Regardless if you race for a living or if you simply drive to work every morning, everyone relies on their vehicles brakes to ensure a safe ride. Over the course of our vehicle’s life we will more than likely change brake pads and rotors, but very rarely due we give our brake fluid the attention that it needs.
Unfortunately we’ve all been guilty of treating brake fluid like most fluids under the hood and just top it off when performing other maintenance. We do this because it can be just such a hassle to spend time bleeding the brakes. But we quickly learned from talking with the brake experts from Phoenix Systems that flushing or bleeding your brakes doesn’t have to be a pain in the rear.
Old VS New
The most common ways to bleed your brakes is with the help of a friend. First you have them build up pressure in the caliper by pumping up the brakes and then have them hold the pedal while you released the bleeder valve and force the air and fluid out of the lines. This process was completed at all four calipers, and you had to keep a close eye on the master cylinder fluid level or risk having to start all over. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it sure was messy, time consuming, and there was no way of knowing if you got all the air out of the lines.
Phoenix Systems knew their was a better and a more efficient way. They created a one-man brake bleeding system that accomplishes the desired result of no air in the brake lines by using a reverse bleeding method. The old method would force air to travel unnaturally downward towards the caliper, when Phoenix’s reverse brake bleeder kit utilizes air’s nature to rise.
So what are the main benefits of reverse bleeding? Ben Martinsen of Phoenix Systems explained, “Reverse bleeding injects fluid at the lowest point of the system, the slave bleeder valve. Our system works by not fighting the basic principle that air wants to go up, instead we harness it. You can quickly remove all the air from the entire braking system in about ten minutes by using our reverse bleeding kit.”
But before we get into how easy the kit is to use, let’s see why it’s so important to pay close attention to our brake fluid.
Why We Need To Pay Attention To Our Brake Fluid
More than likely all of us at some point have felt that annoying soft pedal on your vehicle. This can be especially unnerving in a motorsports application or when someone stops short infront of you at a red light. It can also can lead to a wrong diagnosis, many times we look at a soft pedal and assume that the pads or rotors need to be inspected or changed. However, it also might be the culprit of a little air in your lines.
Phoenix Systems explained to us that in their research they have discovered that up to 41% of braking systems on the road today have air trapped within the lines. So what’s the problem with a little air? Air within the lines of a hydraulic system acts like a spring when compressed. Quite simply, the more air you have in your lines, the softer the brake pedal will feel under your feet.
However, a soft pedal isn’t the only reason to bleed or flush your system.
Determining If You Need More Than Just A Bleed
Some gearheads simply look to the color of the brake fluid to determine if it is time for a change, but Martinsen explains that color isn’t everything, “The color turns dark mainly due to dye from the hoses and other components in the brake system and this does not mean that the brake fluid is contaminated.”
Rather the real sign that it’s time for a complete fluid exchange is the level of copper in your brake fluid. Phoenix Systems explained to us that copper is the first metal to corrode in the brake system. Vehicles have steel brake lines, however the braising of the lines have copper in them. Brake fluid contains corrosion inhibitors but due to factors like heat from brake rotors, stop and go driving, or low quality brake fluid the inhibitors will break down.
Martinsen explained that once the inhibitors break down corrosion can cause some serious effects, “Copper in the brake lines over time can damage to valves and expensive ABS components. It can also accelerate corrosion of the entire brake system.”
To help determine the where the life of your brake fluid is at Phoenix Systems created the BrakeStrip. The BrakeStrip performs a quick 60 second test of the copper content in the brake fluid. A strip is inserted into the vehicle’s master cylinder and then in one minute it changes color based on the level of copper. To much color and your vehicle contains to much copper.
How Easy It Can Be To Bleed Your Brakes
We all know the old way of bleeding your brakes, so now lets take a look at why the Reverse Bleeding system saves so much time and mess.
The Reverse Brake Bleeding System is proof that their are ways to simplify the dirty and annoying projects in the garage. The Reverse Brake Bleeder Kit creates a quick and easy way to eliminate a common problem of having a soft brake pedal caused by having air in the lines. But we learned after speaking with the experts at Phoenix Systems that keeping a close eye on your brake fluid is just as crucial.