How to Check Brake Fluid

Brake fluid check


Though it’s commonly understood that the brakes are one of the most vital components of your vehicle, you might not put much thought into checking your brake fluid regularly. It’s one way to make sure your brakes are always functioning properly so you stay safe on the roads of Farragut and Sevierville. Learn more about how to check your brake fluid below from the experts at our Ole Ben Franklin Motors service center today!

What is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that helps with the movement of the brake pedal, lubricates your braking system, and prevents corrosion. Most vehicles use glycol-ether based brake fluid, but silicone-based (DOT-5) and mineral oil-based (LHM) fluids also exist. Refer to your owner’s manual for details on the type of brake fluid your specific model uses.

Follow These Steps For How to Check Brake Fluid

  1. Locate the brake fluid reservoir on the master cylinder of your vehicle, under the hood. Check your owner’s manual if you have trouble finding the precise location.
  2. On the outside of the reservoir you should see lines that say “minimum” and “maximum.” Check the brake fluid against these lines. You’ll know it’s time for brake service or a brake fluid replacement if the brake fluid is closer to the minimum line.
  3. Take a look at the color of the brake fluid. If it resembles oil, being more black or dark brown than clear, then it’s time for a brake fluid flush.

Why Does Brake Fluid Need to Be Changed?

Does brake fluid need to be changed? Absolutely, for the following reasons:

  • Brake fluid attracts moisture, which can cause your brakes to corrode over time. 
  • As brake fluid ages, it becomes contaminated by small particles. Those particles can lead to damage to your brake systems. 
  • Systems like traction control and ABS create heat when they’re active, and heat shortens the lifespan of your brake fluid.

It’s best to be proactive about keeping your brakes healthy and check brake fluid regularly so you can avoid situations where your damaged brakes fail and your car is unable to stop completely.

What Color is Brake Fluid Normally? 

So, what color is brake fluid? New brake fluid should be nearly clear, but with a slightly yellow tint. This changes over time as you use your braking system, when heat and particles have compromised the integrity of your brake fluid. Dark oil-like brake fluid has picked up dirt and particles over time, and it’s necessary to attend to it so it doesn’t affect the performance of your brakes.

Brake Fluid Service Intervals

Make sure to check your brake fluid with every oil change, or once a year at minimum. Brake fluid can last about four to five years, but this varies depending on your car, how you drive it, and the driving conditions. If you regularly bring your vehicle in for its routine maintenanceat an OEM-certified service center, you can trust the certified technicians to check and change your brake fluid when it’s time.

Service Your Brakes with Ole Ben Franklin Motors 

You can choose to change your brake fluid at home, or you can schedule an appointmentat our service center near Seymour. Our highly trained technicians can help you keep your brakes running smoothly by changing your brake fluid and letting you know when it’s time to change your brakes. Don’t hesitate to contact our service experts if you have further questions!

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