Bendix stresses importance of regular brake fluid checks

Braking is a key factor to road safety; hence savvy transport companies pay an equal amount of attention to stopping performance as they do to payload. The role of brake fluid, however, often goes unheeded.

Brake fluid must function through heat, cold, and all the variations of temperatures that may affect the brake system, but there is a range of additional functions it has to perform apart from remaining viscous and resistant to the most severe conditions.

According to braking expert Bendix, brake fluid also lubricates the moving parts in the brake system and protects the metal (steel and copper) components of the brake system from corrosion.

“It goes without saying that the ability of the brake system to function properly is impaired if the master cylinder, slave cylinders and valves, which are made of steel, are worn and corroded,” Bendix states in a recently published Technical Bulletin.

“The effects of corrosion are not immediate and the deleterious effects are cumulative in nature. Cumulative effects over the long term can affect braking efficiency and responsiveness, putting drivers at risk especially during emergency braking situations.  Advance corrosion will eventually lead to diminished braking performance, and then eventually brake failure.”

Even copper, of which the tubes and ABS internal parts are made of, is subject to corrosion. “Copper plating – when copper particles are suspended in the fluid and starts plating into steel parts – can interfere with the proper operation of the ABS system and will eventually result in the failure of the ABS.”

As a result, modern brake fluids contain corrosion inhibitors, which neutralise acids in the fluid form a protective barrier to repel water on the metal surfaces, thereby preventing the metal from interacting with water. 

But, even high-tech brake fluid can deteriorate with age and lose its effectiveness, so many OEMs recommend brake fluid changes as a form of preventive maintenance and most of their recommendations range from 24 to 30 months. “To reduce risks associated with brake failures, it is also recommended that the brake fluid in your vehicle is tested regularly for moisture contamination and/or depletion of corrosion inhibitors,” says Bendix.

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