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Thread: Screenwash + Brake Fluid what's the worst that can happen?

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    Screenwash + Brake Fluid what's the worst that can happen?

    Firstly I want to point out that when I say a friend, I mean a friend, and it is not some coded way of saying "me".

    Anyway, a friend from work accidentally added screen wash to the brake fluid intake on his car the other night.
    After it filled up rather quickly he realised his mistake and tried to remove the screen wash using kitchen towel (don't ask me how - his words).

    Anyway, everyone at work has already told him he's an idiot for not getting his brake fluid drained and replaced, but he's not listening.

    So, what is the worst that can happen?

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    LWA
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    Senior Member Shad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capt_cornflake View Post
    So, what is the worst that can happen?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/5110270.stm

    That springs to mind
    Simon


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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    Brake fluid will dissovle very readily in water - rendering it pretty much useless.

    if your mate doesn't drain and replace his brake fluid very soon he's going to cause a big mess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moby-Dick View Post
    if your mate doesn't drain and replace his brake fluid very soon he's going to cause an indecent.
    My thoughts exactly, which is why I thought if I got some horror stories, I could persuade him to do something about it.

    P.S. I assume you meant incident?

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    see my edit
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    brake fluid has a very high boiling point, which means that as the brakes heat up, it doesnt boil. water, or screenwash, on the other hand, doesnt (screenwash is iirc mostly alchohol, so boils at a low temperature). because of this, as the brakes heat up, the fluid will start to boil, filling the system with gas. when you apply pressure to a gas, it just squashes. unlike a liquid. so, the worst that can happen (and could be fairly likely) is that he will heat his brakes up (easy to do in fairly normal driving), then put his foot on the brake again, and the pedal will go to the floor without any braking sensations..

    get it flushed and replaced straight away. if he refuses, tell him you'll report him to the cops. brakes are often used for scaremongering but this is putting serious risk to other people's lives. a brake flush doesnt cost a huge amount - maybe £30 or so.
    hughlunnon@yahoo.com | I have sigs turned off..

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    The worst that could happen... He could kill himself or somone else. Would be the obvious answer.

    As explained by 5lab, screenwash is not a good idea for brake fluid. He will crash because of it. Emphasis on the 'will crash'.

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    Yup, he will definately stack it.

    I've once had the sensation of losing all braking ability (pedal hit the bulkhead) though it happened gradually over the space of about a mile so I could predict what was coming and take measures to ensure I didn't pot it into anyone. Even so, with a good understanding of what was happening, it really scared the **** out of me!

    As far as brakes are concerned you must not take anything for granted. Brakes and tyres are the only things that keep best part of a tonnes worth of metal or more in check. He's not only putting himself at risk, he's knowingly putting everyone on the roads at risk all for the sake of £30. Without a doubt if he had a serious accident and killed someone, the Police would ask what happened and in case of brake failure they would have the fluid analysed. Once they found screen wash in it, he'd be looking at a jail sentence.

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    It'd be causing death by dangerous driving; possible maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment - and that's if they DIDN'T charge manslaughter, which carries a possible maximum of life imprisonment.

    And yes, he's an idiot.

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    Thanks, hopefully that should be enough to persuade him.

    I expect he'll use the excuse he can't afford it (He's as bad at managing money as he is at engine maintenance (plus recently had to pay for 3 replacement reading tickets which he managed to mislay...))

    If it comes to it, I'll give him the cash to get it sorted.

    The thing that worries me most is that he headed off to leicester earlier today (from birmingham), I just hope he makes it back in one piece...

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    Ahh motorways... that aint good. One slam on and that screenwash will be boiled through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckskull View Post
    Ahh motorways... that aint good. One slam on and that screenwash will be boiled through.
    Yes and just to make it worse, from past experience, he will probably stay the night and drive back tomorrow morning in rush hour.

    If anyone is on the M69 / M6 tomorrow morning and you see an '04 grey Micra, I recommend you get out of his way, just in case.

    Thankfully there is a garage just round the corner from work, so assuming he makes it in one piece tomorrow, I can drag him round there.
    They are usually quite busy, but hopefully they'll appreciate how urgent it is and squeeze him in.

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    Does this thread not beg the comment rtfm? I mean come on - how hard is it to look at a picture, find the right cap, unscrew/pop it off, and top up the screenwash? Its even labeled for crying out loud.

    The rest of my post would echo the comments above, so no point repeating them...

    Dave

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    Drop it like it's hot Howard's Avatar
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    That reminds me, I need to refill my screen wash, I went to squirt yesterday morning and it ran out mid-wipe, left my windscreen dirtier than when I started

    I'll be sure to put it in the right bottle too


    Infact I'm going to do it now, incase I forget. Important lesson here folks I think or not I'll be quiet now
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    Not to mention brake fluid being hygroscopic(it attracts and absorbs water - which leads to lower boiling point + end up with air in the system when it does boil) this is also which is why brake fluid should be flushed and replaced every 2 years.

    for the sake of 30-40 quid.. vs the safety risk it poses to him and other road users... i wouldnt hesitate to report him to the police if he didnt get it rectified pronto

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