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DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 Brake Fluid – What You Need To Know!

DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 Brake Fluid

As we know by now, brake fluid is crucial to keeping your braking system lubricated and working correctly. So when you add brake fluid DOT primer on top of the brake fluid, what does this do for your vehicle?

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Types of Brake Fluid


  • DOT 3 


This type of brake fluid primer is poly glycol-based brake fluid meant for vehicles in normal driving conditions, like for modern cars on the road and trucks that you commonly find. DOT 3 brake fluid has a boiling point of 140 degrees Celsius and a dry boiling point of 205 degrees Celsius, setting it apart from the other two kinds of brake fluid primers. 


DOT 3 brake fluid when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid can absorb a high amount of moisture at around 2% of the volume. The DOT 3 fluid can be combined with the DOT 4 and DOT 5 brake fluids to help lubricate your car’s braking system. 


To find the best DOT 3 brake fluid, you need to research the best DOT 3 fluids on the market when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. 

Prestone DOT 3 Synthetic Brake Fluid

When shopping around for the best type of DOT 3 fluid while comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid, the Prestone is one of the best options. This kind of braking fluid primer mixes poly-glycol ethers, meaning the brake system will not emit dangerous vapors from your emissions system


This kind of brake fluid is a great choice for disc and drum brakes, anti-lock braking systems, and most cars on the market today. The wet and dry boiling point provides some extra wiggle room in case you undergo extreme braking conditions, ensuring your car will not have too much friction or burn during sudden braking situations. 


This kind of DOT 3 fluid is one of the best brake fluids for passenger cars and trucks on the road. In addition, consumers will like the brand name to be easily recognizable and well-priced for the quality you are buying. For those who frequently drive to and from work every day, then this is a good choice when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. 


The biggest complaint and negative about this kind of DOT 3 synthetic brake fluid is that the seal might break during shipping. The seal breaking is a problem since the brake fluid absorbs water at a quicker rate if the seal of the fluid is broken, leading to excess friction, overheating, and contamination. 

Lucas Oil Brake Fluid

Lucas Oil is one of the most affordable, available, and high-quality mixtures that are on the market today. Since this type of braking fluid primer is compatible with every braking system, it is available to blend and mix with other brake fluid, like DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5 fluids. 


This brake fluid is considered DOT 3 when looking at the DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid since it is a blend of polyethylene glycol ethers. This DOT 3 brake fluid exceeds the minimum dry boiling point of 401 degrees and is commonly used for disc and drum brakes in various cars. 


Lucas Oil DOT 3 brake fluid prevents any excess corrosion, friction, hardening, and softening of the rubber, keeping your braking system in tip-top shape. 


The only negative of this kind of brake fluid when looking at the DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid is that it contains high wet boiling points, meaning that the boiling point temperature can decrease over time, causing excess friction at lower levels than you may be used to. 


  • DOT 4 Fluid


Like the DOT 3 brake fluid, DOT 4 primer is also poly glycol-based and is meant for vehicles used at specific altitudes. DOT 4 fluid has a wet boiling point of 155 degrees celsius and a dry boiling point of 230 degrees celsius. 


Just like DOT 3 brake fluid, DOT 4 brake fluid absorbs moisture at 2% of the volume. Differing from the DOT 3 fluid, it has higher wet and dry boiling points for extra wiggle room in tough braking situations. Furthermore, it can also harm your car’s paint if you do not safely use this type of fluid and mix it incorrectly. 

Motul DOT 4 100 Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid

This non-silicone synthetic fluid is meant for hydraulic and clutch braking systems, containing a very high thermal resistance and an extremely high boiling point at 312 degrees Celsius. For those who frequently drive in tough conditions or high-performance cars, you will be happy to know that DOT 4 brake fluid will never expire.


This DOT 4 brake fluid improves the pedal’s feel and offers a great choice compared to traditional and conventional brake fluid. It offers great value and performance benefits for different kinds of cars when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. This is a great product if you use the brakes frequently or require more protection against your vehicle’s water infiltration. 


However, the negatives of this kind of DOT 4 fluid when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid is that the bottle’s design can cause spillage and cause brake fade in certain conditions. 

Valvoline 601458 Brake Fluid

This brake fluid is a combination of DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid, so it can be used for either type of braking system when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. This 32-ounce brake fluid is meant for anti-lock braking systems, drum, and disc brake systems. This type of brake fluid is versatile so you can easily mix it with traditional brake fluid, and contains a high boiling point of 480 degrees Fahrenheit.


This kind of DOT and DOT 4 brake fluid combines glycols and glycol ethers to protect against early corrosion and overheating within the braking system. This formula has great vapor protection and is great at maximizing the performance of your vehicle. However, be careful not to use this type of DOT fluid if you frequently do a lot of braking or drive track vehicles. 

Brembo Premium Brake Fluid DOT 4 LV

This low-viscosity brake fluid is recommended for vehicles with modern control systems in charge of the car’s braking and stability. This type of DOT 4 brake fluid works well for anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control, traction control, and brakeforce distribution.


This premium brake fluid has a higher boiling point than many DOT 3 braking fluids when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid, specializing in manufacturing braking systems for high-performance vehicles. This high-quality brake fluid and low viscosity fluid helps to make the ABS and stability systems work better. 


However, make sure this kind of DOT 4 brake fluid is compatible with your car when analyzing the DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid differences.


  • DOT 5 and 5.1 Brake Fluid


Although DOT 5 and 5.1 is not important when comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid, it is still crucial to know the differences between all types of fluids that you can use in your vehicle. DOT 5 brake fluid is a synthetic blend that has a silicone base, meaning it does not absorb moisture and must be continuously monitored in your vehicle.


DOT 5 brake fluid has a wet boiling point of 180 degrees Celsius and a dry boiling point of 260 degrees Celsius, with the product meant for racing cars and performance-based vehicles. 


DOT 5.1 brake fluid is a poly glycol-based brake fluid that absorbs moisture at a high rate, with a wet boiling point of 180 degrees Celsius and a dry boiling point of 260 degrees Celsius. When looking at DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid, DOT 5.1 is similar in that it can also damage your paint if you are not careful.

DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 Brake Fluid


When you go shopping to find a brake fluid DOT primer to help your vehicle, you can choose between DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5. The real question is the difference between these different kinds of brake fluid and comparing DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. 


Brake fluid is the necessary additive in your car to help you do certain things in specific ways to help your car function at the right level. You must keep the brake fluid at the right level within your car or truck so that you can quickly and powerfully brake when you are driving. 


  • DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 Brake Fluid Similarities 


With DOT 3 brake fluid, it is a glycol-based substance. DOT 4 is also glycol-based making DOT 3 and DOT 4 similar in many ways. They are both used in most modern cars and trucks that you find on the road today since they work together well with the ABS braking system – the anti-lock braking mechanism in your vehicle.


Another similarity is that DOT 3 and DOT 4 are both glycol-based; they can absorb water over time, leading to corrosion and excessive friction in your braking system. The glycol-based nature means that it can break down quicker and lead to braking quality changes, meaning you need to change your braking fluid regularly. 


  • DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 Brake Fluid Differences 


However, the differences between DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid set them apart. DOT 4 has a higher boiling point than DOT 3, meaning it is for more specialized cars than DOT 3. As a driver and car owner, you can use DOT 4, where DOT 3 can be used, but not vise versa.


If you try to add the DOT 3 brake fluid primer to your DOT 4 engine and braking system, this can cause potential overheating, excessive fiction, and burning of the brake fluid in your car. 

Brake Fluid Leak DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 


When adding new braking fluid to your car, you have to keep an eye on your brake fluid levels to ensure the car is running properly, and the system is retaining the right amount of DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid. 


There could be a relatively easy explanation for the low fluid level and the brake fluid leak, where if your vehicle has worn brake pads or brake shoes, then the fluid level in your brake fluid reservoir will be too low. 


However,  if you have relatively new brake pads and your brake fluid is new, then your fluid level might have dropped considerably. If that’s the case, then there is probably a brake fluid leak in your system, which oftentimes relates to having bigger brake issues than just worn brake pads. 


  • Braking System Mechanism


Your braking system is usually made of rubber and steel hoses, check valves, pistons, and brake cylinders. These are usually connected and work together in order to slow down and stop your vehicle on time. The car’s master cylinder is in charge of brake calipers and drums, where many brake problems and brake fluid leaks originate. 


To properly diagnose a brake fluid leak, you must locate the origin of the leaking point. The best way to do this is by parking your vehicle on a level surface and observing the position of the brake fluid that has accumulated beneath the vehicle. This can give you an idea as to the location of the culprit. 


A car mechanism that can alert you to a brake fluid leak is the bleeder bolts, which are parts located on the brake calipers and allow brake fluid to flow out of the system. If you have had some work done on the brakes in your vehicle, it might be that one of the bleeder valves is a little loose. In this case, you will need to tighten the valve to stop the fluid flow and prevent the brake fluid leak from growing. 


  • Brake Fluid Leak Symptoms


Brake Light

This is usually the first sign, and the most noticeable that you might be having a brake fluid leak. This can alert the driver to the brakes’ problem since the warning light illuminated on your dashboard is easily noticeable by the driver. It might not necessarily mean that you are having a DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid leak, but it can be a sign of other further brake problems and be an early indicator. 

Puddle of Brake Fluid

If you notice a small puddle of brake fluid near the wheels or wheels under the car, then the brake fluid leak is usually occurring in your vehicle. If the brake master cylinder leaking or the brake lines are leaking, then there is a brake fluid leak that will make it difficult to determine whether it is leaking brake fluid, transmission fluid, or DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. 

Soft Brake Pedal

When you press down on the brake pedal to slow down or stop your car, it should feel firm. If there is only a small amount of travel before your brakes are engaged, it can cause the brake pedal to feel soft, mushy, or spongy. This can oftentimes be the result of air getting trapped in your brake lines and causing a DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid leak. 

Brake Pedal Goes to the Floor

The brake pedal pressing down to the floor usually occurs when the brake pedal feels soft and squishy. When you have a big brake fluid leak and a problem with the brake master cylinder, you can sometimes experience a brake pedal sink, causing the brake pedal to go to the floor and not enough brake fluid in the lines for the brakes to function well.


To determine what kind of brake fluid is right for your vehicle, you need to look at the differences and similarities between DOT 3 vs. DOT 4 brake fluid. By knowing each type of liquid’s characteristics, you can make the best choice for your car and determine what product is best for you to buy. 


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