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As part of the Bendix Test Pilot Program,
Ben, a mechanic at Heasman Steering
shows how to test your brake fluid with
the proper tools, in the correct way.
Brake fluid is designed with a high
boiling point to withstand the extreme
temperatures generated during
braking and needs to be checked to
ensure it meets the exact temperature
DOT 3 and DOT 4 Brake Fluids are
hygroscopic fluids that will absorb
moisture when exposed to air. This
occurs in instances such as opening
the reservoir cap or through brake lines
where the moisture level can build
up over time. Brake fluid is designed
to absorb moisture to prevent it from
pooling and causing corrosion on
metal components (see Figure 1 & 2
below). This is the normal process of

the brake fluids life-cycle so we need

to check that the moisture is at safe
levels. Elevated moisture levels reduces
the boiling point and effectiveness
of the brake fluid (Figure 3). In hot
weather conditions or in a vehicle that
is experiencing heavy braking, the
moisture can vaporize causing a vapor
lock in the system (Figure 4). The vapor
is compressible and prevents the solid
hydraulic lock that fresh brake fluid
delivers leading to a soft brake pedal or
even complete brake failure.

When it comes to testing brake

fluid, its vital to understand the
different types of brake fluid
ratings and the testing equipment
required to accurately test it.
Ben Mechanic, Heasman Steering

When Bendix DOT 4 brake fluid is new,

it has a high dry boiling point. As the
moisture content builds to 3% in the
brake fluid, it develops what is known
as a wet boiling point of 155C. This
temperature is critical and the brake
fluid must be replaced if the boiling
point is below 155C.

Figure 1: Brake Line with New Brake Fluid

Figure 3: Brake Line with Acceptable Levels of Moisture

Newly replaced brake fluid is devoid of moisture.

Over time, moisture is absorbed by the brake fluid, decreasing

the overall boiling point.

Figure 2: Brake Line with Excessive Moisture

Figure 4: Brake Line with Vaporized Moisture

After a while, brake fluid absorbs too much moisture, and needs
to be replaced.

If the moisture vaporizes, it can form a vapour lock that

dangerously reduces the brake lines hydraulic function.



So how do we test the brake fluid to

know if it requires changing?
There are 2 common tools used to test
brake fluid. One is a conductivity tester,
the other is a boiling point tester.
Bendix does not recommend using a
conductivity tester as they have been
known to fail when testing freshly
opened brake fluid. Conductivity
testers estimate the moisture content
by converting the conductivity into an
estimated boiling point. Since brake
fluids vary from formula to formula,
this test is not an accurate result
unless the tester is calibrated to the
manufacturers product when new.
Bendix recommends a tester that heats
the brake fluid to determine the correct
boiling point. Using a boiling point tester
is the only accurate way to test brake
fluid performance.

A boiling point tester


A conductivity tester

It takes less than a minute to measure

the boiling point and confirm if the
brake fluid has absorbed too much
moisture to be safe. In the case on the
following page, our wet boiling point is
(155-200C) which is above the Bendix

DOT 4 minimum wet boiling point of

155C. Its important to remember
that the system will continue to absorb
moisture before the next service so it
is recommended to change brake fluid
regularly to ensure the vehicle is safe.
By regularly checking your customers
brake fluid condition is not only a vital
safety issue but also a way of increasing
your servicing revenue.
We used the AutoStop Brake Fluid
Tester with its ergonomic design and
user friendly features. It operates off
the 12 volt supply from the vehicles
own battery and the LCD display
screen leads the operator through the
complete test sequence. AutoStop
Brake Fluid Tester is ideal for testing
Bendix DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluids as
well as racing fluids.

To watch the video, visit:

A boiling point tester is easy to use and takes less than a minute
to record an accurate result.
The end of the Brake Fluid
Tester is inserted into the master
cylinder reservoir so that it is
submersed in the brake fluid. It
is powered directly from the cars
battery using the electrical clips.

When the button is pressed,
a small sample of the fluid is
heated up to boiling point and
the temperature is recorded
by a highly accurate electronic

This temperature is recorded
and displayed along with the
recommended boiling points so
you can easily asses the fluids

If testing indicates the brake

fluid needs to be replaced, get optimum
performance from the hard working formula of Bendix
High Performance DOT 3 & DOT 4 Brake Fluid.
Bendix DOT 3 & DOT 4 Brake Fluid is a high performing Polyglycol type fluid designed for optimum performance of hydraulic &
conventional brake systems, and is available in 500mL and 4L bottles and 20L drums.

DOT 3: High Performance

DOT 4: High Performance/Heavy Duty

Bendix High Performance DOT 3 Brake Fluid is suitable for

use in ABS/non ABS disc and drum brakes and hydraulic
clutch systems in cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles where
FMVSS DOT 3 fluids are specified. Bendix Brake Fluid is
straw in colour for ease of identification.

Bendix High Performance Heavy Duty DOT 4 Brake Fluid

is suitable for use in ABS/non ABS disc and drum brakes
and hydraulic clutch systems in cars, trucks, buses and
motorcycles. Bendix Brake Fluid is dyed blue in colour for
ease of identification.

Dry Boiling Point (ERBP)
Wet Boiling Point (ERBP)
Flash Point
lgnition Temperature
PH Value

Light Yellow (Straw)

1.031 Kg/L
Min. 230C
Min. 140C
Soluble in water
7-11 Slightly Alkaline



Dry Boiling Point (ERBP)
Wet Boiling Point (ERBP)
Flash Point
Ignition Temperature
PH Value

1.039 Kg/L
Min. 260C
Min. 155C
Soluble in water
7-11 Slightly Alkaline

For more information on Bendix Brake Fluid, visit:


Freecall the Bendix Brake Advice Centre on
1800 819 666 (8am-5pm Monday to Friday EST)
or +61 3 5327 0211 from overseas. or
*Bendix brake components are appropriate for the purpose intended and if installed by qualified
staff, to the vehicle manufacturers specifications, can be used in logbook servicing. PRJ-05385

Put your foot down with confidence