TRW introduces world’s first DOT 5.1 ESP brake fluid

Automotive safety expert TRW is taking brake fluid to the next level with the introduction of TRW Ultra DOT 5.1 ESP. With advanced, global thinking, TRW offers the first brake fluid scientifically engineered for all temperatures; able to meet the latest demands in complex braking (ESP) technology.

“With this brake fluid we are thinking across systems, across extremes of temperatures and across the global vehicle parc, explained TRW’s Drum Brake and Actuation Systems Product Manager, Barbara Koerfer.

“Its unique viscosity properties exceed all others on the market which can only be categorised as DOT 5.1, making this product suitable from A-Z – from Antarctica to Zimbabwe.”

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Barbara added: “Free from reclaims, meaning it isn’t recycled, TRW Ultra DOT 5.1 ESP has a higher wet boiling point (WBP) than other standard fluids on the market and retains its low viscosity, even at extremely low temperatures. This means it can react more quickly, whatever the conditions, providing a greater margin of safety for braking systems.”

Brake fluid is hygroscopic; indicating it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. As moisture is absorbed, the boiling point reduces. In time, the boiling point could fall to below 170° C, and thus make driving conditions unsafe.

Under prolonged, hard braking conditions, heat from the braking action can suddenly vaporise the fluid. Unlike a liquid, vapour is compressible, and vaporisation of fluid can result in complete loss of brakes. In addition, moisture can also corrode parts that are expensive to replace, such as the ABS system. Contaminated brake fluid can have a detrimental effect on complementary parts, such as the master cylinder.

“Vehicles are increasingly complex and many are fitted with dynamic driving systems, including electronic stability programmes (ESP),” Barbara explained. “ESP technology demands that brake fluid react more quickly to the system’s sensors to avoid skidding and maximise the functionality of the system.”

ESP systems combine anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control with a lateral stability control function. If the vehicle senses a potential loss of control, ESP automatically applies brake pressure to the appropriate wheel(s) and, if necessary, cuts engine throttle to help return the vehicle to its intended trajectory. As ESP measures time in milliseconds (the faster the system modulates the pressure, the shorter the stopping distance) TRW Ultra DOT 5.1 ESP is the ideal fluid as it reduces the latent risk of longer stopping distance and a loss of vehicle control.

In addition, ABS hydraulic units contain very small bores (often less than 0.1mm) that guide the brake fluid to the valves and pumps. TRW Ultra DOT 5.1 ESP has been specifically engineered with low viscosity, providing the best flow properties for these systems, especially in cold conditions.

Contaminated brake fluid is the number one cause of brake failure. It directly influences the lifespan of the components in the braking system, and indirectly influences pedal feel and the wear rate of seals. TRW strongly recommends that brake fluid is tested every year and changed at least every two years (every year for systems where DOT 3 is used).