By booking a brake fluid change when needed, you can extend the lifespan of your brakes and stay safe on the road.

Read on and find out what a brake fluid change is, how much it costs, and how often this fluid should be changed.


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Brake Fluid Replacement


What Is a Brake Fluid Change?

A brake fluid change is different to a top up, as it involves ‘bleeding’ your brakes to remove the old fluid.

You should trust a skilled mechanic to do this job for you, as they can also dispose of the old brake fluid and test your braking system for you.

The mechanic will replace the old fluid with new, clean brake fluid.

A brake fluid change also includes a minor diagnostic check to ensure that your electronic ABS system bleeds the brakes correctly.

It removes every single drop of fluid from the system.

Many brake fluid replacements include a visual brake check, and many mechanics use a pressure bleeder system.

This pumps new fluid through the system under pressure and the old fluid out of the system.

Specialist equipment is used to bleed your brakes to get rid of any vapour bubbles that may be lodged in them.


How Much Does a Brake Fluid Change Cost?

As brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air over time, it will become less effective and need to be replaced.

A brake fluid change is also known as a brake fluid flush or replacement.

It is a process in which the old brake fluid is removed and replaced with fresh liquid.

A brake fluid change costs between £50 and £80 when you book through BookMyGarage.


How Often Should You Change Brake Fluid?

You should have your brake fluid changed by a professional mechanic every 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

You should have the fluid changed at these intervals even if you don't notice any issues with your fluid during a check. 


Why Do I Need to Change My Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid gradually soaks up water from the hoses, joints, and pipes that it lubricates.

As the water content in the brake fluid rises, the temperature it boils at falls.

This can make your braking system less effective, making it more difficult to slow down or stop the vehicle.

Your brake pedal may feel soft or spongy when you depress it.

Your brakes could even fail completely, putting you in danger on the road, so you must book an appointment with a local garage at the appropriate intervals.


How Long Does It Take?

It can take as little as 30 mins for a professional mechanic to carry out a brake fluid change, depending on the vehicle.

If you attempt to replace brake fluid yourself, this will likely take a lot longer.


Does My Car Need a Brake Fluid Replacement?

When checking your brake fluid, you should look out for the following:

  • Colour is too dark (dark brown/black)
  • Air bubbles or spoiled brake fluid
  • Lumps or debris floating in brake fluid
  • Brake fluid level is more than half an inch below the maximum line

If you notice any of these issues, you should book a brake fluid change as soon as possible.

For your own safety, you should avoid driving your vehicle as much as you can because your brakes may be ineffective.


How to Replace Brake Fluid

If you feel confident replacing your car's brake fluid, then you should make sure you are parked on a level surface in a well-ventilated area. 

You shouldn't need more than a litre for a complete brake fluid change, but you can refer to your owner's manual to find the exact amount for your vehicle. 

You can use a large cover if you want to stop fluid from spilling onto your driveway.

To replace your brake fluid, you should follow these steps:

  1. Prepare your car
  2. Locate the brake fluid reservoir
  3. Remove the old brake fluid
  4. Refill the new brake fluid
  5. Bleed the brake system
  6. Top up if required
  7. Test your brakes


Prepare Your Car

During the preparation stage, you should check the parking brake is working and loosen the lug nuts on the wheels.

You can then use a car jack and stands to make sure all of your car's wheels are safely off the ground. 


Locate the Brake Fluid Reservoir

Next, open the bonnet to find the brake fluid reservoir.

This is usually located high up the engine on the driver's side of the vehicle.

You should clean the area surrounding it before you open the brake fluid reservoir.


Remove the Old Brake Fluid

Using a large syringe, siphon or turkey baster, you can then take out as much of the old fluid as you can. 


Refill the New Brake Fluid

Top up the brake fluid reservoir with the correct solution to the limit marked on the inside of the cylindrical tube. 

Refer to your owner's manual to make sure you purchase the correct brake fluid solution for your vehicle. 

Be sure to use new fluid from a sealed container - if not, it may have already absorbed moisture from the air and will no longer be useable. 


Bleed the Brake System

You will then have to bleed the brake system, starting with the rear wheels. 

To do this, find the brake caliper and bleeder valve. 

Attach a clear tube or rubber hose onto the valve that leads into an old container.

Drain all the old fluid out into the container.

Get a friend to sit in the driver's seat and gently press the brake pedal down after you've opened the first valve.

The pedal should not be pressed right to the floor - you should use a block or brick to stop this from happening. 

Close the valve again whilst the pedal goes back up to avoid letting air into the system. 

When the pedal is pressed, the fluid should escape with little bubbles. 

Keep doing this until you can see the new brake fluid coming through without any bubbles. 

Do the same on all four wheels.


Top Up If Required

Before taking your car off the jack and supports, you should check the brake fluid level hasn't dropped.

If it gets low, don't pump the brake pedal as this will let air into the system. 

Add more solution if required.

Remember to tighten the lug nuts, too.


Test Your Brakes

Lower the vehicle and test that the brakes feel firm when pressure is applied. 

Test the brakes at low speed in a quiet area that has very little traffic.

You can then dispose of the old brake fluid at a local recycling centre. 


As you can probably tell, you should only attempt to change your car's brake fluid if you have the knowledge and skills needed to do the job right. 

A sub-standard brake fluid replacement can affect the safety of your car, especially if you lose the ability to brake.

A professional mechanic can save you time, money and stress by doing the job right the first time. 


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Brake Fluid Replacement