TRW, distributed by Serfac Limited, has launched Universal DOT 5.1 ESP brake fluid – a fluid specially developed for vehicles fitted with electronic stability control (ESP) systems.
This new low viscosity fluid exceeds more international specifications than any other and provides the best flow properties for ESP systems, especially in cold conditions.
Vehicles are becoming increasingly complex and many are now fitted with ESP. ABS hydraulic units contain very small bores (often less than 0.1mm) that guide the brake fluid to the valves and pumps. Low viscosity brake fluid allows a faster increase and decrease of the pressure required for different braking demands.
ESP systems count time in milliseconds – the faster the system is modulating the pressure, the shorter the stopping distance. Using TRW Universal DOT 5.1 ESP brake fluid reduces the latent risk of longer stopping distance and a loss of vehicle control. The fluid keeps its viscosity even at extremely low temperatures, meaning it can react more quickly whatever the conditions.
DOT 5.1 has a wet boiling point (WBP) in excess of 180˚C, while keeping the viscosity at -40˚C (below the maximum specification of 750 centiStokes (cSt), required for ESP.
All other ESP fluids on the market are DOT4 because the highest minimum WBP any of them can achieve is 175˚C. This means they cannot be used for vehicles with a higher DOT requirement. TRW’s new Universal DOT 5.1 ESP fluid can be used for any vehicle using DOT specification fluid, meaning that drivers can be confident that systems relying on an ESP fluid will work correctly.
TRW recommends that brake fluid is changed every year for DOT 3 systems and every two years for DOT 4 and DOT 5.1 to maintain maximum braking performance and safety.
Water contamination or debris can shorten the life time of the braking system. Brake fluid absorbs moisture via the brake hoses – the older the hoses, the higher the penetration of moisture. As brakes are used, the brake fluid will heat up and over time, the boiling point of all brake fluids will begin to lower as moisture from the air is absorbed. If the brake fluid boils, ‘vapour lock’ will occur resulting in brake failure for the driver.
If brake fluid is not changed regularly, the master cylinder rubber parts will corrode – visible as black coloured brake fluid. Very dark to black brake fluid is a sign of contamination. If you detect dirty fluid, this needs to be exchanged immediately, otherwise it can harm systems such as ABS and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).