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Automotive glossary: What is Brake Fluid?

Definition of Brake Fluid: In hydraulic brake systems, the pressure that actuates the brake cylinders of the several wheels is passed by a liquid. In pure condition, the utilized brake fluids have boiling points of above 400°F (>200°C), as the fluid can heat up enormously by the heated brake discs, but still must not arise steam bubbles. Those would lead to brake malfunction, as gas is compressible and thus would simply "swallow" the braking pressure. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, i.e. it sucks water from its surroundings. With increasing water content again, the boiling point lowers and therewith the brake failure hazard increments. Therefore it is important to get the brake fluid renewed and the brake system bled regularly by a garage. Brake fluid is injurious to health and should not get into contact with skin or eyes.

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