If you've owned a car for some time, you already have a good idea of the different fluids it needs to work properly. For most of these fluids, all you need to do is top-up from time to time and the periodic change oil. So, why does the brake fluid require a flush?
A brake fluid flush is a brake system maintenance procedure that your car needs done at least once every two years. It involves removing the used brake fluid, clearing of any debris, and refilling with fresh brake fluid. It’s also the best time to inspect the brake components up-close to see if any requires repair or replacement.
I'll walk you through the basics about brake fluid flushes in Australia, including what the process is like and how much it'll cost you.
Let’s get started!
Brake Fluid 101: What Is It & How Does It Work?
Let’s kick things off by getting on the same page about brake fluid and how it works.
In a nutshell, brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that does not compress. So, whenever you apply force down onto your car’s brake pedal, that force will cause the fluid to transfer pressure onto your brakes to slow down your vehicle.
Some fluids are more important than others. Since the brake fluid is related to one of the most critical systems in your vehicle (i.e., the brake system), you’ll want to make sure you know what’s going on with your car’s brake fluid.
For one thing, brake fluid comes in several types, namely conventional, silicone-based, and mineral oil-type brake fluids. We won’t go into too much detail about all that for this article, but you can develop a stronger understanding by checking out our previous in-depth guide on brake fluids here.
Like any other fluid you use in your car, your brake fluid must be topped up and changed periodically. But have you ever heard your friendly mechanic or a friend tell you that you need to do a brake fluid flush?
Well, in the following section, you'll learn what that procedure is all about so you can decide for yourself whether you need it done or not.
What Is Brake Fluid Flush, and Is It Necessary?
This procedure is pretty self-explanatory. A brake fluid flush is a process of draining all fluid from your brake system, cleaning out any junk that shouldn’t be in there (like debris), and then filling it back up with fresh brake fluid.
As part of this process, your mechanic will also inspect your brake parts to ensure that everything is in good order while recommending replacements if necessary.
Is A Brake Fluid Flush Necessary?
Yes, a brake fluid flush is necessary. Here’s why:
- Wear: As you might imagine, your brake fluid takes a lot of punishment. After all, braking is a repetitive driving task that you’ll do countless times when you operate your vehicle. As that happens, the braking process produces heat which wears out the brake fluid, making it less effective.
- Rust: All that heat that breaks down the fluid also creates another problem, and that is excess moisture. Moisture and metal brake parts don’t go together, because as you very well know, they cause rusting. So that’s another reason why, at some point, used brake fluids must be flushed out.
- Debris & Other Junk: Last but not least, brake fluid collects debris and other junk over time (e.g., rubber and metal bits resulting from the braking process). Any of those floating around your brake fluid is bad news, that’s why you need them flushed.
When Is a Brake Fluid Flush Necessary?
At this point, there should be no more doubt as to the necessity of brake fluid flushes. So, the next nagging question is, how often do you have to do it?
For starters, don’t rush to do your brake fluid flush no matter how frequently someone tells you to, especially if you think that it’s a pitch to get you to pay for unnecessary services.
Don’t get me wrong: yes, this procedure is essential, but there’s also a brake fluid flush cost involved, and it’s not cheap. In other words, you’ll want to get it done when it’s time to do it and not whenever some overly eager salespeople tell you.
So, as a rule of thumb, you should get a brake fluid flush done once every two years. Suppose you drive a lot more than the average person, then you’ll likely need to do it more often.
How Do You Flush Your Brake Fluid?
A brake fluid flush is the kind of car maintenance procedure that you can do yourself as a DIY job. However, you’ll need a brake fluid flush kit and a second person to help you do it properly.
Don’t worry if that doesn’t sound appealing to you. Many people prefer outsourcing it to their preferred mechanic to save themselves time and effort. Plus, your mechanic has probably done hundreds of these flushes, so you can trust that they’ll get it done quickly.
Brake Fluid Flush DIY Step by Step Guide
Whether you decide to do it yourself or get outside help, the process involves four stages:
- Firstly, you must completely drain the brake fluid from the brake system.
- Secondly, remove any debris inside the braking system.
- Thirdly, inspect each component in the brake system and replace any rusted parts.
- Lastly, refill the braking system with fresh braking fluid.
That was easy, huh? Of course, you'll need to repeat these four steps for each brake calliper.
How Much Does Brake Fluid Flush Cost?
You don’t have to look too far to find the best brake fluid flush cost Australia has to offer. A flush is a routine maintenance procedure offered by most workshops and mechanics and can typically cost you anywhere from $70 to $120.
Remember that part of the process includes an up-close inspection of all your brake components. So, if they find anything that needs repairs or replacements, be prepared to pay any additional cost on top of the amount mentioned above.
We're talking about your brake system here, and this is one part of your car that you don't want to skimp on.
Find the Pro
If you don’t want to mess with your brake system, you can always refer to a nearby mechanic who can perform a brake fluid flush for you.
Check out the Directory over at Carpart.com.au and search for automotive professionals and businesses in your area! Select Mechanics, Brakes & Service from the dropdown menu and key in your location to find the closest ones in your area.
By Ray Hasbollah