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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old April 11th, 2005, 17:31   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: California, USA
Fuel Economy: 55/52/47 (mpg)
Default What causes brake fluid to turn brown / black?

New brake fluid is clear. The two year old brake fluid that I just replaced is light brown. I've seen black brake fluid in cars where it has not been replaced for some time.

Does brake fluid turn brown or black when it absorbs moisture, or do bits of brake components that the fluid touches flake off and get in the brake fluid? Or some other reason?
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Old April 11th, 2005, 18:20   #2
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Default Re: What causes brake fluid to turn brown / black?

Both. Moisture will make it darken. Wear in seals and other moving parts, and corrosion, results in suspended solids which makes it black with chunkies floating around in it. Replacing it on schedule, like you did, keeps the latter situation from happening!
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Old April 11th, 2005, 18:42   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bend, Oregon
Default What causes brake fluid to turn brown / black?

This is from my truck after I flushed it after... (nine years)

The light colored spot was floating on top of the fluid, but I was able to pull it out in one piece, although it pretty much fell apart and it did soak into the rag. When I got down to the bottom of the resivior, there was a small amount of very fine sparklies there. I wiped those out with a rag.

I think the white stuff was from water, but that's just a guess.
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