Engine Fluids – Brake Fluid

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,397
    John Nielsen with AAA’s Approved Auto Repair explains how to select and use the proper brake fluid in your car.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I'm John Nielsen with AAA's Approved Auto Repair. Maintaining the fluids in our vehicle's engine is imperative to protecting our investment in the long run. Now, brake fluid is something that we don't often think about and the good news is, is that it's really pretty simple to select a right fluid for our car. There are three types available, that's DOT 3, 4, and 5. The good news is all we need to do is open our owner's manual, and see what the manufacturer recommends. The .

    3, .

    4 and .

    5 designations have been around for a long time, but we're seeing increasing use of .

    4 and .

    5 which is synthetic brake fluid in use in everyday vehicles.

    The good news is the information is in your owner's manual. Checking it is easy by simply opening the hood and looking at the brake master cylinder typically located on the driver's side of your engine compartment in the very back, there will be a minimum and max line and you want to top that off anytime the brake fluid falls below the minimum line. Now, it's important to note, if that falls frequently or you see it falling often, you want to take your car to a shop, because that's a great indication that you have a leak in the brake system, and can get it checked out quickly. And finally, we should consider how often we should change the brake fluid in our car.

    Now, this is something that's often not even recommended in the owner's manual, but really is important to maintaining your brake system in the most efficient manner lasting the longest period of time. AAA would recommend that you change the brake fluid in your car or have it flushed every other year. Brake fluid actually absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, and that moisture can reduce its performance allowing the brake fluid to boil under heavy braking and can also allow corrosion within the braking system which can result in costly repairs. So brake fluid is a pretty easy subject to discuss, but it really is important to the overall safety and performance of our vehicle. So maintaining it according to the manufacturer's recommendation is key to getting maximum performance over the life of your vehicle.