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How to do a brake fluid change

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For obvious reasons, your car’s brakes are one of its most important components. Keeping brakes in top working condition depends on brake fluid, which periodically must be changed.

So, how do you know when it’s time? Brake fluid absorbs moisture, which, at the least, can affect your brakes’ performance, and worse, can damage your brakes, according to DMV.org.

Check it; it should be a clear, honey color. You can also test your brakes. If they’re mushy or you have to step really hard to get them to work, a fluid change might be in order. Or you can dip a test strip into the fluid and compare the color to the chart on the packaging.You can also consult a trusted mechanic to find out for sure.

Note: A brake fluid change isn’t the same as a flush. A fluid change doesn’t replace all the old fluid, but it will improve your brakes’ performance, according to Family Handyman magazine. To change brake fluid, do the following:

Use brake fluid made for your specific make and model vehicle and always wear gloves and protective eyewear. Park on a level surface, apply the parking brake. Find the master cylinder reservoir under the hood, and wipe off the cap. Use a turkey baster to remove the old fluid and wipe the inside of the master cylinder. Add new brake fluid up to the full line, then replace the cap.

Family Handyman recommends driving your car  for a week to mix the new fluid with the old. Repeat the procedure several times over the next few weeks until the fluid in the reservoir remains honey color.

For a more thorough flush, see your trusted mechanic.

Douglas Automotive : 123 E. Virginia, Crystal Lake, IL 815.356.0440 : 417 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL : 847. 381.0454 : 416 Northwest Highway, Fox River Grove, IL : 847.639.4552 : www.douglasautomotive.com

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