various factors like the car, the fluid type, and the operating environment. For instance, cars driven in high humidity areas may need more frequent fluid changes or flushes as there's more moisture in the air. Likewise, race cars also need more frequent fluid changes as they operate in high-temperature conditions. Here are some of the common signs that it is time to change your brake fluid:
- Your ABS warning light comes on
- The brake pedal feels firmer or more depressed than usual
- Brake lag or unresponsive
- Unusual noises every time you brake
- You smell burning rubber when you brake
There are various types of brake fluid, so if you decide to do it by yourself, please make sure you use the right kind. Your owner's manual will list out which DOT fluid you'll need.
If you require brake fluid service or repairs, trust our team at Global Car Care to handle it.