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Answering All Your Car Questions

Check your car's brake fluid yourself

By Jakob Jelling

If you like doing things yourself and save time from taking your car to a mechanic, you will find it useful to learn how to check brake fluid. It is very important that your car's brake fluid is always correct since your brakes functioning might depend on it. Whether you do it yourself or you take it to a mechanic, you should try to check your car’s brake fluid regularly.

The first thing you should do before checking your car's brake fluid is to find the brake master cylinder. You should look for this cylinder near the back of the engine and towards the driver's side, in line with the area where the brake pedal ends. If you can not find it, you might find some help on your car’s owner manual.

If you have never seen a brake master cylinder, you should look for a metallic piece of rectangular shape which has a reservoir, a cup made of rubber on its top and tubes coming from it. If you are going to touch it or try to remove it, you should be careful not to touch brake fluid since it is highly toxic.

Nowadays, cars' brake master cylinders come with transparent reservoirs which allow checking the brake fluid without having to move it. These brake master cylinder reservoirs have a line indicating where the fluid should end, allowing you to easily check it. You just need to see if the brake fluid reaches the line, without worrying about how to look into it.

On the other hand, if your car is from the 80s or earlier and your brake master cylinder reservoir is dark, you will have to take its top off with the help of a screwdriver. If you find out that your brake fluid doesn't reach the correct level, you should add more of it until it does, but always remember being very careful while handling this fluid and clean it quickly in case it is spilled. If you find that the reservoir is almost empty, you should take the car to a mechanic to check it since it could be something wrong.