How to Check Brake Fluid

Mechanic checking brake fluid

Brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car, truck, or SUV as you cruise through Lakeland. They also have many parts to them because several components have to work properly together once you put your foot on the brake pedal for smooth operation on Winterhaven streets. 



Brake fluid is one aspect of your brake system. It keeps other parts of your brakes working correctly. You’ll need to know how to check brake fluid as part of your regular vehicle maintenance, even though you might not think about it very often. If you’re not sure how to do this, the service team at Kelley Buick GMC, Inc. is here to help! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about brake fluid, including the brake fluid’s color.

What Is Brake Fluid?

Your car’s brakes rely on hydraulics to turn the pressure on the brake pedal to squeeze the calipers on all four wheels to bring your vehicle to a stop. Hydraulic systems require fluid to move the parts effectively. When you hit the brake pedal on Aurburndale roads, pressurized brake fluid moves through brake lines to engage pistons, squeeze the calipers, and produce friction to stop the wheels. 

Brake fluid also lubricates your braking system and prevents corrosion. Look for common formulas, like glycol-ether-based, silicone-based (DOT-5), and mineral oil-based (LHM) brake fluids when you need to replenish your system. Which brake fluid works for your vehicle? Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations, or contact us.

Why Must Technicians Periodically Change Brake Fluid?

Like other automotive fluids, changing brake fluid keeps that system in great shape. Looking over the brake fluid in the reservoir also helps prevent issues before they become worse.

Why is checking brake fluid so important?

  • Brake fluid attracts moisture over time, which can corrode your braking system.
  • Brake fluid becomes contaminated with small particles with age, and those particles can damage your brakes. 
  • Systems like ABS and traction control generate heat, which can cause your brake fluid to break down more quickly.

How to Check Brake Fluid Properly

  1. Find your car’s brake fluid reservoir. This reservoir is located near the master cylinder under the hood. Check your owner’s manual for a diagram if you can’t find it. Or call our service department at (866) 606-9319, and we’ll help you! Checking brake fluid is relatively easy once you’re used to it.
  2. Look for the “minimum” and “maximum” lines on the master cylinder’s reservoir. Check the brake fluid against these measurement lines. If your brake fluid is between the lines, you’re good to go. If it’s close or under the minimum line, add more brake fluid.
  3. Examine the color of the brake fluid. If you notice a dark brown or black color, much like used motor oil, schedule a brake fluid flush with our team ASAP. 

What Color Is Brake Fluid? 

You know that dark brown or black brake fluid is not ideal. What color is brake fluid normally? Brake fluid color, when it’s new, should be almost clear with a faint yellow tint. It becomes darker over time as it picks up debris and contaminants. If it’s dark, bring your vehicle in for service ASAP.

Brake Fluid Service Intervals

Our service team recommends checking brake fluid with every oil change, or at least once a year (whichever comes first). On average, brake fluid can last four to five years before changing brake fluid. However, the interval between changes depends on several things, like driving conditions, the age of your brakes, how fast you decelerate, and more.

Schedule Your Next Brake Service with Kelley Buick GMC, Inc.

Ready for brake service or any other kind of routine vehicle maintenance? Contact us or call (866) 606-9319 with any questions about brake maintenance, checking brake fluid, or any concerns about your brake system.

Do you want more information on brakes? Read our guide on how much it could cost to replace brake pads and why your brakes might squeak


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