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Your vehicle shouldn’t lose brake fluid in normal operation. The level drops only slightly with wear of brakes. So if the level is down, there’s a chance there’s a leak somewhere. Consult one of our ASE Certified technicians immediately to have it addressed and avoid possible dangerous reduction in brake performance. Also, your vehicle takes a specific type of brake fluid; typically (but not always), DOT3 or DOT4. In newer vehicles, it will often say right on the brake fluid reservoir cap. If not, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Brakes are a critical system on your vehicle, yet the brake fluid is often neglected. Cars today use polyglycol-based brake fluid identified by the Department of Transportation as either DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid. Silicone-based DOT 5 brake fluid is also available, but used primarily in older collector cars and certain military/industrial applications. DOT 5 fluid is not recommended for modern vehicles with antilock braking systems.

Checking Brake Fluid Level
Brake fluid should be checked for level and condition. Modern brake systems have translucent plastic fluid reservoirs with molded-in MAX and MIN (or similar) markings that make it easy to visually check the fluid level. As long as the level is between the two marks, there is no need to top it up. A fluid level below the MIN marking indicates worn brakes or a leak in the system; take the vehicle to a repair facility as soon as possible for further diagnosis.

Checking Brake Fluid Condition
Brake fluid deteriorates over time from contaminants generated in the system and by absorbing moisture from the air, which lowers the fluid’s boiling point. Color is one indicator of brake fluid condition. DOT 3 and DOT 4 fluids should be clear to amber, while DOT 5 silicone fluids usually have a light purple tint. Any fluid that is dark brown or black should be replaced. Brake fluid test strips, available at most auto parts stores, can also be used to test the fluid condition. Before removing the brake reservoir cap to use a test strip or add fluid, always clean away any dirt or debris to ensure it doesn’t get into the master cylinder.


Note: These instructions are intended as general guidelines. Please consult your owner’s or service manual for specific instructions on changing the oil and filter on your vehicle. Use extreme caution when lifting or jacking any vehicle.

what is a brake system flush?It is easy to ignore repairs for your vehicle when they do not seem necessary. Really, what is the importance of a brake system flush? When your mechanic recommends that you get your brake system flushed, do you think you should you do it or save the cash?

Get it done.

When put simply, having clean brake fluid in your brake system is as necessary for your vehicle as oil is to your engine, the lifeblood of the system.

Over time, the rubber valves in the master brake cylinder, calipers and wheel cylinders deteriorate and create debris in your brake fluid. Moisture and air can also get trapped in the system. Brake fluid naturally wears down over time as well because of excessive heat and pressure, which leads to rust, that can create more nasty bits in your brake fluid. With no brake fluid, or with excessively worn out fluid, the brakes will not work properly, putting you and your vehicle in danger.

With a brake system flush, the hydraulic fluid in the brake reservoir, lines, and other parts of the system will be removed and replaced with fresh fluid. Bleeding the brakes only involves removing some of the fluid to remove air bubbles that develop over time.

Brake fluid does not need changed as often as your oil, but is important and can be added onto your next scheduled maintenance visit. Our ASE certified technicians recommend to change your vehicles brake fluid every 30,000 miles.

This month Sierra Car Care and MST Tire Centers is offering a FREE Courtesy Brake Inspection for your vehicle.  The inspection includes: Front/Rear Pads, Shoes, Rotors, Drums, Hydraulic System, & Test Drive. Please call to schedule your next maintenance with Sierra Car Care, the mechanics that care about the health of your vehicle, and your safety. LOCATIONS

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