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How To Check The Brake Fluid? A Very Simple Procedure!

How To Check The Brake Fluid? A Very Simple Procedure!

If you’re looking for “how to check the brake fluid,” follow these simple steps:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

  1. Prepare the required tools
  2. Locate the braking flood reservoir
  3. Check the cap
  4. Check and top off the brake fluid
  5. Do not keep the remaining fluid
  6. Wipe off the reservoir and close the cap

The brake fluid plays an important role in your vehicle, and it's almost the most critical fluid in your car. It has to do with your safety and how you control the vehicle to stop it in emergencies. Any driver needs to maintain an accurate braking fluid level and characteristics.

When it comes to maintaining the brake fluid, you'll need to familiarize yourself with how to check it. This way, you don't have to go to a mechanic every time you need to check the fluids, and you can easily detect that there's a problem in the fluid or if you need to top it off.

The good news is that checking your brake fluid is not a complicated job, and it's something that you can do by yourself without needing a professional. This article provides you with a step-by-step procedure on how to check the brake fluid yourself!

What is the brake fluid, and why is it important?

Your vehicle's fluid is one of the most critical fluids that you must maintain all the time. It is responsible for keeping you safe because it translates the mechanical motion on the brake pedal to an action that stops the wheels.

Understanding how the brake fluid works helps you understand how important it still maintain the right brake fluids. Typically, a huge vacuum booster is created to generate a pressurized brake fluid through the master cylinder whenever you hit the rig pedal. That's why the harder you hit the break, the stronger the pressure is, and the faster your braking system works.

Once the pressurized fluid is generated, it runs fast through the brake lines until it reaches the caliper around the wheels. Since the brake fluid is incompressible, it will create a strong force around the Pistons in your spinning rotor. Once the force is generated, the pads will create strong friction to slow down and stop your vehicle.

The great thing about the braking system is that all these things happen in a very short time that you will never notice. And when the braking system does not respond as fast, it indicates a problem with the braking system, which will cause some safety issues.

Your vehicle must have the right brake fluid to work properly. Otherwise, you'll deal with some problems that prevent you from stopping the vehicle in case of emergencies. For any brake fluid, it must maintain the following characteristics:

1.    Viscosity level

The first and most important characteristic of any brake fluid is viscosity. Viscosity refers to how much your vehicle's fluid resists flow. It also indicates how thick the fluid is. All your brake fluid must have the right viscosity all the time. You must refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to get more details about the type of brake fluid to select.

2.    Boiling point

Your brake pads rely on friction to stop the wheels, and that's why a lot of heat is generated here; therefore, your brake fluid must have a very high boiling point to prevent boiling and losing fluid in cases of extreme temperatures. Otherwise, the brake fluid won't be as effective as before and prevent you from controlling the wheels and stopping your vehicle.

3.    Corrosion resistance

Finally, the brake fluid must prevent any corrosion from having inside the brake lines when corrosion builds up inside the braking system and impacts its effectiveness and leads to hazardous situations that might impact your life and the life of other people driving around you.

How to check the brake fluid?

To check the brake fluid, you'll need to follow these simple steps:

1.    Prepare the required tools

First, you'll have to have all the necessary tools handy, so you don't delay the process and get overwhelmed with checking your brake fluid. Typically, checking your brake fluid requires the following tools:

  • Dry shop towels
  • A small funnel (optional)
  • A specific brake fluid as specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual

2.    Locate the braking flood reservoir

Typically, the brake fluid reservoir is located under the hood towards the driver's side. The brake cylinder is right behind the steering wheel, and the reservoir should be close to it. If you can't find it, you can always refer to your vehicle's owner’s manual to get accurate guidance.

3.     Check the cap

Before further checking the brake fluid, you must look at the brake fluid reservoir cap. Sometimes the cap might be loose or have some ceiling issues, which means that you must replace it before topping off the brake fluid.

4.    Check the brake fluid

Once you confirm that the cap is in good condition, you can move forward and check the brake fluid level. Typically, a war will show you some marks that identify the minimum and maximum levels of brake fluid. The brake fluid must be right between the minimum and maximum marks. If the fluid is below the minimum significant amount, you'll have to top it off to the optimum level.

Also, you need to take a closer look at the brake fluid condition. Even if it's at the right level, if it's not healthy or doesn't have the right characteristics, it might not perform well and needs to be changed. If that's the case, you'll have to perform a thorough brake fluid flush and add a completely fresh fluid for your vehicle tool to function properly. Typically, the brake fluid should be a golden brown, and if it's getting darker, it indicates the speaking up some contaminants, and it requires flushing.

5.    Do not keep the remaining fluid

One very important pro tip for changing your brake fluid is never keeping any remaining fluid in the bottle. In other words, if all your reservoir needs are just a small amount of brake fluid, top it off and throw the remaining. Once you break the seal on the bottle, it absorbs moisture and won't be effective the next time you need to use it. That's why we recommend purchasing brake fluid in smaller quantities, especially if you're looking topping it off rather than flushing it out.

6.    Wipe off the reservoir and close the cap

After topping off the brake fluid reservoir, use a dry paper towel and wipe it off to prevent any mess from getting to the surrounding areas around your engine compartment. Once you wipe off the reservoir, you can go ahead and close the cap securely without breaking it. As we indicated before, if your cup is not in good condition, you'll have to install a new one, which you can buy from any auto shop around you.

How do you know when your brake fluid is low?

Sometimes it can be unclear to many drivers still determine whether their brake fluid is low or not. Checking the brake fluid is not something you have to do every day unless you're dealing with problems. Your vehicle's owner's manual should have details about the frequency of checking your brake fluid. However, if you realize one of the following symptoms, it indicates that you're braking fluid is low, and you'll have to check it immediately to top it off:

1.    The ABS warning light illuminates

If you see the ABS warning light illuminating on your dashboard, it indicates that the braking system is not at the optimum brake fluid level. So you have to check the billing system and top it off immediately.

Note that the warning lights on the dashboard are extremely critical, and there is one way for your vehicle to communicate with you and bring your attention to internal issues.

You must never ignore any warning light on the dashboard, whether this warning light is linked to a minor or major issue. Sometimes ignoring minor problems lead to a significant breakdown suddenly without any previous warning signs.

2.    The brake pedal is behaving differently

The other thing that you can keep an eye on is how your brake pedal behaves. In other words, if you realize that the big pedal is pushing down, it might indicate that there is an issue with the braking system, but also it can be linked to low braking fluid. Again, the only way to confirm is to check the braking fluid and see if it's at the optimum level.

3.    The braking system is making weird noises

Finally, if you notice some weird noises coming every time you hit the brake pedal, it indicates a problem with the braking system, and it can also indicate a low brake fluid level.

In general, if your vehicle is making weird loud noises and whether these noises are coming from the braking system or other systems, you must take the issue seriously because it can be linked to an internal problem that might impact your safety. Also, some loud noises might be related to internal problems that might lead to significant sudden breakdowns if not taken care of immediately.

Is it safe to drive a car with low brake fluid?

No, come on, it is never recommended. However, depending on the severity of the drop in the fluid level, it can be extremely dangerous to drive your vehicle in this condition. Therefore, you must top off the brake fluid immediately and never delay it for any reason.

Think about what could happen and what could go wrong if you continue driving a vehicle with low brake fluid. You won't be able to stop the car in emergencies, and it can lead to hazardous situations not only for you but for the passengers than other people driving around you on the road. Therefore, to maintain your safety, you must check the fluid level and top it off when you confirm that it's low.

What happens if you run out of brake fluid?

Typically, you won't get to a point where you completely run out of brake fluid because the brake fluid is not that consumable, and the only way for the brake fluid to run out is when you have a severe leak. If that's the case, it's never OK to start or move the vehicle an inch because you will be able to stop it, and that's an extremely hazardous situation. So, in other words, when you don't have any brake fluid, the hydraulic power won't be generated, and that's why you will be dealing with a car that doesn't have any working braking system.

Even though the brake fluid is very low, it might lead to other significant damages to components in the braking system that require the brake fluid to lubricate them. Therefore, do not only think about the problem in terms of the ability to function the car but also think about what could go wrong in the other components that require lubrication all the time.


The brake fluid is an essential part of your braking system, and checking it regularly helps you maintain this system and prevent sudden breakdowns. This article provided you with a step-by-step procedure on how to check the brake fluid. Once you realize that the fluid is not optimum, you will need to top it off. If you discover that it's not in good condition, you'll have to flush it out completely.

No matter how much effort you put towards maintaining the braking system, if your vehicle has major problems in the braking system, the engine, or the transmission, it might be the right time now to sell it and use its value to buy a better car that probably has I better condition.

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