When it comes to brake fluid, bleed the brake system at least once every year.  Brake fluid sucks up moisture from the air, which decreases performance and corrodes brake system components from the inside out.

If you haven't checked your brake fluid yet, good fluid should look clear - a light, honey-looking color.  Dipping your fingers in the brake fluid should not produce a slimey fluid - if the brake fluid is slimey, it's full of water.

If you're looking for just a consumer-grade fluid and really don't have to worry about any racing, a lot of folks use the Castrol LMA brake fluid.  It is readily available in many auto parts stores and major department store in the auto parts section.  "LMA" stands for Low Moisture Absorption, so it doesn't absorb water as readily as other brands.  Another popular consumer-grade brake fluid is the Pennzoil Synthetic brand in the gold plastic bottle.  This is a DOT4 brake fluid that's also relatively inexpensive.

Good, cheap brake fluid can be bought from any Ford parts counter - yep, you heard me right - FORD.  Ford sells a DOT 3 brake fluid that is labelled "Ford High Performance Brake Fluid"; this used to be called "Ford Heavy Duty Brake Fluid" up until recently, so some old time racers might recognize the old name.  For US$3.00 a pint, it's a good brake fluid for the price!

On the pricier end of the scale, there are literally dozens of VERY EXPENSIVE brake fluid brands available.  Popular brands are Super ATE (Blue & 200), Motul, AP (Lockheed), and Castrol SRF.  Any one of these racing brake fluids should be able to handle almost any abuse you throw at it during racing your FC3S.

Brake fluids are rated on their ability to reject moisture.  "DOT 3" is currently the minimum grade acceptable.  "DOT 4" is a "higher grade" than DOT 3.  The current top grade for glycol-based brake fluid is "DOT 5.1"; only the top racing brands of brake fluid actually carry this grade.  Do NOT confuse any of those grades with "DOT 5"; DOT 5 is a special grade for silicon-based brake fluid.  Silicon DOT 5 brake fluid has no place in a daily driver or race car!  Silicon DOT 5 brake fluid is more compressible than glycol-based brake fluid; this translates to mushy brake pedal feel with degraded brake performance.  Since silicon DOT 5 brake fluid does not absorb moisture, moisture that does get into the brake system (and it will) tends to create water bubbles within the brake system.  These water bubbles will quickly corrode the metal brake components from the inside out - moreso versus glycol-based brake fluid full of moisture/water.  Silicon DOT 5 brake fluid was designed for vintage/collector automobiles that see very little road/driving time.  These expensive vehicles need to keep their stock (brake system) components intact and original as possible due to their collectors status.

Questions?  Comments?  Send mail to:  reted@fc3spro.com