Is Your Brake Fluid Low?

If you were asked to pick one thing your car can't be without, what would you say? (please don't say the cupholder) You would probably say that it would be the brakes. A perfect running car that starts on the coldest mornings and purrs like a milk-faced kitten doesn't amount to much if you can't stop when you need to. That's why you should be sure to take good care of your car's braking system. This includes keeping your brake pads replaced, inspecting your brake rotors and, of course, making sure there is enough clean brake fluid to keep the system operating correctly.

Most, if not all, vehicles on the road today have a brake fluid reservoir that allows you to see through so you can check the fluid level without opening the cap. The brake fluid reservoir will be located toward the back of the engine bay on the driver's side, up high where it's easy to access.

Once you locate the brake fluid reservoir, you will see markings on the side that tell you if you need to add any brake fluid. You may need to clean off a little grime to see the marks more clearly.

If you do need to add some brake fluid, be sure to follow the tips at the end.

If you check the level of your car's brake fluid and discover it is low*, you can fill it up in no time.

Before you remove the cap to the brake fluid reservoir, wipe the area down thoroughly with a rag. Your braking system is sensitive, and foreign materials creeping in can clog or degrade its components. Start off clean to avoid any problems.

With the cap off, slowly add fluid until it rises to the appropriate level. Replace the cap and go about your business. In a day or two, recheck the level to be sure you don't need to add any more*. So...
  • Always clean the area around the cap
  • Add brake fluid slowly (make sure to add the correct brake fluid type whether it is DOT3 or DOT4, etc..)
  • Recheck in a few days
Never shake a bottle of brake fluid before you add it to your car. The little bubbles can cause big problems. If you purchased a new bottle of brake fluid from a parts store, let it settle for an hour or so before adding it to your brake system.

*If your brake fluid is low and you are constantly adding new brake fluid, there may be something wrong with your brake system and it would need to be checked out by a certified mechanic.
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