Brake Fluid in Cars: Functions, Types, and How It Works

Every element contained in a vehicle engine has an important role, including brake fluid which helps reduce friction in metal components.

For those of you who regularly travel every day using a private four-wheeled vehicle, it feels obligatory to know and know the ins and outs of components and elements of a simple car engine, one of which is brake fluid.

This one oil is indeed not in the core engine of the car, but its presence is important because the use of the brakes itself is quite high intensity when you are driving. To better understand the important ins and outs related to this one oil, you can see the following explanation.

Brake Fluid Function

Every element in a car must have its own function, not to mention the oil in the brakes. The function of this oil is to lubricate metal components that rub against each other, namely discs and canvases. Of course, these two components function important to stop the vehicle.

The presence of this liquid makes the two components that rub against each other not dry and will be resistant to heat. Not only that, the function of this brake fluid is also as a distributor of the hydraulic system because it is like a fluid.

Usually, this oil content consists of three ingredients, namely polyglycol. glycolether. and additive. These three contents have different functions. Polyglycol acts as a lubricant because it has a very high level of viscosity. It is different with glycolether which has a role in controlling the viscosity and boiling point for rubber stability. Finally, the additive serves to prevent corrosion, namely the damage or degradation of a metal used for brakes.

Brake Oil Type

Brake fluid consists of several classifications, of course each type has its use. Usually, this type of brake fluid has the name DOT which stands for Department of Transportation. The function of this DOT is to measure the boiling point of the brake fluid. The higher the DOT number, the higher the boiling point. Here's the full explanation.

Dot 3

This type of DOT 3 contains polyglycol ether which is hydroscopic, meaning it is water absorbent. When mixed with water, the oil remains the same. Water that enters the brake hydraulic system will be absorbed so that the water will not interfere with the performance of the brake system.

However, the more water in it, the lower the boiling point. In addition, this type of DOT 3 has several drawbacks, such as being easier to damage natural rubber, damaging paint, and quickly causing rust.

Dot 4

If you are the owner of an old car, the DOT 4 brake fluid is highly recommended. Because, usually old cars have a high-temperature brake system. Therefore, the boiling point of DOT 4 is higher than DOT 3 so it is suitable for use on older cars. DOT 4 is quite easy to get anywhere so it is more practical.

Unfortunately, DOT 4 does not easily absorb water like DOT 3. So, if mixed with water, it is likely to be contaminated. With a higher price than DOT 3, this type of brake fluid also has the potential to damage paint and quickly corrode the brake system.

Dot 5

If you want to use silicone brake fluid, then DOT 5 is the answer. This material is not easy to absorb water, thereby reducing the possibility of corrosion, it is also more stable in high temperature brake systems. Usually, DOT 5 is often used on military vehicles so it will not damage military car paint that functions as a disguise when fighting.

The disadvantage of this type of oil is that its lubrication power is not good because the friction is large, so more force is needed when pressing the brakes for the brake system to work. Another drawback is that silicone does not have the same lubricating power as glycol so it is not suitable for cars equipped with ABS.

The DOT 5 application system is not the same as DOT 3 and DOT 4. You need to rebuild the hydraulic system on the vehicle to use DOT 5. Don't forget too, that DOT 5 does not absorb water so moisture in the hydraulic system will collect in one part. Therefore, brake fluid corrosion will agglomerate at one point only. It is not easy to get DOT 5 brake fluid because it is not sold in ordinary stores.

Dot 5.1

DOT 5.1 brake fluid is the latest innovation following DOT 5. DOT 5.1 has a glycol base material. not the silicon found in DOT 5. If examined further, DOT 5.1 brake fluid is more like DOT 4, but is supported by an even higher quality.

DOT 5.1 brake fluid has a higher boiling point in both wet and dry conditions. In the wet state, the boiling point of DOT 5.1 is 275ᵒ C and in the dry state the boiling point is 175ᵒ C. Another advantage of DOT 5.1 is that it is compatible with various formulations of brake rubber so it is often used in today's vehicles.

Ways of Working

This one oil works very efficiently in making these two rubbing metals not dry. When you press the brake pedal on the vehicle, hydraulic power will start to work which is activated from the master cylinder so that the car wheels can stop. To stop the car's wheels, of course you will press the rubber drum or clamp the disc so that the speed of the wheels slowly stops according to the pressure you give.

Well, so that this hydraulic power can be channeled to all systems, it requires oil or brake fluid. The master cylinder of the car will send mechanical energy to the piston so that it will produce heat from the friction of the brake fluid so that the wheel speed can stop according to the pressure to the drum or clamp the disc.

Make sure you are right in choosing the brake fluid according to the specifications of the car you have. Because, it turns out that there are several types of brake fluid that have different uses. Don't forget, you should regularly replace the brake fluid so that braking performance can be maintained optimally. Regular replacement can reduce the impact of corrosion and paint damage. Replacing brake fluid will automatically remove water and dirt from the braking system.