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How to Check Brake Fluid: a DIY Guide

Brake fluid check

 

Most Cary drivers realize that brakes are one of the most critical parts of their vehicle. That’s why it’s essential that your brakes work correctly and aren’t too worn out. One way to be sure your brakes are functioning properly is to check your brake fluid routinely. If you need to learn how to check brake fluid, keep reading, or make a service appointment with Hendrick Kia of Cary to let our expert technicians handle it for you. 

What Does Brake Fluid Do?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that lubricates your braking system and keeps it from corroding as you drive around Raleigh. The brake fluid in your new Kia is likely glycol-ether-based, but silicone-based (DOT-5) and mineral oil-based (LHM) fluids are also available. Check your owner’s manual to determine which type of brake fluid is recommended by the manufacturer for your specific model.

How to Check Your Brake Fluid: Follow These 3 Simple Steps

  1. Find your vehicle’s brake fluid reservoir, which is generally located on the master cylinder underneath the hood. Check your owner’s manual if you can’t find it.
  2. Written on the outside of the reservoir should be “minimum” and “maximum” lines. Check the brake fluid against these lines to make sure it’s full. If the brake fluid is close to or below the minimum bar, add some brake fluid.
  3. Inspectthe color of your brake fluid. What color is the brake fluid? If it looks dark brown, black, or more closely resembles engine oil than brake fluid, you need a full brake fluid replacement.

Why Should You Change Your Brake Fluid?

Yes, your brake fluid needs changing as part of your routine maintenance for the following reasons:

  • Brake fluid attracts moisture that can eventually cause corrosion on your brakes. 
  • As brake fluid ages, it becomes contaminated with tiny particles that may damage brake-related systems. 
  • Some of the systems in your new Kia, like ABS and traction control, generate heat when they’re activated, which shortens the lifespan of your brake fluid.

What Color Is Brake Fluid? 

New brake fluid should be nearly clear with a yellowish tint. Over time, this changes as you use your brakes. Remember, dark oil-like brake fluid has picked up dust, dirt, and debris, which can impact the performance of your brake system if left as it is. When the brake fluid reaches this point, you need to replace it as soon as possible.

Brake Fluid Service Intervals

Check your brake fluid during every oil change, or at a minimum, once per year. Brake fluid can last about four to five years, but it varies by make and model, your driving habits, and driving conditions around Durham. If you bring your vehicle in for scheduled maintenance at Hendrick Kia of Cary, or another OEM-certified service center, the certified Kia technicians will know when to check and replace the brake fluid on your car.

Bring Your Car to Hendrick Kia of Cary For Brake Service 

Now that we’ve explained how to check brake fluid and answered the question, “What color is brake fluid?” you can do a DIY brake fluid change or schedule an appointment with Hendrick Kia of Cary. Check out our service specials to see if you can save some money, and contact us today with any additional questions.

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