How to Know If You Have Air in Your Braking System

If you want to stop your car with maximum efficiency, you need to ensure that the brake fluid within the system is in perfect condition. When it is first installed, you should have little to worry about, but with time, issues can arise, and you may need to take action, or you will surely lose that efficiency. What measures will you need to consider?

Air and Brake Fluid Do Not Mix

Brake fluid is hydraulic and is not compressible. It sits in a network of pipes that start near to your foot pedal and finish at each brake caliper. The system is designed so that when you apply pressure to the foot pedal, it will push the fluid forward, which will, in turn, push a pair of pistons within each caliper. These pistons then press a pair of friction pads against the rotary disc to decelerate the vehicle.

Due to the fact that the fluid is non-compressible, it'll always apply the right pressure at the road wheel. However, you must ensure that the fluid is always in first-class condition and that if any air should enter the system, it is immediately removed.

Reduced Performance

As you can imagine, small air bubbles can get in the way of the fluid and sharply reduce its capability. These bubbles can enter the system through faulty flexible piping, the reservoir or even a caliper, (if you allow the brake pads to wear down too far).

Spongy Pedal

If you have air in your braking system, you may begin to notice a loss of performance. You may have to press the brake pedal harder to achieve the same deceleration or even "pump" it to get everything to work. Some people report that the pedal feels spongy or imprecise, which is a sure sign that there is air in the system.

Bleeding the Brakes

When you take the vehicle to a mechanic for a brake system service, they will take steps to get rid of any air. To do this, they will bleed the brake pipes on each corner of the car, starting with the one that is furthest away from the foot pedal and master cylinder. One mechanic will sit in the vehicle and pump the brake pedal, while the other opens a bleed valve next to the road wheel. This will slowly pump the brake fluid out into a waiting container, including the unwanted air. Periodically during the process, new brake fluid will be added to the reservoir above, and everything will continue until all air bubbles have been removed.

Over to You

So, if you feel that your pedal feels spongy or it's been some time since everything was checked over, book your vehicle in today.

For more information on car servicing, contact a professional near you.