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How to Check the Brake Fluid in Your Car

Your car contains many important parts and systems, but the brakes are by far one of the most vital. The brake system must be functioning properly in order for you to have full stopping power in Gastonia. A minor issue with any component of the brake system, even the brake fluid, can lead to a dangerous situation on the road. That’s why it’s so important to know how to check your brake fluid. Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet’s service team shows you how in three simple steps down below, where we’ll also answer some commonly asked questions like “what color is brake fluid?”

First Things First: What is Brake Fluid?

Before you learn how to check brake fluid, you should gain a full understanding of what brake fluid is. Put simply, it’s a hydraulic fluid that aids in the movement of the brake pedal. But that’s not all: brake fluid also acts as a lubricant to prevent corrosion of the brake system. Most vehicles use a glycol-ether based brake fluid, but there are other options on the market, like silicone-based (DOT-5) or mineral oil-based (LHM) brake fluid. We recommend checking your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends for your car.

Learn How to Check Brake Fluid in 3 Simple Steps

  1. Getting started, find the brake fluid reservoir under the hood of your car, on the master cylinder. Having trouble? Your owner’s manual can point you in the right direction.
  2. The exterior of the reservoir contains “minimum” and “maximum” lines. The closer the brake fluid is to the “minimum” line, the sooner you will need to schedule a brake fluid replacement or brake service.
  3. While you’re checking the brake fluid, make an additional note: What color is the brake fluid? If it more closely resembles engine oil with a dark brown or black color, this is an indication that you need a brake fluid flush.

Why Do You Need to Change the Brake Fluid?

There are a few good reasons to change the brake fluid in your car:

  • Although brake fluid is a lubricant that prevents corrosion, it also attracts moisture, which in itself can lead to corrosion over time.
  • The older brake fluid gets, the more contaminated it can become with fragments that can damage other parts of the brake system.
  • Your car’s ABS and traction control systems produce heat when enabled, and that heat can affect the quality of your brake fluid.

A regular inspection of your car’s brake fluid will bring potential issues to your attention and prevent you from driving around Concord with brakes that are damaged or close to failing.

What Color is Brake Fluid?

When the brake fluid is brand-new, it’s clear with a bit of a yellow tinge. The color will change over time, eventually turning to a dark brown or black color if left unattended long enough. At this point, you should schedule a brake fluid flush and replacement without delay.

How Often to Check Brake Fluid

Your brake fluid should be checked during every oil change. If you only need an oil change once per year, it is vital that you also check the brake fluid during that once-yearly interval. Brake fluid may last as long as four to five years, but the actual figure will vary based on an individual’s vehicle, driving habits, and driving conditions. So long as you’re diligently following your maintenance schedule, you can rest assured the technicians working on your car will check and change the brake fluid when necessary.

Schedule Brake Service with Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet

Looking for brake service near Rock Hill, SC? Contact us or schedule an appointment at Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet! While you’re here, we can provide additional brake service tips, like how long brakes last and how to bleed brakes.

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