The Best Brake Fluid for Your Car: Top 5 Picks and More
Maintaining a car isn’t just about taking it to the car wash to have it cleaned nor bringing it to your mechanic to have it checked. It takes a lot of responsibility to keep and maintain your own vehicle. It entails a lot of decisions and proper care especially since you are relying on it to get you to places.
As a car owner, your job is to make sure that your vehicle is working properly to ensure that you and your passengers are safe on the road. This also includes making sure you are feeding your car the right kind of gas, fuel, and the best brake fluid. Make sure your car gets the proper maintenance and repair needed.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How Does a Brake Fluid Work?
First, it is important to know the main function of a Brake fluid. A Brake fluid is used in the clutch and brake systems in cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even some bicycles. It converts the force into pressure in order for your vehicle to stop.
A brake fluid transmits hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder to the slave cylinders in each wheel. Once you press your foot down the brake pedal the hydraulic pressure is transferred through the metal brake lines.
Types of Brake Fluid
There are three main types of brake fluid which include the following:
- Silicon based
The US government has segregated ratings for these brake fluids based on specifications from the DOT or Department of Transportation.
- DOT 2 (oil-based) - This is rarely used in the auto industry and has technically the lowest wet and dry boiling points among all types of brake fluid.
- DOT 3, 4, and 5.1 (glycol-based) - Since all three are glycol-based, they are compatible to one another. Most vehicles manufactured before the year 2006 is specified as DOT 3 while those produced after are considered as DOT 4 rated.
- DOT 5 (silicon based) - This brake fluid is not compatible with other types. The fluid is hydrophobic which can’t be mixed with water. Since DOT 5 is silicon based, it doesn’t damage paint, unlike glycol-based fluids.
What Should You Look For in a Brake Fluid
There are government organizations that have set certain standards and requirements for brake fluid in order to ensure the product is safe for use. They are also classified into different categories and ratings. However, certain cities who experience various temperature and humidity do not adhere to these rules.
All brake fluids are required by the US government to appear colorless or amber with the exception of DOT 5 which comes in purple. Today, most autos are using DOT 3 (glycol-based) or DOT 5 (silicon based).
Characteristics Of a Brake Fluid
When buying a brake fluid for your vehicle, make sure is has these characteristics in order to make sure that it functions properly. These include the following:
Brake fluids are required to maintain a low level of compressibility even with varying points of temperature and pressure to be able to work in different environmental conditions. Once a brake fluid is low, the master cylinder is activated and generates pressure through the hydraulic system.
If the brake fluid is compressed too much, the master cylinder may not be able to produce enough pressure to trigger the brakes of your car. It is also important to maintain a consistent feel of the brake pedal.
This may be considered as the most important characteristic of a brake fluid because it has the tendency to get hot because of the heat transfer from the brakes. Brake fluids are constantly exposed to very high temperatures. If your brake fluid reaches a boiling point, it can cause failure.
Minimum Boiling Point Specification
401 Deg F (205 Deg C)
284 Deg F (140 Deg C)
446 Deg F (230 Deg C)
311 Deg F (155 Deg C)
500 Deg F (260 Deg C)
356 Deg F (180 Deg C)
518 Deg F (270 Deg C)
374 Deg F (190 Deg C)
Based on government standards, there are minimum boiling points for each type of brake fluid including both wet and dry points. A wet boiling point refers to the boiling point after absorbing moisture.
A dry boiling point, on the other hand, refers to the boiling temperature of a new and unopened container of brake fluid. Oil-based fluids have the lowest boiling points while the highest boiling points consists of silicon based fluids.
Once moisture enters the system, it can cause corrosion. Brake fluids are always in contact with metal mechanisms including, master cylinders, brake lines, and other components.
These components should avoid corrosion. It can sometimes affect cars that are using glycol-based brake fluid since it has the ability to absorb moisture.
It is important that the viscosity of a brake fluid remains in a consistent level even in varying temperatures. The viscosity may change depending on whether the temperature is hot or cold or how often you use your vehicle.
Maximum Viscosity at minus 40 Deg C
If the viscosity changes significantly, the brake system may not work properly. The viscosity is important especially since it affects the anti-lock braking system, stability, and traction control.
Best Brake Fluid Reviews for Your Car
We gathered the 5 best brake fluid available in the market to help you pick the most suitable one for your vehicle.
This glycol-based brake fluid is designed for fast cars and high-performance driving. It has a dry boiling point of 536 degrees Fahrenheit and a wet boiling point of 374 degrees Fahrenheit which is suitable for street driving. This fluid is also compatible and can mix well with most DOT3, DOT4 or DOT 5.1 fluids.
If you don’t want to skimp on the quality, the ATE TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid may be a great choice for you. You may need to shell out a couple more bucks but you get value for your money.
- This brake fluid is compatible with most modern braking systems and is made of high-quality fluid.
- It has a minimal drop in boiling point because of its excellent water binding properties. This means that your brake fluid can last longer and can even last you up to three years under normal driving standards.
- The brake fluid is flushed less frequently which makes it appropriate for city driving.
- It meets and exceeds the SAE or Society of Automotive Engineers and DOT 4 standards making it very safe to use.
- Since it is packed in a stable steel container, you can easily pour it down without making a mess.
- It is much more expensive compared to other brands of brake fluid.
- The fluid tends to melt everything it gets in contact with.
This synthetic brake fluid is designed for modern vehicles and is suitable for systems with disc, drum, and ABS brakes. It exceeds DOT 3 standards and complies with the SAE and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
The Prestone DOT 3 Synthetic Brake Fluid does a neat job on your vehicle. You can almost instantly feel the difference after you replace your old fluid. It performs well and yet it won’t burn any hole in your pocket. Plus, it comes from a reliable and reputable brand.
- This hi-temp brake fluid provides an extra margin of protection for boiling points.
- It ensures that the hot brake system does not generate damaging vapor.
- This produces high-power brakes especially when needed. You don’t have to worry about sudden brakes in case of an emergency. No spongy pedal.
- This synthetic brake fluid is safe to operate and is compatible with many modern vehicles.
- Once you change your old brake fluid, you may notice a significant positive change in the feel of the brake pedal. It feels softer and more fluid.
- There is a tendency for the brake fluid to leak in its container.
The Motul RBF600 is a high-performance poly glycol brake fluid which exceeds the DOT 4 standards. Since each bottle is packed with nitrogen, it prolongs the shelf-life without contracting any contaminants as long as it is factory sealed. It is made of 100% synthetic fluid designed for hydraulic-actuated brake and clutch systems.
The Motul RBF600 Synthetic DOT 4 Brake Fluid It combines both high-performance and great value for all kinds of drivers. You can use it on your daily ride to work at the same time it is quite suitable for track drivers too. It has a reliable and efficient stopping power.
- It prevents vapor lock and brake fade especially during heavy use and it also has great recovery time.
- This brake fluid is manufactured to resist high temperatures and is equipped with an extreme thermal resistance and stability.
- You can rely on the efficiency of the brake system even under extreme temperature and condition.
- If you are driving in heavy rain or in case your system experiences a vapor lock, the Motul RBF600 may just be the right brake fluid for you. It appears quite effective when faced with situations like this.
- There may be a tendency for the brake fluid to boil after driving fast around the track with multiple loops.
This brake fluid consistently maintains a high boiling point even under extreme operating conditions. Toyota manufactures its brake fluid with following the same high standard similar to the production of their vehicles. It also meets and exceeds the DOT 3 standards.
If you own a Toyota, then this should be a no-brainer for you. The Genuine Toyota Brake Fluid is produced by one of the best and most highly reputable car manufacturer so you now you can trust this brand. It provides optimum performance and does the job well.
- It is simply developed for hydraulic brake and clutch systems and minimizes vapor lock through its high boiling point.
- This brake fluid is manufactured by one of the top car makers to ensure you of a high-quality product.
- It provides superb protection against metal corrosion and leakage.
- This brake fluid is developed through professional performance and durability testing procedures.
- It also provides maximum protection of metal components.
- This product is too expensive as compared to other well-performing brake fluids.
The Castrol SRF is popularly used in both car and motorcycle racing. It is compatible with most braking systems that are used in various motorsports. Plus, it gives race car drivers a sense of a hard pedal feel. It exceeds the DOT 3 and 4 standards.
This exclusive European formula is designed for fast speeds and difficult braking conditions. Race car and motorcycle riders may find this as the ultimate brake fluid for racing. Street car racers may also find this suitable for their fast driven cars.
- It has a high dry boiling point which makes it appropriate for difficult braking conditions, particularly in racing.
- This fluid can sustain high vapor lock points.
- It is compatible with metal and rubber materials used in brake systems.
- You can easily convert the brake system to Castrol SRF and top it up with the React SRF Racing for optimum performance.
- It has the same viscosity as conventional brake fluids which is also easy to bleed.
- This fluid doesn’t appear as corrosive as other brake fluids.
- The price is quite expensive for most consumers.
After considering the factors and characteristics when choosing a brake fluid based on the low compressibility, boiling point, corrosion, and viscosity, we’ve come up with a final recommendation for car drivers. Out of the 5 best brake fluid in the market, our pick goes to the Motul RBF600 Synthetic DOT 4 Brake Fluid.
The Motul RBF600 is designed with a high-quality performance brake fluid. Though it may be on the expensive side, you cannot sacrifice quality over inexpensive but poor products. The RBF600 is not only for race car fanatics but you can also use it for city driving.
What’s great about this product is it can perform well under extreme weather and driving conditions. You can confidently rely on the braking system anytime, anywhere. As compared to the other 4 featured in this list, the Motul RBF600 is packed with better features and solid performance. We strongly recommend this product.