Symptoms of Low Brake Fluid: How to Check and Refill Your Car’s Brake Fluid

Low brake fluid levels can be dangerous, and often lead to larger problems if the issue is hat’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with low brake fluid symptoms. Being able to act quickly when you recognize these symptoms could save you from ending up in a much more serious predicament down the road – or even worse, an accident on the highway! In this post, you will get to know about some of the common low brake fluid symptoms so you can stay one step ahead.

Let’s dive in.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Brake Fluid?

Neglecting fresh brake fluid in your vehicle can cause a huge headache down the line. While storing brake fluid is necessary, it should be swapped out every two years due to moisture absorbency. As brake fluid absorbs moisture, air bubbles start to form and can make the brakes less effective, requiring you to press harder on the pedal. Not recalling when you last changed your brake fluid may also create problems with control over your vehicle during turns or emergency braking scares. Alleviate these issues by replacing brake fluid when suggested for ultimate safety and peace of mind.

Symptoms of Low Brake Fluid

Being aware of low or dirty brake fluid symptoms will help you take action immediately and ensure safety down the road. Here are the common symptoms:

1.      The Antilock Braking System Light is On

Seeing your brake, or ABS light come on can be alarmingly disconcerting. This could mean that your car has low brake fluid. It’s important to address this warning signal immediately; check your brake fluid and, if necessary, have it replaced to ensure your car is safe to drive. Take care of your vehicle with speedy attention and help avoid any long-term complications.

2.      Leaking Brake Fluid

When you spot brake fluid puddles underneath your car, it is an indication that the brake fluid levels are low and require refilling. Low brake fluid causes brakes to become less responsive, leading to possible issues of delays in braking that can be dangerous. Hence, regularly check the level of brake fluid in your car and replace or top up when needed.

3.      Malfunctioning Brake Pedal

If you pay attention, your brake pedal failing can be an important sign when it comes to your car’s brake fluid level. This is because a low brake fluid level will make it difficult for the pedal to function correctly and give you proper braking power. Paying attention and regularly checking up on your brake fluid levels could save you from a serious emergency situation – so make sure to keep an eye out for any signs of potential failure.

4.      Noisy Braking System

The braking system is an important part of your car and when it starts to make loud noises, you know something is wrong. This could mean that your brake fluid levels are lower than they should be which can lead to decreased performance and even cause you to lose control while driving. Regularly maintaining the level of your brake fluid is essential in ensuring your brakes operate correctly and safely.

5.      Distinctive Pungent Smell from the Braking System

If your car is giving off a pungent smell, it could be a sign that your vehicle’s brake fluid is low. This smell combined with possibly hearing a dragging sound when you apply your brakes, could mean it’s time to inspect or refill the brake fluid reservoir. Low brake fluid can lead to decreased braking performance, so get the issue checked out as soon as possible.

6.      Car Vibrating While Driving

Odd vibrations when pressing the brakes may indicate that the brake fluid levels are too low for your car to function properly and safely. While it is normal for the braking system to consume fluid throughout its lifespan, it shouldn’t use a significant amount during normal usage. Get your brake fluid checked regularly to ensure optimal performance and safety while driving.

7.      Squealing Brakes

If your brakes are squealing louder than usual, it could be an indication that you’re running low on fluid. Get the fluid topped up soon; your car’s brakes need to be reliable and safe to drive. Don’t wait until it’s too late – listen to what your car is telling you and get professional attention if you are not sure how to inspect or top up the fluid yourself.

Tips to Check Brake Fluid

Maintaining the brakes on your car is essential for a safe drive, so it’s important to stay on top of checking your brake fluid level.

  • To begin, identify the reservoir – this can be found on the master cylinder under the hood. If you’re having difficulty, don’t worry – check your owner’s manual for assistance. 
  • The reservoir should have “minimum” and “maximum” lines that show you an indication of when it needs topping up or replacing. 
  • In addition, examine the color of the fluid too. If it’s dark brown or black, with an oily texture to it, that means it’s time for a brake fluid flush. 

Stay vigilant in monitoring your brake fluid and you’ll be able to take necessary steps when needed.

Tips to Refill Your Car’s Brake Fluid

To refill your car’s brake fluid, follow this step-by-step guide:

  • Make sure the car is parked on a flat surface.
  • Check whether the cap of the brake fluid reservoir is clean or not. If it is dirty, clean it properly.
  • After removing the cap, check the fluid inside. If it is filled with debris or in dark color, you need to immediately visit a nearby workshop for brake fluid change.
  • You can fill the reservoir with fluid slowly and carefully. 
  • After the fluid level reaches the maximum fill mark, screw the cap back on. 

Don’t forget to have a short test drive. Then again park the vehicle on a flat surface and check the fluid level to be sure of whether the whole refilling process has successfully been done.

Is It Right to Drive A Car with Low Brake Fluid?

Driving with low brake fluid is not only dangerous, but it can also damage your car. The brakes play an integral role in how safe your vehicle is when you’re driving – they help reduce speed and stop the car altogether. Keeping them functioning properly should never be taken lightly. You may think it’s ok to put off refilling the brake fluid for a little while because your brakes are still working, but doing this could cost you dearly in the long run. Take a few seconds every now and again to check that all of your fluids are at an appropriate level and always make sure the brakes are given the necessary attention whenever needed.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Brake Fluid Replaced?

It’s no secret that brake fluid replacement can be expensive. The cost to replace can largely depend on the type of vehicle being serviced. Typically, you would need to consider both parts and labor when calculating cost. If you opt for a brake fluid flush, expect to pay more than just a simple exchange service, as the mechanic will have to take time to thoroughly clean out old dirty brake fluid from the entire system. That said, pricing varies depending on your location and type of car you own. Make sure to contact a local certified automotive technician near you for an accurate estimate of what it will cost to get your brakes bled and flushed with fresh new fluid.

Final thoughts,

If you are experiencing any sign of low brake fluid, don’t hesitate to get your car to a mechanic as soon as possible. These problems will not go away on their own and could result in serious damage to your vehicle if left unchecked. Be sure to check your brake fluid levels regularly to avoid these issues altogether.


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