Monday, November 05, 2007

Here's hoping brake fluid isn't caustic


I agree that the cars benefit the whole family. I agree that both routine and emergency maintenance should be handled by anyone who is available to do so.

I agree that keeping some tools and supplies in the cars is prudent and positive.

I do not, however, agree that one needs to keep three partially-used cans of brake fluid in a single car, and I furthermore do not agree that "lying in the bottom of the toolbox" constitutes an appropriate location for these no-longer-sealed products.

I additionally do not agree that whoever finds the resulting mess should go ahead and clean it up because the cars benefit the whole family.

There. I needed to say that.

I also hope brake fluid isn't caustic (turns out it's just like motor oil. Who knew?) because I sure got it all over my hands, and I further hope that some mechanically-savvy reader of this blog can let me know whether the following items can withstand prolonged submergence in brake fluid, or whether it's best to pitch them:

  • Fuses - You know, those little colored chip-like ones with two flat aluminum prongs.
  • Assorted spare light bulbs of the vehicular persuasion
  • Pliers - actually, the oil probably did them some good, in a way, but is there any way to clean the soaked-in oil from the metal so they'll be fit for actual use?
  • Spark plugs, one apparently new and one possibly used. It doesn't seem like a spark plug is made to withstand this kind of treatment. Can I just throw them out, or should a salvage attempt be made?
  • Battery-powered hair trimmer - which, what was it even doing in the toolbox in the first place? I threw out the batteries and stood it up on end so some of the oil can drain out of its innards, but I'm pretty sure this is more a symbolic gesture of futile optimism than anything.


Phydeaux Speaks November 05, 2007 3:52 PM  

With the (likely) exception of the hair trimmer(maybe it was used to shave mold [of which you have spoken so lovingly] off the steering wheel?), a brake fluid bath shouldn't harm any of the items listed.

A good wiping of the items with a "shop towel" (rag) is all that should be required. Dispose of said rag in an environmentally friendly manner once the cleanup is done.

So, was there some real world event that occasioned this hypothetical exercise? ;)

pidomon November 05, 2007 4:53 PM  

I concur with Pa. Nothing a good wipe down won't cure (but that is true of so many things)

And I'm tired of you getting your posts up first!

What am I going to have to blog BEFORE I go to work LOL :)

Brave Sir Robin November 06, 2007 4:41 PM  

It is most likely made of glycol with a target PH of 7.

However, some brake fluids may have a PH as high as 11, which would indeed be considered caustic.

If you look on the side of the can it will tell you what type you have.

More info here.

Won't hurt the plug or fuses. Throw out the trimmer.

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