Every couple of years or so, you need to change your brake fluid. Whether you do this yourself or ask a professional to do so doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that you change it. Unfortunately, many car owners neglect this simple but crucial task. Do not follow their example! Keep in mind that this mistake can easily be fatal, seeing as the brake system is one of the most important safety features of your vehicle. This is especially true if you haven’t changed your brake fluid in several years, causing it to drop to undesirable levels.
Although service facilities can flush out and refill the brake fluid for you, it’s always a good idea to learn to do it yourself, just in case you need to. Here’s how you can replace your brake fluid.
- Check your brake fluid. Make sure your car is parked with the parking brake activated. If you’re driving manual transmission, then you should set the gear to first and have the parking brake active. Look for the brake fluid reservoir and open the top cap to examine the fluid level. The maximum and minimum levels might be indicated in this case, so it’s best to see if the fluid has satisfied the two levels. If there’s some discoloration or if there’s not enough fluid, then you may need to do some replacement.
- Drain your brake fluid. More often than not, draining brake fluid should be left to professionals, but in case of an emergency, you may need to do it yourself. So, the first thing you need to do is to raise the vehicle on frame stands. Find the bleed valves on either of the brake calipers. Now you need to loosen each bleed valve and place a container below them to catch the fluid that oozes out. Once the flow slows down, keep holding the container and ask someone else to pump the brake pedal a few times until all the brake fluid bleeds out.
- Replace your brake fluid. First off, you need to determine what type of brake fluid is required. Most vehicles need DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid, while there are others that require DOT 5. Before adding brake fluid, make sure all the valves have been tightened. Use a funnel to pour a sufficient amount of brake fluid into the reservoir. Once you’re done, make sure that you wipe the reservoir cap and close the hood.
If you’re not too confident with changing the brake fluid yourself, you can always choose to go to a car service facility to help you in the process. Always make sure that your brake system is functioning properly, so that you can significantly reduce the risk of getting into car accidents.