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Strip Dip Tutorial

Brake Fluid Testing and Flushing


  1. Strip Dipô
  2. What Factors Affect Brake Fluid Condition
  3. What Happens To Brake Fluid Over Time
  4. What Causes Depletion of Corrosion Inhibitors
  5. What Happens When Corrosion inhibitors in Brake Fluid are Significantly Depleted?
  6. Vehicle Manufacturer's Position on Flushing Brake Fluid
  7. ASE and Brake Fluid Flushing
  8. US Department of Transportation Position
  9. The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)
  10. Motorist Assurance Program (MAP)
  11. What do the MAP Guidelines Mean?
  12. What does the Brake Industry Say about Strip Dip?
  13. TEST Don't Guess

Strip Dipô

  • Is NOT a moisture test
  • Measures metal oxidation catalysts
  • Measures dissolved metal contamination that is a known precursor to active corrosion
  • Measure corrosion accelerators
  • Repeatable test
  • Shows the virtual age of brake fluid
  • Test results last over 30 days
  • Easy to read results


What Factors Affect Brake Fluid Condition?

  • The age of brake fluid
  • Level of corrosion inhibitors
  • Amount of moisture
  • Thermal oxidation
  • Level of metal oxidation catalysts
  • Environment and type of driving

Note: If the corrosion inhibitors are in good condition, even high amounts of moisture (5%) will not cause corrosion. Most people believe that it is moisture that causes the corrosion. It is the lack of corrosion inhibitors that allow corrosion in the system. A very small amount (1%) of moisture can increase corrosion when the inhibitor package has been depleted.


What Happens To Brake Fluid Over Time ?

  • Corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid are depleted
  • Boiling point of brake fluid is reduced
  • Thermal stability is decreased.


What Causes Depletion of Corrosion Inhibitors?

  • Time- Studies show that by 36 months some brake fluids have lost 91% of their corrosion inhibitors.
  • Increased thermal cycles
  • Thermal oxidation
  • Volatilization (vaporization)
  • Type of driving and environment


What Happens When Corrosion inhibitors in Brake Fluid are Significantly Depleted?

  • Integrity of hydraulic system is compromised and exposed to possible corrosion
  • Rapid increase of particulate contamination in brake fluid
  • Metal oxidation catalysts increase that impair the oxidation properties of the brake fluid
  • Particulate contamination can cause damage to seals
  • Particulate contamination has also proven to cause ABS valves not to seal properly

Note 1: This is very important-Corrosion inhibitors are designed to treat and protect the surfaces they are in contact with. So, as corrosion inhibitors are depleted the surfaces may still have some protection. There is a significant problem when a new hydraulic part is installed, a caliper for example. The other hydraulic parts have some protection from their exposure to the corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid, but the new caliper is unprotected. Since the corrosion inhibitors are now depleted the new part has no corrosion protection and can corrode very quickly. A thorough brake system flush is recommended to protect the new parts.

Note 2: Corrosion in the brake system has been seen in vehicles after several years of operation where the brake fluid passed the J1703 standard. Some feel that J1703 cannot predict the affects of the long-term durability of the corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid.


Vehicle Manufacturer's Position on Flushing Brake Fluid

  • 65-70% of World's vehicle manufacturers recommend brake fluid flushing, 12-24 months
  • GM, Ford and Chrysler have no recommended service interval
  • GM, Ford and Chrysler do not oppose brake fluid flush performed by a competent technician that can follow procedure
  • GM recommends flushing the brake fluid if the system is contaminated. They also added that they will not define "contamination".
    Note: The title on Strip Dipô tube states " Visual Test for Brake Fluid Contamination"


ASE and Brake Fluid Flushing

Advertising Supplement taken from USA Today April 17,2002

Protect Your Auto Investment....... Probably the most ignored fluid in your car, and the most important, is brake fluid. Sludge will build up over a period of time and may block the valves inside the anti-lock brake (ABS) units and result in costly repairs or replacement. IN addition, this sludge may cause the calipers and wheel cylinders to leak, also resulting in repairs or replacement. SO the best thing you can do is to have the brake fluid flushed and refilled periodically, although the manufacturer recommendations vary as to how often.


US Department of Transportation Position

DOT Report Participants

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)
  • George Person, Safety Defects Engineer (202)-366-5210

Testing Performed By:

  • National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST)-formerly the National Bureau of Standards)
  • Ohio State University

Information taken from the Technical Information Services Library

Note: The NIST study shows that internal corrosion does take place in the brake system over time. A prudent recommended practice to combat this situation would be to periodically exchange the brake fluid by completely bleeding the brake system and replacing the old fluid with fresh fluid that meets current OE (Original Equipment) specifications."


The California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)

The BAR's concern is what is in the best interest of the vehicle owner.

They don't have a problem with suggesting a brake fluid flush, but do have a problem if the flush is not performed or performed improperly.


Motorist Assurance Program (MAP)

IMPORTANT CHANGE to brake Uniform Inspection Guidelines (UIG) re: Brake Fluid:

The 1996 version of the MAP UIG's stated: " It is suggested that the [brake] system should be flushed and refilled with brake fluid when performing hydraulic brake service". IMPORTANT NOTE: This statement WAS DELETED in the 1999 UIG's and remained deleted in the 2000 and 2002 UIG's Brake System versions. Therefore please be advised that MAP no longer suggests a flush and refill while performing routine brake service.

NEW 2002 UIG's

Reasons to suggest brake fluid flush:

  • Beyond service interval
  • Brake fluid type incorrect
  • Contaminated


What do the MAP Guidelines Mean?

Reasons to Suggest a Brake Fluid Flush

  • Beyond service interval- This does not apply to GM, Ford and Chrysler since they have no service interval
  • Brake fluid is incorrect- i.e. you cannot use DOT 5 silicone brake fluid in most brake systems.
  • Contaminated.
    Note: The title on Strip Dipô tube states " Visual Test for Brake Fluid Contamination"


What does the Brake Industry Say about Strip Dip?

Dave Abbot, Wagner Brakes:

"Pleased with the lab tests. Shelf life is three years and humidity won't contaminate the strips".

Wally Marciniac, Raybestos:

"It measures particulates of contamination vs. moisture. It is a better factor of worn brake fluid than measuring the boiling point, which determines possible braking failure, not breakdown of system parts. Lab test prove the validity of the test strips".


TEST Don't Guess

  • Gives the customer confidence
  • Wise preventive maintenance
  • Increase brake fluid flush sales
  • Use Strip Dipô on every inspection
  • Get Strip Dipô into the tech's hands
  • Attach Strip Dipô to repair order


The Best Way To Determine Brake Fluid Contamination is with STRIP DIPô using FASCARô technology.

Don't we need to worry about water in brake fluid?

Prior to the development of FASCARô technology, brake fluid testing was based on measuring the moisture content that had accumulated in the fluid. This was done in a variety of ways: 1. Direct boiling point analysis (DBPA), 2. Conductivity meters, 3. Moisture indicating color strips and then finally 4. Optical refractometer meters.

We even offered our own tester which used DBPA and that's when we learned first hand the limitations of the moisture measurement technology. In actuality, moisture level in the brake fluid only offers a limited physical picture of the fluid's overall condition, it's life expectancy. Another limitation is they only work on DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid. The new FASCARô technology is not a moisture or PH test, although brake fluid with a high FASCARô rating often has a lowered boiling point because of captured moisture.


FASCAR Rating Proves 86% Of Brake Systems Require Flush Approximately Each 24 Mo/24k Miles


FAILED "Boiling Point"
(Change Recommended)

1 OUT OF 18

(Change Recommended)

14 OUT OF 18

Vehicle Description Miles (K) Months Boiling Point (F) FASCAR
96 Ford Contour 29 36 398 86
98 GM Safari 11 12 387 92
88 Chev P/U 7** 8 402 50
91 Chev S-10 30 36 349 100
92 T-Bird flush 22 25 380 86
91 Ford Escort 100* 72 360 78
93 Jeep Cherokee 25 21 360 78
97 Mazda 5 6 407 38
80 Buick 100* 120 250 100
81 Buick 100* 112 285 100
82 Buick 100* 100 300 91
96 Dodge Van 18 24 392 50
86 Chrysler LaBaron -- 40 348 88
86 GMC Jimmy 100* 80 326 98
94 Chevy Z71 25 24 391 82
84 Nissan 1** 3 393 15
64 Dodge 100* 72 348 92
88 Crown Vic 100* 90 348 100


Simple visual test strip for brake fluid
Utilizes new FASCARtm Technology
Color reaction determines contamination level
Pre-corrosion detection
Easy to read and repeatable
Inexpensive and quick
Color reaction proves brake system requires flush approx. each 24 mo/24k miles
Make brake fluid flush standard preventative maintenance service
Works with DOT 3, 4, 5 and 5.1 brake fluid


strip dip Home How FASCAR works Limitations of Moisture or Boiling Point Tests?