Checking Brake Fluid

Brake service is a part of your vehicle's regular maintenance schedule, but learning how to check brake fluid yourself ensures that your brakes are always in top condition. So, what color is brake fluid supposed to be, and when should it be replaced? If you're unsure about the proper color or how to check brake fluid, read the guide below from the service center at Bayway CDJR to find out!

What Is Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that prevents corrosion in your vehicle's brake system and keeps your brake pedal moving smoothly. Most vehicles use a glycol-ether-based solution, although silicone-based (DOT-5) and mineral oil-based (LHM) fluids are also used occasionally. Your owner's manual will tell you which brake fluid your vehicle requires. 

How to Check Brake Fluid: Step-by-Step

  1. Find the brake fluid reservoir. On most vehicles, it's located on the master cylinder under the hood.
  2. Check the level of fluid in the reservoir. Make sure that the fluid level is between the "minimum" and "maximum" markings on the side of the reservoir.
  3. Inspect the color of the brake fluid. Fluid that's dark brown or black needs to be changed.

Why It's Important to Change Brake Fluid 

Changing your vehicle's brake fluid should be a part of routine maintenance, but we suggest learning how to check brake fluid yourself as well. There are more than a few good reasons for Deer Park drivers to add this skill to their DIY car-care toolbox:

  • Because brake fluid attracts moisture, corrosion may affect your vehicle's brakes.
  • Over time, brake fluid becomes contaminated by small particles that may damage the brake system.
  • ABS and traction control systems generate extra heat when you use them. As a result, your brake fluid may not last as long as you expect.

What Color Is Brake Fluid Normally? 

Fresh brake fluid is clear with a slight yellow tint, although the color will darken over time as you drive and use your brakes. The first step of learning how to check brake fluid is knowing when it's due for a change. So, what color is brake fluid when it's too contaminated? Schedule service or replace your brake fluid when it's dark and has an oil-like consistency.

Brake Fluid Service Intervals

Technicians at your La Porte service center will check brake fluid with every oil change or about once a year. Brake fluid lasts four to five years on average, but other factors like your vehicle's age and your driving habits may also impact when to change brake fluid. Learning how to check brake fluid yourself is a surefire way to know exactly when it's time for service!

Schedule Professional Brake Service at Bayway CDJR

If you opt to change your brake fluid at home, you can order supplies and brake fluid online from our parts center or pay us a visit in Pasadena, where our experienced technicians can take care of all your auto maintenance and service needs. Reach out today to learn more about service and parts financing for Houston-area drivers!