Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid used in cars and motorcycles that use a hydraulic braking system. It's crucial for the vehicle, considering that it helps in keeping the braking system corrosion free and lubricated. Experts recommend changing brake fluid at least once a year to avoid the expensive car repairs which you might have to opt for if you ignore it.
Changing the Brake Fluid in a Motorcycle
You can refer to the owner's manual to determine which type of brake fluid your motorcycle requires. The foremost thing you will have to do, is to locate the valve at the brake caliper and remove it.
Attach the bleeding line (a small plastic tube, which facilitates one side movement of liquid) to the stopper, without letting air or moisture enter the system. Make sure that its other end is in the bucket where you intend to accumulate old fluid.
The next step is to unscrew the brake fluid reservoir with the necessary tools. If you are bleeding the front brake, you will find a small cap on the top. If you are bleeding the rear brake, you will find a small cap just behind the right footrest. You will have to make sure that you don't let any moisture in while doing this.
Now, press the corresponding brake handle and the old oil will seep in through the bleeding line into the empty container. You will also have to keep a watch on the fluid reservoir, and each time the level of the fluid in the reservoir reaches to the bottom, you will have to add more fluid to it.
Continue doing this, till you see that the color of the fluid seeping out from the bleeding pipe has changed from brown to the original color of the fluid―most often golden. Fill the entire reservoir with new brake fluid, leaving only about half and inch space, and close the reservoir with its cap.
Changing the Brake Fluid in a Car
The process to replace brake fluid of a car is quite similar to the process in motorcycles. You will have to take the help of a person who will have to get inside the car and press the brake pedal, while you are working on bleeding the fluid outside.
Attach the bleeding line to the bleeder, which is farthest from the master cylinder, and put its other end in the container wherein you want to collect the used fluid. Once the line is attached properly, instruct the person in the car to slowly press the braking paddle. This will make the fluid seep out from the bleeding line into the container.
When the entire fluid reservoir gets empty, fill it with new brake fluid and close the valve or else air will enter the reservoir and lead to various brake problems. Once the vents are secured, the person inside the car can slowly release the braking paddle.
Whilst doing this, you will have to keep a check on the fluid level in the master cylinder and refill it if necessary. After you have repeated the process with all the four wheels, you can check all the valves and screws you have loosened or tightened, once again to be on the safer side.
You are likely to find minor differences in the process depending on which model of the vehicle you own, but the basic process will always be the same. Initially, it will take some time for you to get used to the task, but once you are well-versed with it, maintenance will become easier and braking problems will be kept at bay.