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What brake fluid does my car need

18th July 2023

Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid that is used in a hydraulic brake system. It transfers force into pressure, to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. It does this by applying hydraulic pressure to the callipers in the brake system as you press down on your brake pedal. 

Without brake fluid, you would not be able to use your car brakes at all. That’s why it is important to ensure your brake fluid is topped up, so that your vehicle works effectively.  

Types of brake fluid

Brake fluid comes in different types that can be used for different vehicles. Typically, these are grouped into two categories: 

Silicone based – DOT5 is an example of silicone-based brake fluid. 

Glycol based – DOT3, DOT4 and Super DOT4 are examples of glycol-based brake fluid.  

Which brake fluid does my car need?

The ‘DOT’ refers to the boiling points of different types of brake fluid. The lower the DOT number, he lower the brake fluid’s boiling point is. This, along with the type of vehicle you have and its usage, will determine which DOT level of brake fluid you will need. If you drive a high-performance car, you will require a brake fluid with a higher DOT level rating due to its lower boiling point.  

Typically, most vehicles use DOT4, which requires around 1 litre of brake fluid. However, to find out which brake fluid your car requires, we recommend taking a look in your vehicle’s handbook for the correct information.  

How often should I change my brake fluid?

We recommend changing your brake fluid every 2 years, regardless of mileage. Some vehicle manufacturers may require you to change your brake fluid more often. In this case, you should consult your manufacturer or vehicle handbook for the correct information.  

Even if your vehicle is not due a change in brake fluid, we suggest you regularly check it to ensure both the quality and lifespan of your brakes are working as they should be.  

Looking to learn more? Find out how brakes work and why your car brakes may fail here. Alternatively, visit your local Merityre garage for a free brake check or contact us today where our specialist team can help.