Fall Auto DIY Project #3, Part 3
We are back at it again with our 5 simple Fall Auto DIY projects. (Fall Auto DIY Project #1 is here, #2 is here, #3 part 1 is here, #3 part 2 is here in case you missed them) Today we are featuring the last installment of the Fall Auto DIY Project #3, checking your brake fluid. Remember that the entire braking system is obviously vital to your vehicle always, but it becomes even more important as the cold weather approaches i.e. snow, sleet, hail, etc. As your brakes wear, it is normal for the fluid to go down slightly. But, if it seems like there is a significant decrease when you check this fluid level it could be a sign of a bigger issue– a leak or another problem with the braking system. So, that is why it is important to be able to check on the brake fluid yourself and we are giving you the empowerment with the following easy steps.
How to Check Your Brake Fluid
Pop the Hood. Most newer model vehicles will have a hood release found on under the driver’s side dashboard. So, pull the release lever and then walk around the front of the car, reach under the hood, find the latch and squeeze it. As you squeeze the latch, open the hood. NOTE: Make sure you start out with a cool engine. Starting with a cool engine eliminates any chance of getting burned by a hot engine block. Also, make sure you have your vehicle parked on a level surface to aid in getting an accurate reading.
Locate the Master Cylinder. Generally it is located in the back of the engine bay on the driver’s side of your vehicle. Once you have found the master cylinder it will be easy to identify the brake fluid reservoir as it is right above it. If you are still unsure of where it is, check your owner’s manual for the precise location of the brake fluid reservoir.
Check the Fluid Level. You will notice 2 labels on the reservoir for “min” and “max” on the side. The brake fluid should be between those 2 labels. If it is not you need to add brake fluid until it reaches that level. Before you add fluid we recommend cleaning the exterior of the reservoir because the braking system is extremely sensitive. Any foreign substances that may fall in can clog or degrade the braking system components, so cleaning it before opening up the reservoir will eliminate that issue. When adding brake fluid, do so carefully and slowly while making sure to wipe up any and all spills as brake fluid is toxic and corrosive. NOTE: Only add the brake fluid with the DOT specification that is listed within your owner’s manual. There are 3 main specifications: DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5; each having it’s own properties.
Close up Shop. Make sure you close the cap properly on the reservoir and that you close up your hood and hear it latch.
Other Things to Consider:
If your brake fluid is low you should have your brakes inspected for excessive wear.
It is possible to have a full brake fluid reservoir and not have brake fluid reaching the master cylinder. If your brakes feel spongy with a full reservoir bring your vehicle into Academy Ford and we can check it out for you.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below.