First Time Adding Brake Fluid? What You Need to Know about Ratings

Automotive Blog

If you are considering doing a little car maintenance on your own, adding brake fluid might be one of the things that you consider taking on. However, not all brake fluids are the same, so you can't just go to the auto parts store and pick up a bottle or two. This guide explains what you need to know before you lift the hood and begin your work.

Understanding the DOT Brake Fluid Ratings

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates brake fluid just as they do anything else concerning vehicle operations. When you look at a bottle of brake fluid, you'll notice various ratings. The number is there to ensure that you grab the right fluid for your specific vehicle. The DOT provides specifications to brake fluid to ensure that there is enough resistance to moisture and heat.

If there is no enough resistance, your brakes may not work properly, especially if you're trying to stop in wet conditions, or if the road is really hot during the summer. On the other hand, too much resistance can mean sudden stops that can thrust you and your passengers forward if you need to hit your brakes hard to avoid an accident.

Mixing Two Fluids with Different Ratings

One of the DOT's requirements for production of brake fluid is that they are cross compatible. This means that it is possible to mix a newer (higher) rated fluid with an older system. But if your vehicle is already rated with a newer DOT system, then you shouldn't put a lower rated brake fluid in it. Think of it as software. Some new versions work on older systems, but an older version of software won't work in a newer system.  

Knowing Which Brake Fluid to Purchase

There are a few factors to consider when purchasing the proper brake fluid. For the most part, your owner's manual can guide you through the process, but if you don't have one, then your auto parts professional will need to know the following:

  • age of the vehicle
  • size of the vehicle
  • anti-lock or traction control brake system

Adding your own brake fluid can save you money in labor fees for a brake mechanic. Take the time to learn which brake fluid you need to purchase, as suggested by the DOT guidelines and regulations. Ask your brake professional, one like Precision Automotive, for help if you are unsure about which one to purchase, or if you would prefer that they add it in for you.    


15 May 2015

Are Used Car Parts Right For Your Vehicle?

When it comes to auto repairs, I am lucky. A good friend of mine is very car savvy and is able to make the majority of the repairs that my car needs. However, recently he sprung a question on me that surprised me. He asked if I wanted him to install a new part or a quality used car part. I asked for his opinion and did some research online. I was surprised to find that there wasn't a lot of information out there about when you should and should not use used parts in your car. So that's how this website came to be. I decided to compile the information I learned, so that in the future, someone doesn't have to search all over to decide whether to have a new or used car placed in their car. Hope my website helps you to make your decision!