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Do you need to change your brake fluid?

You tend to see the discs or the calipers but all the rest of the kit is safely tucked away. Making it all work correctly is the humble brake fluid or as we call it here; brake oil. If this doesn’t work right, you’re not slowing down. It’s as simple as that. But how do you if you need to change the fluid and if yes, then when?

For Malaysia and cars in the equatorial climate, a brake oil change is a must every so often. Humidity means water and water in the brake lines is a disaster waiting to happen. But the car makers are very vague about the whole thing.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, says brake fluid should be replaced every two years or 32,000km, and Volkswagen says that should be done on most of its models every two years regardless of mileage. Subaru recommends fresh brake fluid every 48,000km .

On the other hand, most Chevrolets can go  240,000km or 10 years, according to Chevy's maintenance schedule, and many Ford, Chrysler and Toyota vehicles do not list brake fluid as a regular maintenance item.

Check your car's owner's manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. And you can discuss changing your brake fluids with your friendly local BC Tyre & Battery Services Sdn Bhd.

Brake Fluid Facts

Keep these general facts in mind while handling brake fluid:

  • Never use DOT 5 brake fluid in a vehicle designed for DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluids.
  • It is ok to use DOT 4 fluid in a vehicle that requires DOT 3, but not vice-versa.
  • NEVER substitute any other fluid for brake fluid.
  • Wash your hands immediately after coming in contact with brake fluid. It eats paint, so imagine what it'll do to skin!

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