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What is brake fluid?

Car brakes on your car use fluid pressure to work. When a car’s brake pedal is pushed, a plunger in the brake’s master cylinder pressurises the brake fluid that resides in the hoses and pipes to make the other components of the braking system move.

How long does brake fluid last?

This varies from car to car, but most manufacturers suggest that the fluid is replaced at least every couple of years. Although the fluid is in a sealed system, moisture can still find its way in. It corrodes components over time and decreases the temperature at which the fluid is supposed to boil. Furthermore, as the internal components of the braking system wear out, debris contaminates the fluid, jamming everything up. All of this impacts on how well the brakes function, particularly in constant stop-start traffic with heavy braking.

What are the possible signs that a car needs new, or more, brake fluid?

  • If the brakes on a car feel in any way as though they are not functioning correctly.
  • When the car’s brakes are spongy when pressed.
  • When fluid is new, it has a light amber colour to it, so that is what to look out for.
  • As the light amber fluid darkens, which is a sign of contamination, the need to change it increases.
  • If the fluid ever becomes darker than brown, or even black, then it should be changed immediately.

How long does it take to change brake fluid?

  • The fluid can be easily replaced in around 15-30 minutes, depending on the vehicle.

How much does brake fluid cost?

  • The fluid is relatively inexpensive, certainly compared to the cost of replacing a corroded master cylinder, so it’s important to keep an eye on it.
  • The cost can vary from vehicle to vehicle but should be less than £50.

Driving in Portsmouth

This waterfront city in Hampshire is the most densely populated city in the UK. This means that traffic can build at Portsmouth’s rush hour, but that it’s also packed with things to do and see for all ages.

Tourists are drawn to the area for its proximity to the sea, but Portsmouth’s naval history is also a prominent feature with numerous related attractions, such as The Historic Dockyard, the D-Day Museum, the Royal Naval Museum, and the Royal Marines Museum. A number of iconic ships adorn the dockyard such as the HMS Victory, the HMS Warrior and Henry VIII’s Tudor warship the Mary Rose. For those who can handle heights, there are marvellous views from the observation deck of the Spinnaker Tower, a sweep of glass and steel shaped like a sail, which lays claim to being Britain's tallest tower outside London.

Portsmouth has a prestigious literary history and is the birthplace of many celebrated authors from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Michelle Magorian, H.G. Wells to Neil Gaiman and most notably, Charles Dickens. The modest house in Old Commercial Road was his former abode and has been restyled to resemble the original Dickens family home.

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