Brake Fluid Color Guide

It’s a confusing, but very interesting subject to talk about the Brake Fluid Color. But it’s not so complicated as most of us think that it is. When you are changing your brake pads or just doing regular maintenance, don’t forget to pay attention to your brake fluid color. Let’s see when it can be bad.

What Color is Brake Fluid Supposed to Be?

A new bottle of brake fluid should look almost clear with a little bit of yellow color to it. All brake fluids are nearly the same color. Even after 5 years, the brake fluid color should look the same clear when you decided to pour it into the brake reservoir.

On the picture below it’s an excellent example of bad brake fluid. Most probably it wasn’t changed at least for 5 years or more. It has a very dark color such as used motor oil. Time by time the fluid color gets darker and darker can be dark brown or black, which is horrible brake fluid color.

What to Do If Your Brake Fluid Color is Dark

If you see that your brake fluid has dark brown to black, you need to flush it out and to put new fluid. The color change means that it has been collecting all the dirtiness from the braking system and can be even water in it.

If you drive normally and break normally, most probably you will not have a bad brake fluid, it can happen in very rare situations only, but if you drive in a high speed and brake suddenly, which may bring you to the brake failure, or even to brake fade, which can cause to bad brake fluid.

It doesn’t mean that bad brake fluid will damage your car, but after some time it can cause to deteriorate the rubber seals in the master cylinder and calipers. Because all of these you will notice brake system failure and a fluid leak in it.

Just, when doing regular maintenance of your vehicle, don’t forget to check brake fluid color as well, if it’s needed, replace it on time!

For more information about brake components, read our articles: “What is Brake Fade?” , “Brake Kits” , “Disc brake guidelines” , “Brake Warning Indicator Lamp on” , "How to replace brake pads?" .


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