Routine care and maintenance is critical for any vehicle's performance, let alone a luxury import vehicle like a BMW, Mini Cooper, or Volvo. In order to keep such cars running optimally, it's important to follow a strict maintenance and care regimen to avoid the common pitfalls associated with each brand. One critical aspect of vehicle maintenance is fluid care. Your car is equipped with several essential fluids that keep the various systems running well, such as the power steering and transmission. Certain hydraulic fluids that are important for functioning are also important for safety, such as brake fluid.
Changing your car's brake fluid is a foundational aspect of automotive care, especially if you get good use out of your car—and what German-made car driver doesn't? There are several components of brake fluid care to know about if you want it to be done right and at the proper intervals. In this article, we'll cover some basic topics regarding brake fluid care, including what brake fluid does for your car and some tips on how to best prevent issues associated with low or contaminated brake fluid.
Brake Fluid and Its Function
Brake fluid is a highly pressurized, hydraulic fluid that serves an important role in brake functioning. Without adequate clean brake fluid, your brakes can stop working, making your vehicle dangerous to drive. The brakes on your car are able to work properly because the highly pressurized brake fluid in your brake lines, which are connected to the brake pedal, exerts a force onto the brake rotors which rapidly impedes or stops the wheels from continuing to rotate when pressure is applied. As you can see, without brake fluid, you're bound to run into some serious problems.
Using the Right Brake Fluid
When it comes to changing your brake fluid, it's important to use the right brake fluid that's designated for your particular vehicle. While some German cars utilize the same type of brake fluid, it's common for types of brake fluid to vary per car. If you're not sure what type of brake fluid your car requires, you can look in your owner's manual for guidance and details, and you can also consult with a professional who specializes in German vehicles.
How to Know When to Change your Brake Fluid
The average driver with enough automotive knowledge, skill, and access to proper equipment and tools can often perform basic auto maintenance tasks. However, unless you're a daredevil or an especially brave soul, any work done to brakes should be handled by a professional auto mechanic—there is too much risk involved when inadequate brake fluid changing or avoidable errors occur. Along with the type of fluid your car requires, you'll also be able to find the recommended intervals for brake fluid changes. It's important to keep in mind, that these recommendations will vary based on the type of car you drive, but may also need to be adjusted on an individual basis depending on your driving habits and travel demands. With the help of a specialist performing ongoing inspections, you can avoid a brake fluid-related issue.
Signs of Low or Contaminated Brake Fluid
Problems that come up due to inadequate or contaminated brake fluid are concerning, and it's important to have the problem addressed by a professional with expertise and immediacy.
Leaking Brake Fluid
The most common type of brake fluid issue are leaks. If your brake fluid is leaking, you'll likely notice a significant difference in the amount of force required to press down your brake pedal—you may notice you need a lot more or less pressure.
Dashboard Warning Lights
Another good indicator to look out for that indicates an issue with your brake fluid is the presence of any illuminated dashboard warning lights. You might notice the anti-lock brake light come on, or any other brake-related symbol.
What Fast Lane European Can Do to Help
When it comes to brake issues in your German-made car, it's essential to involve the help of knowledgeable, experienced, experts in the German automotive maintenance and repair field. The pros at Fast Lane European, located in San Jose, CA, have been helping the community maintain their luxury European imports for years. We are passionate about providing quality services to our clients, utilizing the most advanced equipment, techniques, and OEM parts; and as a dealership alternative, we have the most affordable rates nearby. If you are concerned about your car's brake health, please don't put off calling us to service them for you—your safety is important to us, and we can help keep your brakes in good working order.