As your car’s most important safety feature, brakes deserve TLC. A cost-effective way to care for them is to check the brake fluid regularly. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t even think about this automotive essential until there’s a brake fluid leak. Let’s remedy that by explaining how to check brake fluid and make it part of your car care routine.
Why, When, and How to Check Brake Fluid
- Why do it? Regular checks are a great way to make sure you’re maintaining optimal fluid levels. This is crucial to brake responsiveness and, therefore, the safety of you, your passengers, and any pedestrian or vehicle you encounter on the road.
- When should you check? Most drivers know they should replace their brake fluid every two or three years, as typically recommended in their vehicle owner’s manual. Given the importance of properly working brakes, the experts at Jiffy Lube® suggest that you give your brake fluid a visual check every three or four months, more often if you live in a region with high humidity (moisture can affect the chemistry and volume of brake fluid).
- How to check brake fluid? You have two choices: You can do it yourself or leave it to the pros at Jiffy Lube.
Option 1: How to Check Brake Fluid Yourself
Before you roll up your sleeves and get started, remember these are general guidelines. Please refer to your owner’s manual for specifics about your vehicle.
- First, locate the brake fluid reservoir under the hood, on the master cylinder. Check your owner’s manual if you need help finding it.
- Check the brake fluid level against the “maximum” and “minimum” lines on the exterior of the reservoir. If you see the brake fluid is at or near the “minimum line,” it’s time to have your brakes inspected. Don’t wait for your next regularly scheduled oil change. Contact Jiffy Lube at your earliest convenience.
- Examine the color and clarity of your brake fluid. Freshly poured brake fluid is typically clear with a hint of green/blue or yellow/orange. As the additives wear out and the fluid ages, it can darken. If the brake fluid looks murky, it may be contaminated. That’s another sign that you should bring your car to Jiffy Lube, where a trained technician can perform a complete brake fluid inspection, including testing for moisture and additive package strength.
If you see warning signs during this check — like a dip in fluid level or murky fluid — please don’t ignore them. Failure to respond could leave you with brake system issues and an expensive repair bill.
Option 2: Visit your local Jiffy Lube and Have Your Brake Fluid Checked
We get it: DIY may not be your thing. So, bring your car to any of our 2,000+ Jiffy Lube locations and let a trained technician check your brake fluid. During the service visit:
- Expect to be asked about your driving style. For example, do you often haul heavy loads? Or travel through hills or mountains? Are you regularly stuck in traffic? Extra weight, downhill driving, and stop-and-go traffic can be hard on your brakes and have an impact on brake fluid efficiency and longevity.
- The technician will inspect the brake fluid, test it for additive package strength (also known as the copper test) and moisture content.
- The inspection results will be presented to you, and your questions will be welcome. If service is required, it will be performed (with your approval) and quality Pennzoil® products will be used (where applicable).
It’s Jiffy Lube’s Job to Help Make Sure Your Brakes Are Doing Theirs
If you suspect your brake fluid is low or the brake warning indicator is illuminated, pay attention! It could mean a brake fluid leak, or maybe your brake pads require replacement. Bring your car, truck, SUV, or minivan to Jiffy Lube before you experience a reduction in brake performance.