How to Easily Check Your Brake Fluid Level

Brake fluid doesn’t get the same attention that motor oil does, but it’s an incredibly important part of your car. The purpose of brake fluid is to provide the pressure necessary to help your brakes work. Without brake fluids, your brakes would not be able to do their job effectively. It follows that brake fluid is very important! 

Brake fluid shouldn’t get used up or absorbed, so in theory you shouldn’t need to worry about the brake fluid level. In reality, it’s possible for your car to have a leak, and start to lose brake fluid. To make sure you catch leaks as soon as they occur, and before any further damage is done, check your brake fluid any time you are checking your other fluids, or opening your hood. Here’s how: 

Find the Brake Fluid Reservoir 

Your brake fluid reservoir is under the hood, normally close to the windshield. It should be clearly marked, but if it isn’t, you can refer to your owner’s manual. 

Pump the Brakes 

Pump on your brake pedal about 30 times, to get the brake fluid moving so that you can have an accurate reading. The owner’s manual will give you a number of times that is specific to your vehicle, but in general, 30 pumps should be plenty. 

Open the Reservoir 

Unscrew the cap on top of the brake fluid reservoir. You should be able to remove the cap easily with just your hand. When you take off the cap, make sure that no dust, dirt, or debris can fall into the brake fluid reservoir, and wipe away any nearby contaminants. Place the cap upside-down, somewhere safe and clean. 

Check the Brake Fluid Level 

Look into the brake fluid reservoir, to locate the level of the fluid. In general, the fluid should be within an inch or two of the top of the reservoir; anything lower than that means you need to add more fluid. However, some brake fluid reservoirs have a mark to show you where the fluid level should be.

While you’re checking your brake fluid level, you should also note the color of the fluid. If the color is very dark, then your fluid likely has been getting dirty, and should be flushed out and replaced before it does any damage.

If your brake fluid level is low, you need to do more than simply replenish it. Low fluid suggests a leak, which means that you need to find and fix the leak, or else you’ll keep losing brake fluid. Furthermore, leaking fluid can cause damage to other components in the vehicle, so it’s important for the overall health of the vehicle to find and fix the leak. 

Constantly checking your brake fluid will help you catch leaks before excess damage is done. This can potentially save you large amounts of money in repairs, while also keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape, so that you can get maximum value when the time comes to resell. 

About The Author

Brady Klopfer

Brady Klopfer is a freelance writer and editor from Los Angeles. You can read more of his work here