A brake fluid change is one of the most important ways you can look after your car. Without looking after your brake fluid, your brakes will suffer from a loss of performance. And it's easy to see why this is dangerous... By the end of this article, you will understand:

  • What a brake fluid change is
  • The average UK brake fluid change cost
  • How to check your brake fluid
  • How often to change your brake fluid
  • Which brake fluid your car needs
  • How to book your brake fluid replacement

 

What is a Brake Fluid Change?

A brake fluid change is a full drain and refill of your brake fluid. Technicians pump a constant supply of fresh fluid into your system using a pressure bleeder. Brake fluid doesn't mix well with air, so changing it in this fashion avoids contamination. Otherwise, you might as well throw your money down the drain.  

driver's hand checking brake fluid reservoir in car engine bay

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to a brake fluid replacement - don't let the air spoil the fluid!

  A brake fluid change also includes a minor diagnostic check to ensure that your electronic ABS system bleeds the brakes correctly. It also removes every single drop of fluid from the system. Many brake fluid replacements include a visual brake check as well.  

 

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Why do I Need to Change My Brake Fluid?

Brake fluid plays an important role in the braking system. Simply put, your brakes won't work without it. When you press the brake pedal, you depress a piston in the master cylinder which, with the help of brake fluid, pushes another piston out of the slave cylinders. This transfers immense force and pressure onto the brake pads, which then clamp onto your wheels and slow your car down. No brake fluid = no pressure = no braking ability. Make sense? Click here to find out more about how your brakes work. Of course, poor-quality brake fluid can also affect your braking ability. It is 'hygroscopic' in nature (a fancy way of saying 'absorbs moisture'). This means it 'goes bad' even when working normally. Due to the immense heat generated under braking, brake fluid has a high boiling point to keep it working effectively. As a liquid, you'll have strong braking ability - you won't if it is a gas. If the quality deteriorates and it absorbs too much water, the boiling point decreases. Which means your braking ability decreases as well.  

Brake Fluid Type

Boiling Point (Dry)

Boiling Point (Wet)

DOT 3

205°C

140°C

DOT 4

230°C

155°C

DOT 5

260°C

180°C

DOT 5.1

260°C

180°C

  What’s more, rust, debris and other gunk can build in your brake lines. This can cause leaks and other problems with your brakes. In some cases, your brake lines may start to corrode which can lead to a much more expensive repair.  

How to Change Brake Fluid

It's relatively easy to change your brake fluid at home, but you shouldn't. A sub-standard brake fluid replacement can affect the safety of your car, especially if you lose the ability to brake. Leave it to the professionals instead. Compare and save on local garages with BookMyGarage. That way, you receive an expert brake fluid change at the very best price. Our experienced garages have the proper equipment and tonnes of experience to change your brake fluid quickly and safely. Besides, a brake fluid change can get messy and time-consuming. That's extra stress and hassle you just don't need. Book your brake fluid replacement through BookMyGarage today. You'll save yourself time, money and tears, and, most importantly, you'll make your car safer to drive.  

driver opening resevoir in engine bay, close-up shot, holding cap in hand

Hurry hurry! Completing a brake fluid replacement yourself can result in tears if you don't do it properly. Book your car into one of our UK garages instead.

 

How Much Does a Brake Fluid Change Cost in the UK?

Having compared prices from thousands of fastfit, franchise and independent UK garages, we found a brake fluid change to cost £53.90 on average for UK drivers. Most garages charge between £30 and £70 on BookMyGarage. And that means there's potential for a cracking deal. Just enter your reg and postcode to compare instant prices and find the best brake fluid change deal near you. You get full control over your booking and can sort garages based on price, availability, distance or reviews - whatever matters most to you. There's no sign-up, no hidden extras and no upfront payment. When you book a brake fluid replacement through BookMyGarage, you will always get the best deal. Compare and save with us today!

 

Enter your reg number and postcode to compare instant brake fluid change prices and book in a few clicks

 

How to Check Brake Fluid

You should check the quality of your brake fluid every few weeks to ensure it is still in good condition. Here's how you can check yours:

brake fluid reservoir  

  1. Find your brake fluid reservoir (see above for reference)
  2. Check the condition of your brake fluid. It should be translucent and light brown/yellowish in colour.
  3. If you need to top up your brake fluid, make sure you work quickly. Remember, if you leave the cap off your brake fluid reservoir or the bottle for too long, the air will contaminate the fluid.

 

How Do I Know When I 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. This could indicate a leak.

  If you notice any of these issues during your check, you should book a brake fluid change as soon as possible. Avoid driving your vehicle as much as you can because your brakes may be ineffective.  

 

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How Long Does a Brake Fluid Change Take?

A brake fluid replacement should take around 15-30 minutes for an experienced professional.  

How Often Should I Change Brake Fluid?

You should change your brake fluid every 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Some manufacturers may recommend more regular brake fluid changes. However, this all depends on the type of brake fluid your car uses. Check your vehicle handbook for more specific advice.  

oily male mechanic opening brake fluid resevoir in car engine bay while vehicle is sat in dark garage

Let a professional change your brake fluid every 2 years to ensure it is in its best condition

If you don't notice any problems during your check, you might think your brake fluid can last longer than 2 years. *Spoiler* this isn't the case. The fluid gains moisture on a microscopic level, so it's almost impossible to see the deterioration. Stick to the 2-year interval no matter what.  

Which Brake Fluid For My Car?

There are four types of brake fluid: DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5 & DOT 5.1 (as shown in the boiling point table earlier in the article). Your vehicle's handbook will tell you what type of brake fluid your car needs. DO NOT mix and match brake fluids. Your car is designed to run on only one type of brake fluid, so you can cause severe problems if you get it wrong.     Different types of brake fluid bottle.   Most modern cars use DOT 4, DOT 3 and DOT 5.1 brake fluid, with DOT4 being the most common. DOT 5 is a silicone-based brake fluid that should only be used in certain cases. It's designed for use in brake systems which are likely to contain moisture. This includes classic cars which spend most of their time in the garage and vehicles which need non-petroleum-based fluid. If you're unsure which brake fluid you need, don't guess. Book a brake fluid replacement at one of our UK garages today. That way, you know that your vehicle receives the best treatment and the correct brake fluid.

 

Compare instant prices for your brake fluid replacement and book with a garage near you

 

Recap

A brake fluid change is a great way to take care of your family and your car. Without good quality brake fluid, you won't be able to stop your car properly. Brake fluid provides the pressure which drives the slave cylinder onto the brake pads, slowing your vehicle down. When you compare instant prices through BookMyGarage, you'll find the average brake fluid change cost to be £53.90. It only takes an experienced mechanic 15-30 minutes to complete, so save yourself time, money and stress today. You should book a brake fluid replacement every 2 years or 24,000 miles, regardless of condition. If your car needs one now, enter your reg and postcode to compare instant prices and book in seconds.