How Can You Tell When Your Brake Fluid Is Running Low?

Brake fluid is a vital part of your vehicle’s operations, and it is often overlooked. Most mechanics and other experts suggest checking your brake fluid levels monthly at a minimum because it is so fast and simple to do with dire consequences possible if it runs low. There’s a reason for the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the regular inspection of your brake fluid to determine if your brake fluid is low is no exception. If you detect any problems like a brake fluid leak early on as they form, the risk of accidents from failed brakes is far lower. It is also easier on your pocketbook to address problems before they multiply. Follow these steps to check for low brake fluid in your car or truck:

  • Locate the brake fluid reservoir. Usually, this is a plastic container with a screw-cap lid situated near the brake master cylinder on the driver’s side. In antique vehicles, however, the reservoir is often made of metal.

  • Pump the brakes repeatedly if you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS): Depending on the type of car or truck you have, the number of times you depress the brakes can vary, although 25 to 30 times is fairly standard. Refer to your owner’s manual, however, for the proper number for your vehicle.

  • Wipe any debris from the cap when it is still closed with a clean cloth: You do not want any grit accidentally making its way in to the brake fluid as you check it because there is the potential of dirt interfering with the performance of the seals on the master cylinder. If that happens, your brakes could fail.

  • Open the cap to the brake fluid reservoir: With plastic reservoirs, the cap simply screws off. For vintage metal varieties, however, you may need to pry it off with a flathead screwdriver or similar tool. Never leave the cap open longer than necessary, as it can introduce moisture into your brake fluid, which will cause it to chemically break down over time.

Check the level and color of your brake fluid: Your brake fluid is low if it does not reach an inch or two below the cap and may indicate a brake leak. Top the reservoir off with the type of brake fluid recommended in your owner’s manual and consult a mechanic immediately. Also note the color of your brake fluid. If it is dark, your vehicle may require a brake fluid flush and replacement.

This is how to regularly check if your brake fluid is low, but there are other, more serious signals that you should have your brake system inspected promptly. If you suddenly notice a change in the amount of pressure needed to depress your brake pedal or it goes further down than usual, you likely have a serious brake fluid leak. Also, most vehicles have warning lights that illuminate on the dash, so take heed if a Brake Warning, ABS, or similar icon suddenly shows up. If your vehicle exhibits these signs or you have found your brake fluid is low during your regular inspections, don’t hesitate to contact one of our mechanics for a consultation.


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Recent Brake fluid is leaking Inspection reviews

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Leonardo

5 years of experience
13 reviews
Leonardo
5 years of experience
Ford F-250 Super Duty V10-6.8L - Brake fluid is leaking - Danbury, Connecticut
Leonardo was amazing. He was very careful in replacing the brake line and bleeding the brakes. I can tell that he knows auto mechanics and really likes what he does. Thank you so much for sending him. Great work

Jordan

8 years of experience
84 reviews
Jordan
8 years of experience
Subaru Outback H4-2.5L - Brake fluid is leaking - Davenport, Florida
Professional, friendly, thorough, and efficicient. Explained everything in an understandable manner and did not feel like I was getting a run around.

Richard

35 years of experience
96 reviews
Richard
35 years of experience
Lexus LX470 V8-4.7L - Brake fluid is leaking - Zephyrhills, Florida
From "Your Mechanic" A mobile service straight to my residence, Richard was scheduled for 11:00 AM, he arrived 5 minutes earlier than expected. He was scheduled for a "break leak" assessment on a Lexus LX470. He quickly found the leak and educated me on the brake problem with my SUV. Since my brake line was corroded, he would need to have my vehicle towed to his shop to get the vehicle on a lift to fix the brake line. He proceeded to quote me the full job repair, he was courteous, on time, and provided me with a viable satisfactory solution. I will need to get my car to his shop to provide an updated experience review after completed.....all in all, Richard demonstrated to be 5 stars mechanic by just showing up

Walter

46 years of experience
341 reviews
Walter
46 years of experience
Chrysler Town & Country V6-3.8L - Brake fluid is leaking - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Walter is very personable and kept working to completely resolve my issue and went above and beyond and explained his work as he did it.

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