It is easy to make the mistake of putting the wrong brake fluid into your vehicle; this is why you need to understand the question,” is all brake fluid synthetic?” The answer to this question is no. There are conventional types of brake fluid, but they are not commonly used in modern vehicles.
Convention synthetic brake fluid is commonly used in older vehicles or specified vehicle brands or models. In general, synthetic brake fluid performs better than conventional one, which is why it is commonly used.
No, not all brake fluids are synthetic; some are conventional but not commonly used because they are outdated and do not suit most vehicles used today. However, some are still being used to this day for specific vehicles.
Most brake oils available in the market today are synthetic brake fluids, which means that they are made from non-natural products. Three major brake fluid types are DOT 3, DOT 4, and 5. There is an extra one, the DOT 5.1, which has a higher boiling point than the rest of the three.
When we talk about synthetic car fluids, we mean fluids not made from petroleum compounds. The fluid is made artificially. Most brake fluids are made using a glycol-ether-based compound, which is not a natural substance. Non-synthetic vehicle fluids are meant to be made from compounds or chemical substances like petroleum. The word natural does not make the fluid any safer to use non-synthetic fluids like motor oil, which can cause significant build-up in the vehicle.
An example of non-synthetic brake fluid is the LHM plus fluid made from premium mineral oil-based fluid. Other fluids include non-synthetic brake fluid like the pre-DOT fluids in older cars. This type of fluid is used among older generations of vehicles.
Adding a synthetic brake fluid has its advantages over conventional fluids. Some may include the prevention of build-ups, corrosion of parts, and much more. It is essential to note that synthetic fluid is the most reliable type of brake fluid sold, which is why it is one of the most commonly used by car owners.
Below are some of the advantages of using synthetic fluid.
1. Prevent build-up
Unlike conventional fluids, synthetic types of fluid do not leave build-ups. It provides a better environment for the fluid in the brake to work as it should. On the other hand, conventional oil leaves dangerous build-ups in various parts of the engine, which could cause the brake to fail.
2. Performs better when it comes to corrosion
Synthetic fluid will perform better when it comes to corrosion as it provides a form of coating for metal parts of the brake. It protects external elements that find their way into the brake system from causing rust or damaging the part.
3. Better Lubricating ability
Synthetic has a better lubricating ability, which allows the moving parts of the brake to move better and provides protection for it. Its lubricating ability will last longer than conventional brake oil.
4. Works better with rubber components
One disadvantage of conventional brake fluid is that it does not perform well with rubber parts. It will damage the rubber parts of the brakes after some time, which is why it is used more with older vehicles and not modern ones. On the other hand, synthetic fluid will perform well with rubber parts. A leaking fluid will not damage any parts of the caliper, rotor, and brake pad as long as it is cleaned and taken care of fast.
5. Last Longer
Synthetic brake fluid can last for 3 years or every 45,000 miles. Most manufacturers recommend changing your brake fluid during this period, but there is no recommended time frame for conventional oil. It is because they do not expect you to use conventional oil for the vehicle.
When we are talking about synthetic vs conventional brake fluid, the first thing we should consider is the chemical components. Synthetic oil is made from artificial chemical components like glycol-ether. Less common types of synthetic fluid are made from silicone-based components. Most types of this brake fluids are synthetic and are used in modern vehicles.
On the other hand, regular or conventional brake fluids are mainly mineral oil-based fluids. It means that they can be obtained from petroleum-based compounds. They are mainly used in older-generation vehicles or are required for specific vehicles. For instance, the LHM plus fluid is mainly used with Citroën vehicles.
Examples of synthetic oil include the Castrol DOT 4 synthetic brake fluid, Prestone dot 3 synthetic brake fluid, and more.
Mixing brake fluid is delicate, and you need proper information before doing so. Conventional oil, like the LHM, cannot be mixed with any DOT 4 fluid, which is primarily synthetic. Regular oil has lower viscosity based on paraffin oils and cannot be mixed with any other brake fluid, especially the DOT 5.
The Silicone brake fluid compatibility is with none of the fluids. It is the best use alone. Most brake fluids have different boiling points, making them incompatible. Using the specified type of brake fluid for your vehicle is best; avoid mixing them.
All Dot 3 fluids are not synthetic; some are glycol ether, while others can be mineral based. You must check the DOT fluid components that you are buying. Some can be synthetic or conventional.
Just like the LHM plus fluid, the DOT 3 fluid can be made of crude mineral oil-based components, which makes them conventional. These synthetic fluids cannot be mixed with any other type of fluid, regardless of whether it is a DOT fluid.
Manufacturers recommend using your synthetic fluid for 3 years or 45,000 miles. After using it for this long, you are advised to get it changed immediately. The brake oil gets contaminated easily and can accumulate moisture in fluid during that period. It can accumulate between 1 and 2% moisture in a year. Changing at the recommended time will prevent the contaminated fluid from causing havoc to your brake system.
Synthetic brake fluid is recommended for most modern vehicles because of its unique abilities. It has a higher boiling point and can be used longer than other brake fluid types. It also provides different types of protection to the brake system parts, protecting them from corrosion.
Different brakes require different types of brake fluid, and you must check your vehicle’s manual for the type of brake fluid suitable for your vehicle.