Posted under Car Fluids

Let’s jump straight to the point: How much does a brake fluid change cost? The price tag can fluctuate based on several factors, including your vehicle's make and model, the type of brake fluid used, and the level of complexity involved in the process. If you own a luxury vehicle or one equipped with intricate brake systems, brace yourself for a potentially higher cost. Moreover, if your vehicle requires the use of Department Of Transportation (DOT) 5 brake fluid, expect to spend more compared to DOT 3 or DOT 4 alternatives. Feeling a bit lost amidst all these technical terms? No worries, we've got you covered!
Let’s take a look at what brake fluid does, the types of brake fluids available, and when to change your brake fluid.

What Does Brake Fluid Do?

Ever wonder how you can stop a 4,000-pound vehicle that’s going over 60 miles per hour? Brake fluid plays an integral role in that process. Here’s how it works:

  • Pressing down on the brake pedal creates hydraulic pressure in the master cylinder, which stores the brake fluid.
  • The master cylinder sends the pressurized brake fluid through the brake lines and hoses to the caliper pistons. 
  • The caliper pistons squeeze the brake pads against the rotors, which applies friction to the wheels. 
  • The resulting friction will slow down or stop the vehicle, depending on the level of pressure applied to the brake pedal.

During operation moisture can condense in the braking system. Brake fluid is hygroscopic which helps it absorb moisture, lowering its boiling point and accelerating possible braking failure.
Additionally, brake fluid lubricates moving parts inside the braking system and helps prevent corrosion.

The Different Types of Brake Fluid

The DOT classifies brake fluid using a number between 3 and 5.1. The higher the number, the greater its ability to withstand high temperatures and deliver greater performance. There are two popular types of brake fluids available:

  • Glycol-based (DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1): These fluids are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb water over time. Glycol-based brake fluid is often used in performance cars with anti-lock brake systems (ABS).
  • Silicone-based (DOT 5): This fluid is hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t absorb water. Silicone-based brake fluids are typically used in vehicles with hydraulic braking systems without ABS technology.

So, what’s the right brake fluid for your vehicle? When you check your brake fluid, look for a DOT number embossed on the brake fluid reservoir cap. If you see the DOT number, that’s the fluid your vehicle needs! If not, refer to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer recommendation.

When to Change Brake Fluid

You should always check your owner’s manual and follow your manufacturer’s recommendations. Yes, we sound like a broken record, but nobody knows your vehicle better than the people who made it! Some manufacturers may suggest changing your brake fluid every two years or every 24,000 miles, while others may recommend every three years or 36,000 miles. 

Over time, the additives in brake fluid wear out and can become contaminated with moisture, affecting the chemistry of the brake fluid and negatively impacting brake performance. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it might be time to change your brake fluid:

  • Spongy, mushy, or soft brake pedal
  • Ineffective braking performance
  • ABS dash light illuminating
  • Odd noises or smells when braking


Visit Your Local Jiffy Lube for a Brake Fluid Exchange

Don’t put your brakes on the back burner! If left untreated, contaminated brake fluid can lead to internal corrosion and rust in your brake lines, calipers, and other brake components that may cost several hundred (or thousand) dollars to replace.
Count on Jiffy Lube® to help keep your brake system working efficiently and safely with a brake fluid exchange. The trained technicians will inspect the brake fluid and test it for additive package strength and moisture content. If your vehicle needs new brake fluid and you give us a thumbs up, the team will drain and properly dispose of your used brake fluid. Then, they’ll replace it with fresh brake fluid that meets or exceeds your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.


a Jiffy Lube employee is talking with a customer about their brake fluid exchange

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.