Brake Fluid – Everything You Need To Know!

The brake fluid is what helps move the braking system and allows the car to come to a stop. It is important to know when replacing the fluid should happen to guarantee that the car is driving safely. Here at Peninsula Auto Clinic, we offer the best Brake Service to ensure fluids are topped up. Driving the car on low fluid can increase the chance of the brakes failing and the car not stopping properly. 

As the braking system is what stops the car, having the brake fluid topped up is needed. If the fluids are not replaced the chance of brake failure increases. The brake fluid service is inexpensive while is recommended to occur every 30,000km driven or every 2 years. 

Brake Fluid Everything You Need To Know 1
Peninsula Auto clinic is a northern beaches mechanic. For over 25 years we have provided quality and affordable car repairs and car services to every vehicle type. Contact our team of mechanics for more information today!

What Does the Brake Fluid Do?

The brake fluid is in charge of moving the components around within the braking system. These fluids are hygroscopic which means they absorb moisture when air is exposed. The hydraulic fluid functions under high pressure and temperatures to ensure the vehicle’s brakes can stop the vehicle. 

Main Types of Brake Fluids

There are three main types of brake fluids which can be included in the braking system:

  • DOT 3 is a glycol-based fluid that is often used within most regular cars and vehicles. 
  • DOT 4 is similar to DOT 3 but has a higher boiling point level. This main difference means that it is more suitable for larger vehicles, like trucks, or racing cars. Checking to see if the car needs DOT 3 or if DOT 4 can be used can be through the car’s manual. Most modern cars will use DOT 4 though due to it being safer and more effective.
  • DOT 5 is silicone-based where it will not absorb moisture while having a higher boiling point. Car’s which can only have DOT 3 or 4 cannot have DOT 5 as the braking system can become damaged.

What Happens if the Brake Fluid is Low?

There are many symptoms which will show when the brake fluids are low:

  • The car’s ability to brake or come to a stop is significantly decreased. Often the vehicle will take longer to stop than it should which could be extremely risky.
  • When the brakes are pressed they are more spongy and not as sturdy.
  • Inspecting the brake fluid can see that it has gone black or discoloured from contamination reasons. 

Driving can cause the brake pads to increase its temperature where the heat will transfer to the brake fluid. The fluid then can reach high temperatures of at times up to 200℃. When this happens and the fluid is extremely hot small bubbles of air might start to form. This is because the fluid is boiling and the air can lead to the brakes becoming spongy. 

If the fluid is constantly reaching past its boiling point this can cause serious damages to the braking system. It might lead to a brake fade which the braking system is significantly decreased in its function. Stopping when driving and pressing the brake pedal will become much harder and take longer which is a risky scenario. 

General Brake Fluid Service

A mechanic will undergo the brake fluid service where they will inspect the current levels and replace the fluid. The braking fluid system is also inspected overall to ensure that each part works. The system and parts involve are cleaned where debris, oil and dirt are removed.

The process of topping up and replacing the brake fluid often follows these steps:

  • The fluids are inspected for any negative conditions or if it is contaminated. If the fluids are then the brake fluid reservoir will often have to be cleaned to ensure the new fluid is not contaminated as well. 
  • All the fluid in the reservoir is drained while the new fluid is filled in.
  • To access the brake calipers and drums the car is raised and the system is inspected.
  • All the old fluid is properly drained from the car and the new brake fluid is added in. 
  • Testing the system is important to ensure that the fluid is correctly topped up and enough has been added. 

For more information on what a general brake service looks like our blog has more detailed information with the service. 

Inspecting the Fluid Before Service

It is advised that a professional mechanic is the person who will drain the old fluid and add in the new one. This is to limit the chances of the fluid being incorrectly added into the car, such as too much or going in the wrong places. A mechanic will also know how to inspect, clean and test the car and braking system properly.

Inspecting to see if the fluid needs to be topped up can occur by any person though. This is helpful to know if a brake fluid service is needed. It is recommended that every 30,000km or 2 years the fluid is replaced by this number can be different for each person. If a person drives more often, having a larger vehicle to where a person drives will influence how much fluid is used.

To inspect the brake fluid to see if a refill and a service is needed:

  • Look at the brake fluid reservoir for two lines, each symbolises the maximum and minimum levels.
  • If the line is close to the bottom line then this indicates that the fluid is running out. If the line is still close to the top of the reservoir then this means the fluid might not need to be replaced. If the colour of the fluid is different then it may be contaminated and will need to be replaced. 

Trusted Northern Beaches Brake Fluid Services

Peninsula Auto Clinic is guaranteed the most reliable when it comes to performing a brake fluid service. Our fully qualified mechanics will know the best fluid to add into the car and correctly top it up. We drain the system carefully and clean all parts professionally to ensure the system is working correctly. 

Our brake fluid services are offered to all of the Northern Beaches, including Mona Vale, Clareville and Terrey Hills. We also offer the best Car Repair and Car Service work to all residents for our mechanics to keep the car perfect.  For trusted brake fluid services in the Northern Beaches – contact Peninsula Auto Clinic on 9999 2553 or at