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

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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 20 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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YourMechanic Brake fluid is leaking Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.8/5

Number of Reviews

50

Rating Summary
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Matthew

10 years of experience
183 reviews
Matthew
10 years of experience
Buick Riviera - Brake fluid is leaking - Indianapolis, Indiana
Matthew arrived before 10 and was very professional. He was able to do our inspection in a short amount of time and was able to determine what needed to be done.
Saturn Vue - Brake fluid is leaking - Indianapolis, Indiana
Matt was very professional, explained what he did in a clear and concise way. Thank you.

Rigoberto

9 years of experience
703 reviews
Rigoberto
9 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Brake fluid is leaking - Northbrook, Illinois
The mechanic gave me a very honest, thorough and professional diagnostic.
Dodge Challenger - Brake fluid is leaking - Chicago, Illinois
OUTSTANDING MECHANIC AND PERSON !!!!! VERY PROFESIONAL !!!!!!

Simon

25 years of experience
7 reviews
Simon
25 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake fluid is leaking - Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Simon was Very professional and knowledgeable. Find the problem but unfortunately Your Mechanic don’t repair brake lines.

Mazyar

6 years of experience
89 reviews
Mazyar
6 years of experience
Audi A6 Quattro - Brake fluid is leaking - Conyers, Georgia
Very professional and quickly was able to inspect my vehicle. He showed me the parts that needed replacement/repair explained where the repairs were needed. Going to schedule and have him complete the repairs. EH

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