Time delay in the vehicle braking system is an exigent issue that every vehicle owner encounters quite often. Apart from that, sometimes you may feel the brake pedal of your car is not firm like before. You have examined the brake rotor, brake calipers, and brake pads but everything is hunky-dory. So, what’s the matter?
The issue lies in the brake fluid, an incompressible fluid that transmits the force you apply on the brake pedal passing the master cylinder to the wheel hub. Every car owner should check the Brake fluid color and amount in the reservoir with a vigilant eye.
Many pertinacious sellers are teeming out there to get you the best brake fluid replacement. It is very essential to examine the veracity of the unctuous features of brake fluids that they promise to provide.
Our Top Picks of Best Brake Fluids
In this portion of the article, we have sorted out the best out of the best brake fluids available out there. We tried to evaluate the pros and cons of each of them based on consumer reviews. This will effectively narrow down your search list and hopefully save your time. Let’s have a look.
1. Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid
First, we will start our list with Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid, introduced by Bosch which is a prestigious Brand for automotive components. It offers a recommended change interval of three years. It is a next-generation brake fluid that is compatible with today’s braking systems.
This brake fluid is praiseworthy in terms of compatibility. This is well manufactured to use with or to replace Dot 3, Dot 4, and Dot 5.1 grade of brake fluid. This works as a great replacement, as it is 100% than Dot 3, 50% than DOT 4, and 10% long-lasting than DOT 5.1 with 30 % low viscosity. So, it effectively exceeds those standards.
Let’s talk about the crucial details. The wet boiling point is approximately 365°F/viscosity at -40°C ~ 670 /s. it efficiently combines high wet boiling point and low viscosity. So, it has a fast response and a low possibility of vapor formation.
This helps to decrease the brake fluid stoke that finally saves storage. The weight of the product is 2 pounds and the dimension is 2.75 x 3.44 x 7.32 inches.
Also, this Bosch brake fluid features excellent lubricity properties, the benefit of ES16, that efficiently prevents wear and tear as it reduces corrosion. So, as a result, there is reduced noise in the brake system.
- This brake fluid is not compatible with DOT 5.
- This includes Ethylene oxide, the cause of birth defects, cancer, and other reproductive harm.
2. Finish Line High-Performance DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid, 4-Ounce
Finish Line High-Performance Brake Fluid comes next on our picklist. Let me make it clear first that this particular brake fluid is manufactured especially for bicycle hydraulic disc brakes. This product is imported from the UK and no compromise is made with the quality.
This high-performance DOT 5.1 Brake fluid efficiently prevents overheating and foaming. Apart from providing maximum fluid life, it provides optimized braking performance even at low temperatures.
Also, you can mix this fluid with other DOT 5.1 brands, but you have to make sure first in this case that the other one is not old more than a year else, the outcome won’t be good.
In terms of compatibility, this brake fluid is compatible with all available today’s brake systems. This is because it applies to both the front and rear brake systems. Finish Line High-Performance Brake Fluid features leading-edge chemistry to offer excellent fluid.
If we talk about the specifications, the weight is 4.2 ounces with a dimension of 2 x 2 x 4 inches.
- This comes in a plastic Bottle so cannot fully prevent moisture.
- This brake fluid is not adequate for bleeding mountain bike brakes.
3. ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 Racing Quality DOT 4 Brake Fluid – 1 Liter
ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 Brake Fluid is featured to match the racing quality and this is a DOT 4-grade brake fluid. The fluid has an amber/gold color and it is shipped in a 1-liter metal container. So, it is easy to notice and clean for the color.
The dry boiling point of this brake fluid is 536°F and the wet boiling point is a minimum of 374°F. Thanks to the excellent water locking properties, this helps to provide a nominal reduction in boiling point.
In the time of bleeding and filling the brake system, this effectively avoids unwanted foaming. The selected additives are worth mentioning. These provide effective corrosion protection.
One thing that is quite impressive is that there is high safety tolerance offered against steam bubbles. This well lubricates the brake system to prevent corrosion and ensure long-lasting and reliable braking service.
The suggested brake changing interval is up to 3 years. If we mention the technical details, this brake fluid weighs around 9.7 ounces with a 6.3 x 4.52 x 6.27 inches dimension.
- One can is not adequate to flush completely.
- A fluid exchange between different grades is not recommended.
- This makes the clutch a little sticky.
4. Motul MTL100949 8068HL RBF 600 Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid
Next, we have Motul MTL100949 8068HL RBF 600 Brake Fluid, a non-silicon synthetic fluid. This brake fluid is of DOT 4 standard and it is manufactured by Motul, a unanimously recognized brand.
If you are looking for some heavy-performance fluid for your racing vehicle, then this one will completely cover your back. This is specially designed for a hydraulic actuated brake and clutch system and works splendidly in racing vehicles.
The main thing that hooked my attention is the high boiling point of this fluid. A high boiling point of 312°C or 594°F is featured by the manufacturer Motul.
Regardless of operating conditions, the brake oil pressure is always stable. At very high temperatures, this introduces maximum oil film resistance. This provides sufficient lubrication to keep away rust and corrosion.
Apart from introducing enhanced thermal resistance and stability, this racing brake fluid provides better aerodynamic performance. The output power is thus maximum for the decreased temperature and low volatility.
Now let’s mention some technical details. The exterior is machined. This is featured in a 500 ml bottle, so adequate for multiple times application.
- The bottle sometimes spills around for the design flaw.
- Compared to the price, the quantity is not enough.
5. Castrol 12509 Dot 4 Brake Fluid (12 Oz)
Castrol 12509 Dot 4 Brake Fluid is efficiently engineered with unique formulae to offer a splendid and optimum braking response that will suit modern high-temperature braking systems.
It is compatible with an extended variety of vehicle braking systems like 4-stroke, 2-stroke, V-twin motorcycles, Snowmobiles, and ATV/Scooters. If you are looking for something thrifty to fit in your low budget, then this brake fluid of Castrol will seal the deal.
The bright yellow color of the liquid makes it visually clear. The density of the liquid is 160g/ml at 20°C and the wet equilibrium reflux boiling point is SAE J1703 °C 155 min. Kinematic Viscosity is fixed at -40°C IP 71 mm²/s, typically 1200.
This Castrol brake fluid is of DOT4 standard which means it features a high boiling point. Also, it is designed to exceed DOT3 and DOT4 standards. So, it well mixes with other conventional brake fluids, which is a plus point for this.
Castrol features this reliable brake fluid in a 12 ounces container, which is satisfactory according to the price. If you have flushed the braking system or have a spongy feel, this brake fluid will come to action impressively. You can store the open bottle for up to 12 months.
- The packaging is poor with a broken seal and so fluid leaks or spills out of the bottle.
6. LUCAS OIL 10827 12 ounce Brake Fluid
Next, LUCAS OIL 10827 Brake Fluid comes up on our list. This is manufactured by one of the most iconic brands, LUCAS. This liquid is blended with polyethylene glycol ethers and additives. This is a DOT 4 standard brake fluid.
The manufacturing quality meets or exceeds the boiling point of 446°F, the minimum industry dry boiling point. Also, it validates the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 16 and SAE J1704 specifications.
The main plus point of this brake fluid is, it is well compatible with all braking system rubber components. So, you can use this both in the drum and disc brake system and clutch system. Apart from that, you can also mix it with other standard brake fluids.
Another thing is, this prevents seal hardening or softening. This features high-level protection against rust and corrosion. Also, this offers excellent lubricity to minimize vibration and noise.
Now let’s discuss some technical details of LUCAS OIL 10827 Brake Fluid. This liquid comes with a 12 ounces container. The dimension is 5.75 x 2.75 x 2.75 inches. It is featured with a machined exterior.
- No issues found so far for this model.
7. Finish Line High-Performance Mineral Oil Brake Fluid, 4 oz
Finally, we have got Finish Line Mineral Oil Brake Fluid, another brake fluid featured by Finish Line. This one is specially engineered to fit in bicycle hydraulic disc brakes. If you want to get the most out of your braking system, this brake fluid is a great choice.
Even at low temperatures, this brake fluid provides maximum fluid life and superior braking performance. Apart from these all, this prevents foaming and overheating. This works great in any mineral oil system. Also, this works fine on Shimano and Tektro braking system,
The main interesting thing is, this Finish Line brake oil is formulated with a low viscosity base oil that ensures a superior level of response, pad retraction, and offers a consistent braking performance through a full range of operating temperatures.
Now let’s talk about the specifications of Finish Line Mineral Oil Brake Fluid. The overall weight is 3.68 ounces with a dimension of 2 x 2 x 4 inches. The color of this mineral brake fluid is light green.
- The bottle tips and leaks fluid quite often so require careful storage.
Factors to Evaluate When Choosing a Brake Fluid
Many people consider brake fluids to be merely a liquid and judges all to be the same. But there are several factors that you need to scrutinize to make a thrifty purchase and extract the best out of it. Let’s go ahead and see those key factors.
As the high temperature is created frequently in braking systems, high boiling point ensures that this temperature will not affect the brake fluid easily. Manufacturers provide dry and wet boiling points in the specification or you can also assume it from the DOT level described next.
Wet boiling point is more crucial to consider and the brake fluids are featured with around 360-594°F wet boiling point according to grade. For frequent changing, dry boiling point consideration is more important.
A fixed viscosity of brake fluid should be maintained under various operating temperatures. This ensures the stability, traction, and anti-lock system is hunky-dory. That’s why viscosity is normally measured at 40 and 100 degrees Celsius. Brake fluids hold viscosity around 670-1500 /s. The lower viscosity of brake fluid is good as it ensures a fast response.
Grade of DOT is the most crucial factor in the case of brake fluids. Department of Transportation (DOT) standard gives an appraisal of the minimum wet boiling point and viscosity of the brake fluids. DOT 3 and DOT 4 are quite similar as they both are Polyethylene Glycol based. But DOT5 is a silicon and synthetic blend base.
DOT5 and DOT5.1 can’t be mixed with other types. Higher DOT level means higher Boiling point and lower viscosity. Car manufacturers recommend a particular DOT grade and it is recommended to follow that. Normal streetcars use DOT 3 fluids where high-performance racing or military cars imply DOT 4 or 5 brake fluid.
Moisture in the brake fluid causes corrosion of brake calipers or wheel cylinder that results in a leak. This moisture can harm the braking when it is heated with a tremendous temperature as this compresses the fluid. Or you can also encounter dreaded Vapor Lock.
Usually, braking systems are made of rubber, a porous surface. So, in times of rains, water can get into touch with the fluid. Also, under standard humidity levels, they can absorb moisture from the atmosphere. It is seen that silicon-based synthetic brake fluids offer more protection against moisture and they are perfect for driving on wet surfaces.
Container size indicates how much liquid you are going to get to flash the brake line. This is pretty much relevant to the price. Manufacturers provide brake fluids in around 4 to 34 ounces bottles. So, check if the price is justifying the amount they are providing. If the brake line is completely dry then you need a large amount of oil and purchase accordingly.
Corrosion and Rust Protection
If you do not choose the right brake fluid the result can be corrosion and rust that results ultimately in leakage and vibration. Also, paves the way for a noisy brake. So, carefully scrutinize the ingredients and check what the manufacturer is offering to provide extra corrosion and rust resistance. This is important also to protect rubber seals and paint works.
The main components of brake fluid are polyglycol, lubricants, and additives. Talking about the main ingredient that makes up 60-90%, most of the brake fluids are made of silicone or glycol base. For this check, if your car manufacturer recommends any specific oil-base. Lubricants hold 5-30% and additives are 2-3% of the fluid.
Most of the brake fluids promise to offer 2-3 years of lifespan. But you have to keep in mind that this is an average estimation. This depends on many other factors like driving style, car quality, type of track and so one. When the fluid turns into muddy black or brown liquid and you encounter a spongy braking pedal, this is the time you have to replace the fluid right away.
Many brands of brake fluid feature fluids that are compatible with other brands and DOT levels. This is beneficial as you will not need to completely drain the system. This is very helpful if the older liquid is not old enough and the braking issues are not severe.
Also, many brake fluids are designed to be compatible with a variety of braking systems like disc or drum brakes. This makes the fluid flexible and versatile to use.
Well, the color of the liquid is crucial too as this is important to notice right away to detect leakage or while draining. Bluish, amber/gold, bright yellow, light green colored brake liquids are commonly seen.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is the sign that brake fluid is low?
Ans: Low brake fluid makes the brake pedal spongy, lengthens the stoppage time and brake warning light comes on.
Q: How long brake fluids last on average?
Ans: An unopened container of brake fluid lats about 2 years in ideal conditions.
Q: What will happen if the brake fluid is hot?
Ans: There starts the formation of small air bubbles which leads to brake fade.
Q: Is it ok to add new brake fluid with the old one?
Ans: if the old fluid becomes muddy black or brown, you need to drain it and then replace it with the new brake fluid.
Brake fluids are one of the most overlooked components of your car, but yet has a very profound impact on safety. This is because brake fluids determine the reliability of the whole braking system. In this article, we have provided a lucid discussion on important factors of brake fluids and compiled some best brake fluids to assist you.
Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid and LUCAS OIL 10827 Brake Fluid is highly compatible and can mix well with other levels of fluid. Among DOT4 fluids, ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 Brake Fluid will do fine and also comes in insufficient amounts.
Once you have made sure that the brake fluid you have selected is compatible with the vehicle brake system and evaluated all other key factors, then go for it and solve the issues of the brake system right away.