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Consumer FAQ

Top Questions Asked By Consumers

Why is brake fluid so important?

  • Brake fluid is the key to stopping your vehicle.
  • When you press on the brake pedal, it’s the brake fluid that carries your command to the braking components located at the wheels.
  • Brake fluid is the life’s blood of your brake system and you’ve got to protect it.

Does Brake Fluid Last Forever?

  • “NO,” brake fluid does not last forever
  • Just like engine oil, coolant, and transmission fluid, brake fluid wears over time.
  • Corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid protect the brake system from corrosion.
  • Corrosion inhibitors deplete over time and leave the brake system vulnerable to corrosion.
  • Copper levels can increase in brake fluid and cause severe brake system problems.

To learn more about brake system corrosion view Dr. Wheelers White Paper.
To see pictures of brake system corrosion.

How do I know when it’s time for a brake fluid replacement?

  • There is only one proven and accepted way to know the condition of your brake fluid and that is by testing the copper level in brake fluid.
  • BrakeStrip uses a patented copper testing technology developed by Phoenix Systems to determine when to replace brake fluid.
  • It has been determined by brake fluid manufacturers and experts alike that you cannot tell brake fluid condition by color, moisture or time/mileage

What’s the big deal with copper?

  • Copper levels in the brake fluid are the best indicators that the fluid’s corrosion inhibitors are depleted.
  • Copper levels help predict when damaging corrosion could occur, allowing you to take preventative action.
  • Copper can plate to ABS and other valves causing improper ABS operation during panic stops.
  • Copper accelerates corrosion of iron ABS brake components.

Where does copper come from?

  • Copper comes from the lining used in all steel brake lines.

What is BrakeStrip and how is it used?

  • Brake Strip is a small strip of plastic that has a specialized reaction zone at the end of the strip.
  • Once dipped in brake fluid the strip begins the copper measurement reaction, changing from white to purple in direct proportion to copper ions suspended in the fluid.
  • Compare the strip to the copper color scale and in as little as 60 seconds you have immediate, reliable proof of whether or not your brake fluid meets recommended guidelines.

What does a purple BrakeStrip test mean?

  • If BrakeStrip turns purple, you know brake fluid service is required.
  • MAP has determined that brake fluid must be replaced at 200 ppm copper.
  • BrakeStrip turns a bright purple at 200 ppm copper.

What happens if I don’t flush my brake fluid?

Over time the corrosion inhibitors become depleted. When they are significantly depleted, corrosion may occur and lead to:

  • Costly ABS damage and repairs
  • Brake System
  • Longer stopping distance

What standards are there for brake fluid replacement?

  • Current standards for replacing brake fluid are based on the level of copper in the brake fluid.
  • The Motorist Assurance Program (MAP) guidelines requires brake fluid replacement at 200 ppm copper.

How much should I pay for brake fluid replacement service and what do I get?

  • Expect to pay between $70 and $125 for proper brake flush service.
  • There is no better $100 bucks you can spend for this kind of “peace of mind”.
  • Stopping insurance for your brakes.

Who’s using BrakeStrip?

  • Service facilities that follow MAP guidelines.
  • Service facilities that want to prove to their customers when service is required.
  • National service centers like: Firestone, Midas, Meineke, Sears, Mr. Tire, Tires Plus, Tire Kingdom, Big O, Brake Masters and many more.
  • Hundreds of independent service facilities.

I failed a BrakeStrip test soon after I had a brake fluid replacement?

Occasionally we hear this statement, “they told me something must be wrong with the BrakeStrip test because they just changed my brake fluid”.

  • Brake Strips never give a false reading. It tests for copper so there is no way to “fake” the test.
  • The answer is very simple. There is still copper in the brake fluid. The method of brake fluid exchange was not sufficient to remove the copper from the system.
  • Please Don’t blame the messenger!

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