How to Check Brake Fluid

Mechanic checking brake fluid

Your brakes are a vital piece of your vehicle, since being able to stop can be what prevents an accident from occurring while you’re driving around Greensburg and beyond. Keeping an eye on your brake fluid is one of the best ways to stay on top of maintaining the condition of your vehicle’s brakes. Find out today how to check your brake fluid as well as what color your brake fluid is supposed to be with Hillview Motors. If you have any questions, you can contact us today or speak with our service center to make sure that your vehicle is running smoothly for years to come. 

What Is Brake Fluid?

Before we learn how to check brake fluid, let’s go over what brake fluid is. 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.

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? 

New brake fluid should be almost clear with a yellowish tint to it. However, 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. If your brake fluid is a strange color, schedule a visit to our service center near Scottdale. 

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 in the Latrobe area, the certified technicians will know when to check and change your brake fluid.

Trust The Team at Hillview Motors Today

Now that you know what color brake fluid is supposed to be, and how to keep an eye on your vehicle’s brake fluid, you’re one step ahead of keeping up on the regular maintenance that your vehicle requires. Find out more about the process today with Hillview Motors, and trust us to take care of any issues that might arise from your vehicle. 


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