The brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that is needed to carry out the operation of your braking system. Brake fluid works by utilizing hydraulic pressure to the calipers when you apply pressure on the brake pedal. Brake fluid can withstand high pressures and high temperatures to stop your car. However, this solution is just as important as any other fluids or oil in your vehicle and requires maintenance.
To answer the question of the blog title: NO - brake fluids are not universal. There are two main bases of brake fluid available on the market: glycol-based brake fluids and silicone-based brake fluids. Each type of brake solution also has varying characteristics such as color, price, and temperature-resistant properties. Numbers characterize them; Here are the five common types of brake fluid and their qualities:
DOT 3 - DOT 3 brake fluid is a glycol-based brake solution. It is yellow or amber in color, and it has the weakest boiling point of all brake fluids.
DOT 4 - Most foreign automobiles use DOT 4 brake fluid. It is glycol-based but has a higher boiling point than DOT 3. Additionally, it has more additives than DOT making it sit at a higher price point.
DOT 5 - DOT 5 has a different formulation and is a silicone-based brake fluid. It is a purple color, and it costs similarly to DOT 4. It has a high boiling point, but it doesn't absorb water like other types of brake fluid because of silica. You should avoid mixing DOT 5 with any other brake fluid.
DOT 5.1 - DOT 5.1 brake fluid is glycol-based, and it is light honey to clear in color. It is most comparable to DOT 4 brake fluid; however, it can meet DOT 5 regulations.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to always inspect your brake fluid and top it up when it is low. Running on too low of this liquid can compromise your safety and disable your brakes. You should always follow the recommended brake fluid change interval set by your car's manufacturer. And most importantly, ensure you are utilizing the correct brake fluid. If you are uncertain of which DOT your vehicle needs, you can always find it in your owner's manual. If you require brake fluid services, please call or visit Fast Lane European! We are a specialty auto shop specializing in European makes.