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Old 31-05-2015   #1
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Insufficient brake fluid

Every now and then my little 500 pops up advising the brake fluid is insufficient and I shouldn't proceed. I have check the fluid levels (which are full) and checked for leaks under the car but there is nothing obvious to suspect a leak. I have a feeling it could be a faulty sensor. Would this be covered by warranty and is there an easy way to self fix if not?

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Old 31-05-2015   #2
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

If your vehicle is less than 3 years old? has been serviced correctly within Fiat's T's&C's whether that be dealership or independent, then yes, if there is a problem, it should be covered under warranty. Simple solution, go to your nearest dealership, explain the issue and hopefully, they'll sort it out for you. Be aware, in order to comply with Fiat's servicing instructions, the brake fluid is supposed to be changed at the two year point from new and every two years thereafter.

You can buy brake fluid tester, see the following link. I have one of these and it is a good bit of kit, cheap too. I know it works because our own cars are fine having had their brake fluid changed recently, unlike my neighbour's car who hasn't had his fluid changed for 5 years and it is completely moisture contaminated. Sad thing is, it'd only cost him 40 quid to get it swapped out, but he's just not interested. Take from that what you will!

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LED-Brake-...item1c4a787056
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Old 31-05-2015   #3
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Brake fluid every two years?
Yes, that's what is says in the handbook, but just looking in our Clio's handbook, the brake fluid should be changed every four years.

I wonder why the difference?
Same stuff, same braking system.

Since our Clio went out of warranty at three years old, I doubt the brake fluid has been changed. She's done 95,000 miles now and has just had her 14th birthday. She has been service regularly by the local independent garage.

In all the years I've been driving, and in all the years I've looked after our cars - since 1971 - I've never ever changed the brake fluid. It wasn't until we bought the Clio brand new that I've sent her to be serviced by garages rather than me doing it myself.

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Old 31-05-2015   #4
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Quote Originally Posted by Mick F View Post
Brake fluid every two years?
Yes, that's what is says in the handbook, but just looking in our Clio's handbook, the brake fluid should be changed every four years.

I wonder why the difference?
Same stuff, same braking system.

Since our Clio went out of warranty at three years old, I doubt the brake fluid has been changed. She's done 95,000 miles now and has just had her 14th birthday. She has been service regularly by the local independent garage.

In all the years I've been driving, and in all the years I've looked after our cars - since 1971 - I've never ever changed the brake fluid. It wasn't until we bought the Clio brand new that I've sent her to be serviced by garages rather than me doing it myself.

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cant you just see from the state of the fluid if it needs changing or not?
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Old 31-05-2015   #5
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Yes.
Looks ok to me.

The brakes work, it passes MOT's, the car gets serviced and maintained, brakes are checked.
What's not to like?

Mick.
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Old 31-05-2015   #6
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

I'd be more worried about internal corrosion on pistons/cylinders/ABS or ESP modulating valves than the boiling point being lowered.

You might get away with it, but for 40 versus potentially hundreds of pounds in parts alone I wouldn't.
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Old 31-05-2015   #7
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Quote Originally Posted by ahmett View Post
cant you just see from the state of the fluid if it needs changing or not?
Absolutely not!!

Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture until it becomes so diluted, the boiling point of fluid becomes much lower. I know there are plenty of people out there who never change the brake fluid in their car, this is poor practice and potentially causes issues as zanes has already pointed out, corrosion to the internal braking parts. It may have been easy enough to get away with not changing brake fluid on a 1973 Austin Maxi for literally years, but then cars like that didn't go very fast and they didn't have complicated ABS systems. A brand new ABS pump when the original goes wrong, costs an absolute fortune. 40 quid therefore on changing out the brake fluid every couple of years, is naff all.

Mick F though does raise a perfectly good point, some manufacturers state 4 years between brake fluid changes, including my Saab which GM firmly state in the handbook, is four years. I've compromised and swap mine out every 3 years.
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Old 31-05-2015   #8
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Quote Originally Posted by frupi View Post
Absolutely not!!

Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture until it becomes so diluted, the boiling point of fluid becomes much lower. I know there are plenty of people out there who never change the brake fluid in their car, this is poor practice and potentially causes issues as zanes has already pointed out, corrosion to the internal braking parts. It may have been easy enough to get away with not changing brake fluid on a 1973 Austin Maxi for literally years, but then cars like that didn't go very fast and they didn't have complicated ABS systems. A brand new ABS pump when the original goes wrong, costs an absolute fortune. 40 quid therefore on changing out the brake fluid every couple of years, is naff all.

Mick F though does raise a perfectly good point, some manufacturers state 4 years between brake fluid changes, including my Saab which GM firmly state in the handbook, is four years. I've compromised and swap mine out every 3 years.

I just do it whenever I overhaul brakes so like every 2-3 years
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Old 31-05-2015   #9
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

I'm not saying the local garage haven't changed the brake fluid.

I'm saying that although the brakes have been overhauled when necessary, they haven't told me one way or not the the fluid has been changed in its entirety.

Of all the years I've owned and maintained cars - 40odd of them - I've never ever drained out all the fluid and replaced it all.

Seems very wasteful to me.

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Old 31-05-2015   #10
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Thing is Mick, it's not wasteful at all. As I mentioned earlier, brake fluid is hygroscopic, it will naturally absorb moisture which will eventually cause corrosion issues within the braking components and will of course cause braking degradation. Sorry mate, but brake fluid just don't last forever and I personally with a modern car, wouldn't push it past three years for peace of mind.
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Old 31-05-2015   #11
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

I'm sure you are correct, I'm not arguing with you.
I'm just saying that in all the years of my car ownership I have never ever changed all the brake fluid.

Let's suggest you do this.
Fit a non-return tube on each of the bleed nipples and pump the brake pedal. Meanwhile someone pours new fluid into the reservoir under the bonnet.

Honestly, I have no idea how you would replace all the fluid. All you could do in my humble opinion is to bleed some out and pour some more in. Maybe that's what I have done over the years with maintenance, but not deliberately completely changed the fluid religiously every two or three years.

As I said, my cars have always passed MOT's and had their brakes overhauled and adjusted. They have always worked and been reliable and perfect.

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Old 31-05-2015   #12
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Re: Insufficient brake fluid

Thanks guys, I didn't know brake fluid could be contaminated. You learn something new everyday. The car still has 150 miles before a service required. It's still within warranty so I think I will take it in. Thanks for the info
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