There are several brake fluid testers available in the market, but the most reliable method to assess the effectiveness of your brake fluid is by testing its boiling point. This is precisely what the AutoTest Brake Fluid tester does.
Many brake fluid testers only measure conductivity and not boiling point, which makes it challenging to determine the fluid’s efficacy. However, boiling point is a crucial factor in determining brake fluid quality. Brake fluid is specifically designed to have a high boiling point in order to withstand the high temperatures generated during braking. The major drawback, due to its chemical composition, it has a tendency to absorb moisture. This moisture can enter the fluid from the air through the breather hole in the master cylinder cap or through the rubber hoses.
The presence of moisture in the brake fluid lowers its boiling point. This increases the risk of “brake fade”. Under demanding driving conditions like towing, driving on steep, winding roads, or engaging in stop-start braking at high speeds, the brake fluid boil, turning to vapour. As a result, the brake pedal may become unresponsive, causing a loss of braking action. This dangerous situation is referred to as “vapour-lock”. If the police investigate such an accident, everything may seem normal as the brake fluid would have cooled down, the brake pedal would feel firm, and the driver, having experienced an inability to stop, would face serious questions.
Brake fluid is a critical safety component, but unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of its importance and rarely request brake fluid checks. While they may be diligent about checking their oil and windshield washer fluids levels, brake fluid has largely been overlooked by both vehicle manufacturers and garages.
So how can one test for moisture in brake fluid? The only approved way is to boil it.
Every bottle of brake fluid includes a chart showing the “dry” (uncontaminated), and “wet” (contaminated) boiling points for various grades of brake fluid. Brake fluid manufacturers employ a test called Equilibrium Reflux Boiling Point (ERBP) to determine the brake fluid’s boiling point. In a laboratory, this test can take several hours to set up and complete.
The AutoTest Brake Fluid tester is designed to measure the boiling point of the fluid in your car in less than 30 seconds, providing digital accuracy. It is compatible with all brake fluid grades and clearly displays the boiling point reached by the fluid, as well as the minimum standards set by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for each grade. This makes it easy for technicians and customers to decide when a fluid change is necessary.
After replacing the brake fluid, garages can use the AutoTest Brake Fluid Tester to retest it and demonstrate the improved results with the new fluid. It is important for consumers to be aware that a sealed bottle of new brake fluid must be used for every brake change. There have been instances where brake fluid left in an opened bottle became as contaminated as the old fluid, effectively rendering it no longer “new”.