Brake Fluid Is Black Or Brown Inspection


Chevrolet Buick GMC Of Sanger is located at: 1028 Academy Ave • Sanger, CA 93657

The What, When, and How of Old Brake Fluid

If you are wondering if the brake fluid on your car is too old, then chances are it has been a while since you’ve had it replaced. This is perfectly normal. After all, brake fluid is designed to last a long time. However, there are a couple of reasons why you should consider getting the brake fluid changed on your vehicle, especially if it appears to be black or brown.

Keep on reading to learn about brake fluid, and what to do to maintain it, and change it when the time is right.

What Does Brake Fluid Do?

The hydraulic brakes on modern cars rely on fluid pressure to operate effectively. Together, the master cylinder and brake booster work in unison to create pressure that is used to power the moving parts of the brake, such as the disk brake calipers and the brake shoes on drum brakes.

When the fluid pressure is just right, the brakes are able to squeeze the disc rotors or push into the brake drums in order to create friction for slowing down and stopping.

When Do You Know if Brake Fluid is Too Old?

Fresh brake fluid should be relatively clear, if not slightly golden. This is true for practically any type of brake fluid.

Over time, brake fluid becomes contaminated. When the brake fluid begins to darken and turn black or brown, then you know that the fluid is becoming too old.

There are a few different ways brake fluid can become contaminated:

  • Normal aging: without routine maintenance, brake fluid naturally darken as it slowly becomes contaminated
  • Moisture contamination: the heat in the brake line can make moisture boil, which darkens the fluid and introduces air into the hose.
  • Deteriorating fluid hoses: some fluid hoses are made of rubber, and they can deteriorate into the fluid.
  • Normal heating: brake fluid will naturally darken from heating up.

When to Replace Brake Fluid

The brake fluid on your vehicle should be changed regularly. It should never reach the point where it has turned black or brown.

Black or brown brake fluid is a sign that it is heavily contaminated. When this is the case, the brake system’s ability to build pressure s diminished, and the performance of the brakes can be affected.

Contaminated brake fluid can make the brakes become spongy. In particularly dire situations, brakes may even need to be pressed multiple times for them to function properly. This is a serious sign that the brake fluid should be changed.

Brake Fluid Is Black Or Brown Inspection

How to Change Brake Fluid

Changing the brake fluid on your vehicle is relatively simple. Hiring a professional will ensure that the job is done correctly, but if you want to try on your own, follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove the old, contaminated brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir
  2. Use a clean, lint-free cloth or towel to wipe the reservoir clean
  3. Poor new brake fluid up until the maximum line on the side of the reservoir

If you don’t want to tackle the job yourself, or need a full brake bleed as well, that’s where we come in! Contact us for service help, or get a quote for your repair on our website. We’ll be happy to help.