For many of us, when we first started driving, brakes meant “pedal”, and some even knew there were pads and rotors. But lots of car owners learn about brake fluid when their mechanic recommends the brake fluid flush. Unlike blinker fluid (not a real thing!), brake fluid is very real and very important to the braking system!
Brake fluid is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts moisture. The unwanted moisture/water in the brake fluid can boil (boiling point of water is lower than that of brake fluid), causing vapor to form in the hydraulic brake system. That vapor causes pockets of air in the brake lines and results in a spongy brake pedal = brake pedal responds more slowly. And moisture acts to corrode metal components (brake lines, calipers, the master cylinder and others) within the braking system -, possibly causing an eventual failure.
If you notice a need to start braking earlier than you used to, odds are that you need your brake fluid flushed (replaced). But ideally you do not wait until there is a safety concern to get this service! Every manufacturer recommends you service your brake fluid on a regular service schedule (see your owner’s manual), plus our technicians visually inspect the brake fluid and perform a test drive on every vehicle.
Happy and safe travels to you!