What’s The Purpose of Brake Fluid?

Brake Fluid 101: A Let’s-Not-Have-A-Crash Course

Imagine this. You’re on the heavily traveled Interstate going full speed when a large truck cuts you off. You’re motoring through your neighborhood when a child rides his bicycle out of a driveway directly into your path. What would happen if this were the time you discovered your brakes aren’t what they should be? As you’re pondering over the unpleasant possible answers, take this advice. Never neglect your vehicle’s brakes! Instead, take care of them by visiting KD Automotive in Redmond, Washington, for all your brake repair needs.

Braking System Overview

Your auto’s braking system employs the scientific principles of hydraulics and friction to operate. Here’s how that works. You apply pressure to your brake pedal. This, in turn, moves a level and piston to transfer force to the master cylinder, the reservoir where the brake fluid pools. The pressure increases to the point that it is significant enough to move the brake fluid through lines or hoses. The fluid travels to another cylinder located at each wheel. This is hydraulics. The principle allows you to apply a reasonable amount of force to the brake pedal and multiply it such that it can stop a heavy vehicle. That saves you a lot of work that you couldn’t do yourself! Your brake components are moved into place by the hydraulic force, allowing them to generate the friction needed to effect a stop. Most modern automobiles have disc brakes (at least on the front wheels). Disc brakes have calipers with attached metal brake pads. The hydraulic force moves the caliper (and thus the pad) against each wheel’s disc (rotor). The resulting friction slows your car. The majority of older models and often the rear wheels of more modern vehicles have drum brakes. Though the parts are different, they also use friction. A drum turns within each wheel. The hydraulic force pushes brake shoes against the interior surfaces of the drums to stop your car.

The Specific Function of Brake Fluid

As described in the overview, brake fluid is critical to your vehicle’s ability to stop. Without it, there is no force to move other components as needed to generate friction. This is not, however, the sole function of brake fluid. It also lubricates the moving parts so that they can continue to operate as designed. What’s more, it protects the metal parts from corroding, an obvious benefit in keeping your auto braking well over time. If you suspect your brake fluid is low or that your brakes otherwise need attention, don’t wait until you’re in a dangerous situation. Bring your vehicle to KD auto for expert brake repair.

Written by KD Automotive