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The Dangers of Air and Water in Your Braking System

Baking system of Sports Car
You should never take your brakes for granted. Brakes that stop your vehicle effectively require maintenance and care. Two things that can disrupt your vehicle's braking capabilities are moisture and air. Here is a look at what moisture and air can do to your brakes, and what you can do to mitigate the effects.
Why You Have Air in Your Brake System
Air enters your brake line from various points. As air builds up, problems will occur.
How Air Gets Into Your Brakes
Anytime you expose your brake system to air, you add a little more air into the brake line. For example, just checking the brake fluid of your car will allow a little air to enter. Damage to your brake line will also allow air to seep into the system.
Low brake fluid can introduce air into the system. As the brake fluid lowers, air can come into the reservoir to fill the void left behind. As your brake system wears, more air will find a way into the reservoir.
How Air Impacts Your Braking System
Small air bubbles may not initially give you issues. But eventually, small air bubbles will meet and form larger air bubbles.
Your brake fluid doesn't compress easily. When you push the brake pedal, the brake fluid pushes force to your braking mechanisms. When air is present in the fluid, the air compresses instead of the fluid when you press the brakes. Compressed air cannot power your brakes, so you will lose braking power.
Loss of braking power can be an annoyance, but can also be a very real danger for yourself and others. If your vehicle can’t stop in time, you might be in an accident.
How to Tell If Air Is in Your Braking System
If your brakes feel spongy, you should definitely check your brake fluid. That spongy feeling suggests air in the braking system.  
If you can press the brake all the way down to the floor, you have a problem. Your brakes use hydraulics, so your brake pedal should always feel firm. You will feel it grow more firm the further you push it down.
Why You Have Water in Your Brake System
Much like air, moisture can enter your braking system in various ways. Any path air can take, water can take as well. In addition, water can get into your braking system from any porous part of the braking system.
Also, the brake fluid itself is working against you. Brake fluid attracts and absorbs moisture. The moisture in your brake fluid will cause the fluid to heat and boil faster. The steam will compress, create water, and then separate into air. In this way, moisture actually circles back to causing you an air problem in your braking system.
Why You Have to Maintain and Bleed Your Brakes
The buildup of air and moisture is an inevitability. You can slow the buildup in several ways:
  • Keep an adequate amount of braking fluid in your vehicle at all times.
  • Don't open the brake reservoir unless you have to.
  • Stick to a schedule for changing your brake pads.
  • Address spongy braking immediately by either adding brake fluid or seeing a professional.
Outside of other considerations, take your car in for brake bleeding service. When a technician bleeds your brakes, they will add fresh brake fluid that pushes out air bubbles and old, watery fluid.
Brake bleeding can represent a singular service or one part of an overall brake maintenance service. No matter what, make sure you take care of your brakes so your brakes can take care of you.
Damage to your brakes can occur from many sources. Don't let any braking issue linger. At Auto Import Service, our experts can diagnose, repair, replace, and service your brakes. Contact us to learn more about our rates and services.