Converting Your Corvette to Silicone Brake Fluid
Whether or not to convert from standard glycol-based brake fluid to silicone fluid is an issue many auto enthusiasts and Corvette owners struggle with. Converting to silicone brake fluid has pros and cons, all of which should be considered before making the transition.. To start with, there are a few very good reasons to convert to DOT5 silicone brake fluid:
- Silicone fluid is non-hydroscopic (it doesn’t attract or absorb water)
- It will not ruin paint (glycol fluid will remove paint)
- Silicone brake fluid has a higher dry boiling point than DOT3 and DOT4 fluid, providing better, more rugged performance under pressure
- Silicone is a full synthetic fluid with superior lubrication properties for the pistons in the braking system (reduces wear on the seals and pistons)
As great as all this sounds, there are a few drawbacks as well:
- Silicone brake fluid does not mix with water, so any water that enters the system will travel to the lowest point (low point in caliper ore line)
- It will not mix with glycol based DOT3, DOT4, or DOT5.1 fluids (can create a gel, damaging braking system if mixed)
- Silicone brake fluid cannot be used in ABS braking systems
These drawbacks should be taken into consideration before you switch, to make sure that a) your auto's braking system is up for the conversion, and b) the conversion to silicone brake fluid is done properly to ensure no damage is done to the vehicle.
The best time to convert to silicone brake fluid is when you are replacing the major brake system components, especially the master cylinder and calipers. Installing our Super Brake Kit is a great example. With the Super Brake Kit, you will replace all four calipers, rubber hoses, and the master cylinder, removing all brake fluid from the system and allowing for an easy conversion.
When pouring silicone brake fluid, do so slowly. DOT5 fluid has the ability to become aerated easily, which means that when handled quickly it can develop small bubbles. Pouring slowly to minimize splashing is best. Similarly, it has been suggested that if you uncap a bottle of DOT5 the day before you plan to work on the vehicle, it will allow any trapped air bubbles to rise to the top and dissipate.
When bleeding the brakes, use nice, even strokes to minimize the cavitation, which can create air bubbles. Alternatively, gravity bleeding is another way to reduce the amount of air bubbles in the system.
We have been selling DOT5 silicone brake fluid for over 20 years and recommend it for C1, C2, and C3 Corvettes without reservation.
Have more questions about silicone brake fluid conversions or use? See what our Corvette forum members are saying, or email us your question.