BMW X3 Service & Repair Manual: General information

BMW X3 Service & Repair Manual / Brakes / General information

Brake fluid, (glycol-based) as used in BMW brake systems, must conform with the following requirements:

  • High boiling point
  • Good low temperature resistance
  • Low compressibility
  • Corrosion inhibition for all metal parts inside of brake system
  • Compatibility with all rubber parts used in brake system

These requirements are fulfilled by reputable brand name DOT 4 brake fluids.

Silicone-based brake fluid has better compressibility, but because it cannot absorb moisture, is subject to vapor lock at temperatures above 212ºF/100ºC. At lower temperatures, it may even ice-up.

Silicone-based brake fluid is not approved by BMW . Glycol-based brake fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere (hygroscopicity) through the brake fluid reservoir, brake hoses, etc. This absorption of water lowers the original boiling point of brake fluid and active safety of the entire system. If there is extended use of the brakes while driving downhill at high speeds, the thermal loads could cause vapor bubbles in the brake fluid. This situation could lead to reduced braking effectiveness.

The original boiling point of factory-approved brake fluids is approximately 500ºF/260ºC. Due to the hygroscopic behavior of brake fluid, 2% of water within one year is permissible. The boiling point of brake fluid will drop by 100ºC with 3% water absorption. It is essential to conform with brake fluid changing intervals in order to guarantee the safety and maximum effectiveness of a brake system.

It would not be sufficient simply to replace the brake fluid in the reservoir. Experience has shown that vapor bubbles will occur first on areas of the brake caliper. This area is subjected to high thermal loads and also exposed to heat transmission.

When replacing the brake fluid, the brake fluid used as the working fluid in the hydraulic clutch should also be replaced. This is done by draining the clutch operation system or bleeding with the help of the clutch slave cylinder.

The brake fluid should be replaced by filling the brake fluid reservoir. Make sure that each bleeder valve of all wheel cylinders or brake calipers is kept open until the escaping brake fluid is clear and without air bubbles.

Never use brake fluid that has been drained from the system.

Storage of brake fluids also deserves your special attention. The aging process begins with the initial contact between the brake fluid and the atmosphere. This means immediately after a new container is opened.

To keep the boiling point of stored brake fluids as high as possible, we recommend conforming with the following points:

  • Close all containers tightly.
  • Select small size containers, which can be used up quickly.
  • Avoid pouring contents of one container into a different container.
    Brakes
    ...

    Handling brake fluids
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