Never ignore these 3 common symptoms of low brake fluid

Updated Feb 18, 2021 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

This could reduce the risk of you getting into an accident.

Many describe the braking system as one of the most important components in a car. They say that the braking system is as important as an engine. Without it, modern supercars that run over 300 km/h would be never be invented in the first place.

A braking system of a car is comprised of many parts. Brake fluids are responsible for transferring the energy you put on your car’s brake pedal to the brake pads and rotor. Unlike air, water is incompressible which makes brake fluids an ideal choice for applying pressure to brakes.

An engine bay

Replace brake fluids when needed to avoid accidents due to faulty braking system

The level of brake fluids, unfortunately, tend to get low over time which could cause some serious problem. As such, you should check your brake fluids frequently especially when it has shown low brake fluid symptoms that you need to replace them.

With that being said, here is everything you need to know when dealing with low brake fluid.

Symptom #1: Lack of braking power

As the symptom implies, this is probably something that you don’t want to encounter anytime in your daily driving. Low brake fluid will require you to step on your brake pedal further to achieve the desired braking power.

The reason for this symptom is that the pressure from the brake pedal couldn’t transfer entirely as it lacks brake fluids. As a result, you lose braking power. This is why you must know your car from top to bottom so when small changes occur, you will notice it.

Pedals of a car

Always get a feel of your brakes to know when to replace brake fluids

Part of this low brake fluid symptom is that you must pump the brake more than once so the braking power is restored. This will help displace the brake fluids to the brake pads and rotor more efficiently, hence giving you a stronger braking power. If you are encountering this, go to your local mechanic to get the system checked.

Symptom #2: Discolored fluid

Just like most systems that use fluid, discoloration is a huge sign that you need to replace them. The standard color of brake fluids is yellow. If it is starting to turn black and showing debris and dirt, then it could be that your brake fluids are due for replacement.

However, it is also important to note the date you decided to change your brake fluids. Some may be discolored but it could still run for months. The least time interval of changing brake fluids is every two years. Some cars go above the said interval especially when it is not used frequently.

Symptom #3: Low brake fluid light

Most of the time, when the low brake fluid lights illuminate on your instrument cluster, then it is time for you to replace them. This means that the sensor detected that there is an insufficient amount of brake fluids present in the brake system.

A man inspecting a car

Get your car checked when it is losing braking power

The low brake fluid light will not come off unless you take care of it as it comes with a float switch. So if it annoys you while driving, you might as well get it checked. Besides, the illuminated low brake fluid light is a strong indicator that you should replace for your safety.

>>> Related: Everything You Need To Know About Brake Fluid

3 common causes of illuminating low brake fluid

Worn Brake Pads

When the brake pads do not supply adequate pressure to the brake rotor, then it could be that it is worn already. This faulty situation will then translate to low brake fluid as you are required to push down on the brake pedals harder for the desired braking power.

Brake pads generally tend to last for a very long time thanks to advancements in technologies. The average mileage you need to register before changing your brake pads is 65,000 km, or around three to five years, depending on how frequently you use your car.

A rusted brake rotor

Replace other braking worn components as well to achieve the desired braking power

If you already surpass these numbers and your car is showing you that the brake fluid is low, then you might want to replace the brake pads first before trying other options. To be sure of the cause, you can visit your local shops so they can assess your low brake fluid problem.

Leakage in the System

If there is a leakage in your braking system, then it will lose brake fluids which are responsible for applying pressure to compress the brake pads and rotor. The fewer the amount of brake fluids in your car’s braking system, the lesser the braking power will be.

There are many factors as to why leakage happens in a braking system of a car. One of the common factors is that the components wear over time. Once it is worn, it could create an exit port for brake fluids which automatically illuminates the low brake fluid.

Corroded Brake Line

If your brake lines are corroded, then brake fluids will have a harder time reaching the brake pads and rotor. The sensor will send out a signal that your brake fluid is low since the braking system is not applying enough pressure for the intended braking power.

A man driving down a highway

Keep your braking system in good condition for a more convenient driving experience

With all that being said, brake fluids must be checked at all times. With a well-maintained braking system, you can save not only your life but also your passengers and other motorists on the road.

Brake Fluid: FAQs

Q: What is brake fluid?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that helps compress the brake pads and rotor together when the brake pedal is applied.

Q: What is the color of brake fluids?

The standard color of brake fluids is yellow.

Q: How long do brake pads last?

Brake pads tend to last for 65,000 km, but it could be more or less depending on how you drive your car.

Q: How much is brake fluid in the Philippines?

The price varies depending on the grade and quality. The average price ranges from Php 200 to Php 800.

Q: How long do brake fluids last?

The answer depends on how frequently you use your car and its braking system. But on average, brake fluids tend to last for two years.

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Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.


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