How to Check Brake Fluid

Brake fluid check


Even if you’re already on top of taking care of your brakes, you may wonder what all goes into your vehicle’s brakes. So what happens? When you press down on the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid creates pressure that pushes the pads against the rotors to stop the car. In order to keep this system running smoothly, you need to know how to check your brake fluid, and do so regularly. So what color is brake fluid, what is brake fluid, and how can you check brake fluid at home? Learn more with our service team at San Antonio Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM near New Braunfuls.

What is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that helps with the movement of the brake pedal. It also lubricates your braking system and keeps it from corroding. Brake fluid in most vehicles is glycol-ether based, but there are also silicone-based (DOT-5) and mineral oil-based (LHM) fluids available. Check your owner’s manual to find out which type your specific model uses, and find OEM approved brake fluids at our parts department in San Antonio.

3 Steps to Check Brake Fluid

  1. Locate your vehicle’s brake fluid reservoir on the master cylinder under the hood. Check your owner’s manual to find the exact location.
  2. On the outside of the reservoir, you should see “minimum” and “maximum” lines. Check the brake fluid against these lines. If the brake fluid is closer to the minimum line, it’s time for a brake fluid replacement or brake service.
  3. Take a look at the color of the brake fluid. If it’s dark brown or black and looks more like oil, you’ll need a brake fluid flush.

Why Does Brake Fluid Need to Be Changed?

Does brake fluid need to be changed? The answer is yes for the following reasons:

  • Brake fluid attracts moisture, which can cause corrosion on your brakes over time.
  • When brake fluid ages, it becomes contaminated with small particles that can damage brake-related systems.
  • Systems like ABS and traction control generate heat when they activate, which can shorten the lifespan of your brake fluid.

It’s best to regularly check brake fluid so you can avoid a scenario where your brakes actually fail to stop your car completely because of damage.

What Color is Brake Fluid Normally?

New brake fluid should be almost clear with a yellowish tint to it. Of course this changes over time as you use your braking system. As we mentioned, dark oil-like brake fluid has picked up dirt and debris over time, which can affect the performance of your brakes if left unattended.

Brake Fluid Service Intervals

You should check your brake fluid with every oil change, or at least once a year. Brake fluid can last about four to five years, but this varies depending on the car, driving habits, and driving conditions. If you bring your vehicle in for routine scheduled maintenance at an OEM-certified service center, the certified technicians will know when to check and change your brake fluid.

For Brake Service & Fluid Flushes, Trust San Antonio Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM!

When the time comes for maintenance on your vehicle, or if you’d like someone to help check your brake fluid for you, schedule service with our service team near Boerne. We also offer service specials for additional savings on the services your vehicle needs.


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