What is brake fluid?
Brake fluid, also known as hydraulic fluid, is responsible for the various components of your vehicle’s braking system. Without it, your car would not be able to stop when you push the brake pedal down inside your car.
The pressure of the brake fluid causes the brake rotors to squeeze down on the brake pads. They then make contact with the wheels, slowing down the wheel rotation and in turn the car itself. Brake fluid is only effective when it is not so hot that it becomes a vapour. If it gets too hot and does become vapour it can create bubbles which would result in brake failure.
Car brake fluid change costs
Brake fluid change costs between £47.55 and £193.81 depending on your car make and model. Take a look below at the average quote on WhoCanFixMyCar for some of the top car makes.
|Car Make||Average Price|
Which brake fluid service do you need?
Brake fluid doesn’t evaporate however over time brake fluid will absorb moisture from the air and not work as efficiently as it should. Therefore, it must be changed and kept at an appropriate level at regular intervals. It is advised that you change your brake fluid every year or two but bear in mind it varies from vehicle to vehicle. The vehicle manufacturer or car hand manual would have the best advice specific to the vehicle regarding brake fluid change.
Brake fluid leak:
A leak in the brakes could be very dangerous, because without the fluid the brakes will not be effective. Firstly, you need to check that the leak is brake fluid, it should be colourless and the consistency of cooking oil. The brake fluid reservoir will be at the back of the engine and is generally a small translucent container by the drivers’ side. If it is significantly lower than the fill mark, it’s likely there is a leak. Another way to check is to look for dark marks underneath the car. In any situation a brake leak is not good and should be repaired as soon as possible.
Brake fluid change:
It is possible to do it yourself, however many garages do it with a machine which is much more reliable. It is recommended that the fluid is changed by a trained professional as the oxygen in the air can contaminate the brake fluid. The water vapour in the air will lower the boiling point of the fluid, making the vehicle prone to frozen brake fluid during the colder months. The fluid becoming contaminated with water vapour can also cause the various components to rust which would cause the system to work poorly or not at all. It can also cause damage to the ABS system.
Brake fluid change
The average cost of a brake fluid change booked on WhoCanFixMYCar is £56.83. Brake fluid must be changed roughly every 2 years or 24,000 miles to keep it clean and working effectively. A professional should change your brake fluid because it's a complex job that involves making sure the oxygen in the air doesn't contaminate the fluid.Can include
- Brake testing
- Brake fluid change
The average cost of an engine oil change booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £82.39.
Car engine oil is vital for keeping your engine cool and well lubricated. If you're not sure what type of oil your car needs or how to do an oil change, a mechanic can take care of it within about 40 minutes.Can include
- Oil level check
- Oil top-up
- Oil change
- Oil filter change
Transmission fluid change
Transmission fluid helps keep your gear system cool and allows parts to stay lubricated. Transmission fluid can leak or become contaminated and may need to be replaced to make sure it does its job.Can include
- Transmission fluid removal
- Transmission fluid replacement
Common brake fluid problems
Your brakes are one of the most important safety components in your car and the brake fluid plays an important role in making sure things are functioning well. So if you notice any of the following common signs of brake fluid issues, it’s time to get a professional to check your car.
The brake light has come on your dashboard
The most common way to know if you need more brake fluid is if your ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) light turns on. This light will usually come on if you need to replace or add more fluid in your car.
Pedal issues can indicate brake fluid issues
If you find the brake pedal is stiffer than usual and you are having a harder time than usual pushing down on your brake pedal, you might need to have more brake fluid added to your vehicle.
The opposite of the hard or stiff brake pedal is the soft feeling one. If you’re experiencing a soft brake pedal, have a car technician look for fluid leaking from the master cylinder or elsewhere in the brake system.
The master cylinder is the unit that creates the power for your brakes. It has a reservoir similar to the one for your wiper fluid that is filled with the brake fluid.When you push down the brakes, this fluid is brought through thin piping, creating hydraulic pressure. If fluid is leaking from this system, there may not be enough power to force the brake pads to clamp hard to the rotors.
How to check whether you have a brake fluid leak
A leak in the brakes could be very dangerous, because without the fluid the brakes will not be effective. Firstly, you need to check that the leak is brake fluid, it should be colourless and the consistency of cooking oil. The brake fluid reservoir will be at the back of the engine and is generally a small translucent container by the drivers’ side. If it is significantly lower than the fill mark, it’s likely there is a leak. Another way to check is to look for dark marks underneath the car. In any situation a brake leak is not good and should be repaired as soon as possible. Leaks will compromise the pressure and cause the brakes to fail. The failure will simply happen faster with a bigger leak.
Top warning signs that your car needs a brake fluid change
Here are six tell-tale signs that your car may need brake fluid change or topping up:
Brake pedal not responsive
Brake pads vibrating
ABS warning light
Brake fluid discolouration
Vehicle pulling to the side, left or right
Why is brake fluid change necessary?
It’s important to change the brake fluid as per your manufacturers recommendations. Changing the brake fluid will improve braking providing there are no underlying issues with your braking system. Older brake fluid can become contaminated with water and metal particles from the parts that make up the braking system over the course of driving and thus, changing the fluid will prevent corrosion and the brake parts eventually failing.
Find local brake fluid change mechanics and garages
Looking for brake fluid specialists near you? Find brake fluid garages with WhoCanFixMyCar.
We work with a network of over 15,513 mechanics and garages across the UK so we can find competitively priced brake fluid change prices near you. Compare garage quotes for brake fluid change and read reviews from previous customers to find the best service before booking online.
What is brake fluid change?
Brake fluid, or hydraulic fluid enables the other elements of the car’s braking system to bring the car to a halt. The pressure of the hydraulic fluid enables the brake rotors to press down on the brake pads. The brake pads are then in contact with the wheels, subsequently slowing their rotation and stopping the car.
Does brake fluid need to be topped up?
If your brake fluid level is below the 'low' marker, you should add fluid to top it up. If you check the level soon after and it is still low, you may have a leak in the brake system.
Can I mix old and new brake fluid?
Brake fluid will absorb water, which is one of the reasons you need to replace it. You cannot reuse old fluid, and you must not mix old with new.
What are some of the signs that I need to top up my brake fluid?
Brake warning light has illuminated.
Brake fluid appears low, discolored, or dirty.
Brake pedal feels spongy.
Your car takes longer to stop than normal.
Can I change my brake fluid at home?
It is possible, however having the job done professionally by a garage is much safer and more reliable. Garages replace brake fluid with specialist equipment, as oxygen in the air can contaminate the brake fluid if the job is done at home freehand.
How much does brake fluid change cost?
From our experience, and quotes from garages on the WhoCanFixMyCar network, a brake fluid change typically costs between £47.55 and £193.81 depending on your car make and model.