The Ultimate Guide On How to Check Brake Fluid in 7 Simple Steps

Routine maintenance of your vehicle’s brake system is crucial for your safety on the road. One essential aspect of this maintenance is checking and maintaining the brake fluid level. In this guide, we will walk you through the simple steps to check your car’s brake fluid, ensuring that your brakes continue to operate effectively. Additionally, we will discuss the importance of regular brake fluid changes and the role of brake fluid in your vehicle’s braking system.

At Stonum Automotive, your trusted auto repair center in Longmont, we understand the significance of proper brake maintenance and are dedicated to providing comprehensive brake repair services to keep you safe on the road. Let’s dive into the process of checking your car’s brake fluid and explore the valuable insights related to brake fluid maintenance.

Understanding the Basics: What Is Brake Fluid?

Before we delve into the process of checking your car’s brake fluid, let’s begin with understanding what brake fluid is and its critical role in your vehicle. Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that transfers force from the brake pedal to the braking components, allowing your vehicle to slow down or come to a stop when necessary. It operates under high pressure and temperature, making it an integral part of your vehicle’s braking system.

How Often to Change Brake Fluid

Over time, brake fluid can absorb moisture, become contaminated, and degrade, losing its effectiveness. This necessitates regular inspection and periodic replacement of the brake fluid. As a general recommendation, it’s advisable to have your brake fluid changed approximately every 30,000 miles or as specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. At Stonum Automotive in Longmont, we offer professional brake fluid change services to ensure the optimal performance of your vehicle’s braking system.

Characteristics of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is designed to operate under high pressure and temperature conditions within the braking system. It must maintain its integrity and consistency to effectively transmit force from the brake pedal to the brake components. Additionally, brake fluid should have a high boiling point to prevent vapor lock, which can lead to a loss of braking power.

Types of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is available in different formulations denoted by Department of Transportation (DOT) ratings such as DOT 3, DOT 4, and DOT 5.1. Each type has specific characteristics and compatibility with different vehicle systems.

  • DOT 3: Commonly used in standard passenger vehicles with regular braking systems.
  • DOT 4: Suitable for vehicles with ABS (anti-lock braking system) and provides higher boiling points than DOT 3 fluid.
  • DOT 5.1: Designed for modern vehicles with advanced braking systems, it offers superior performance under extreme conditions.

Understanding the appropriate type of brake fluid for your vehicle is crucial to maintaining the effectiveness of the braking system.

Importance of Regular Brake Fluid Checks and Changes

Regular inspection and maintenance of brake fluid are essential for ensuring optimal brake performance and overall vehicle safety. Over time, brake fluid can absorb moisture, become contaminated, and degrade, leading to diminished braking efficiency. It is recommended to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the frequency of brake fluid changes, typically around every 30,000 miles or as specified in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Check Your Car’s Brake Fluid

Now, let’s walk through the straightforward process of checking your car’s brake fluid level in just seven simple steps.

Step 1: Park Your Vehicle on a Level Surface

Start by parking your vehicle on a flat, level surface to ensure accuracy when checking the brake fluid level.

Step 2: Open the Hood and Locate the Brake Fluid Reservoir

After safely parking your vehicle, open the hood and locate the brake fluid reservoir. It is typically located near the back of the engine compartment, close to the windshield.

Step 3: Inspect the Brake Fluid Reservoir

Carefully examine the brake fluid reservoir to identify the “minimum” and “maximum” level markings. These markings indicate the acceptable range for the brake fluid level.

Step 4: Wipe the Reservoir Cap

Before opening the reservoir cap, use a clean cloth to wipe away any dirt or debris that could contaminate the brake fluid when the cap is removed.

Step 5: Unscrew the Reservoir Cap

Gently unscrew the reservoir cap to access the brake fluid inside. Take note of the appearance and color of the brake fluid, as it should be clear or slightly amber.

Step 6: Check the Brake Fluid Level

Using a flashlight if needed, observe the brake fluid level against the “minimum” and “maximum” markings on the reservoir. Ensure that the brake fluid level is within the acceptable range.

Step 7: Add Brake Fluid If Needed

If the brake fluid level is nearing the “minimum” mark or appears significantly low, carefully add the appropriate type of brake fluid recommended for your vehicle to bring the level within the acceptable range.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively check your car’s brake fluid level and maintain the integrity of your vehicle’s braking system. It’s important to remember that proper maintenance of brake fluid is essential for the safety and performance of your vehicle. If you’re unsure about performing these checks yourself, it’s best to consult a professional auto repair center like Stonum Automotive in Longmont for expert assistance.

Professional Brake Services at Stonum Automotive in Longmont

In conclusion, checking your car’s brake fluid is a simple yet vital aspect of vehicle maintenance, contributing to the overall safety and performance of your vehicle.

At Stonum Automotive, we recognize the importance of maintaining a properly functioning brake system, including regular inspection of brake fluid. Our experienced technicians are equipped to handle all your brake repair and maintenance needs, including brake fluid changes, brake pad replacements, and brake system diagnostics. As your trusted auto repair shop in Longmont, we are committed to ensuring the safety and reliability of your vehicle’s brakes.

For professional brake services and expert auto repair services, contact us today. Trust our team to keep your brakes in top condition and ensure your peace of mind behind the wheel.

Remember, when it comes to your vehicle’s brakes, Stonum Automotive is your reliable partner for quality, safety, and expert care.

Signs Your Brakes Need Repairing

You most likely use your vehicle on a day-to-day basis running routine errands and making the usual commute to work. If you have children, your vehicle will probably be the most useful tool for getting your kids where they need to be on time. Vehicles are an essential part of life all across America, and if they aren’t running correctly, then you can be put in severe danger. A significant cause of accidents worldwide is vehicle defects. A vehicle is a complex piece of machinery that requires routine maintenance and upkeep to ensure that it is operating smoothly. In most cases, when you buy your vehicle, you will want to make sure that you have a trusted group of mechanics that will take care of your vehicle while giving you helpful tips on how to watch out for maintenance issues. There are signs and signals that a vehicle will express, such as lights and sounds that can help notify the driver if there is a problem. 

Malfunctioning brakes are a significant vehicle issue that can put you in grave danger if repairs aren’t made in time. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle and its age, your need to have the brakes repaired may be more frequent. It is also common that many drivers do not run into this problem for their entire driving life. Regardless of your situation, you will want to know the signs to look out for to make sure that you take your vehicle in for brake repairs before it’s too late. A common way to tell if your brakes are in jeopardy is by monitoring the brake light. While this is common knowledge, this article will outline other signs that aren’t as well known. While you are visiting the mechanic, you can also ask for an oil change in Longmont, CO

Squeaking or Squealing Noises

It is more common for older vehicles to make sounds while driving. Newer models tend to have a more compact and lightweight design in which sounds are almost obsolete. If you have an older model, it will be harder to differentiate a brake repair issue from your regular issues, while with newer vehicles, it will be easier to notice. The main sounds you are going to want to look out for, whether your vehicle is old or new, are squeaking, squealing as well as grinding sounds. These noises are usually very high pitched, and if they silence when you put your foot on the brakes, then it can indicate that your brake pads are worn down.

If you also hear these noises while your foot is on the brake, then several issues could be present. One possibility is that a rock or piece of debris is stuck in the caliper, which can be fixed easily. On the other hand, your brake pads may have worn entirely down, in which case there will be metal rubbing on metal. This issue requires immediate auto repair in Longmont. 


The number one way to tell if your vehicle has a significant issue is by how it handles. If you find that your vehicle maneuvers differently than previous uses, you most likely will need to contact a mechanic for an alignment in Longmont. This wobbling can also be because of uneven brake rotors. These are inside of the wheels, and if the surface of the rotors experience wears over time, then you may experience wobbling. The best way to go about fixing these issues is by contacting a mechanic. They are experts that are trained in diagnosing vehicle issues, and if you tell them that your vehicle is wobbling, they can help you to figure out precisely what is wrong with the brake rotors or if it is an entirely different problem. 

Fluid Leaks

You may have noticed if you park your vehicle in your garage or on the driveway, large stains pool on the ground below. These are often oil leaks, which may eventually lead to an oil change in Longmont. However, other fluids are required for your vehicle to perform correctly, and one of these is brake fluid. The most common way to tell if you are experiencing this leak is if your brake pedal feels soft. A technician will be able to know if the brake fluid is leaking out of the master cylinder or from a different spot in the brake’s system. This cylinder is what gives your brakes their power, and when fluid pumps through the tiny pipes, hydraulic pressure is created. If there is a fluid leak, then you will not have enough energy to apply the brakes. 

Smell Of Burning

If you ever smell something burning while driving, it is a sure sign that you have a mechanical issue that requires car service in Longmont. One reason you may smell burning is if the brake fluid has overheated. This occurs when there is continuous braking on steep hills. If you experience this, the best thing you can do is pull over and let them cool down. While you are waiting, you can call a mechanic to come and check your vehicle out. The roadside assistance can let you know how to proceed.

A sure way to know you have a brake issue is if they feel different from past uses. If your vehicle is producing sounds such as squealing or squeaking, then you have a worn-down brake pad. If this sound continues even after you have applied the brakes, then you may have worn the brake pads out entirely, which requires immediate attention. Additionally, if you smell burning or feel a wobble as you drive, your brakes may be defective.

Before you make your own assumptions, you should take your vehicle into a local shop where their experts can diagnose and treat your vehicle appropriately. If you take your vehicle in for routine maintenance and upkeep, then you prevent more significant issues from arising in the future.

What Are the Signs Your Brakes Need Repairing?

Being able to brake properly is one of the most important aspects of driving, and it is also one of the first things new driving students are taught. The amount of pressure one places on their pedal determines how quickly or how smoothly a vehicle will roll to a stop and new drivers are usually taught this first. If a person does not stop properly, then naturally this will result in a very big disaster. Individuals who are sitting behind the wheel should be well aware of how to control their vehicles fully so that they are able to keep the roads safe.

Sometimes though, it is not the driver’s fault. Sometimes a person can know how to stop perfectly but for some reason, their vehicle won’t respond to them in the appropriate manner. If this is the case, then they probably have to go see a specialist to determine what exactly is going on with their vehicle stopping mechanism. Since this part of the automobile is so important, it is crucial that a person does not waste time and that they go and visit immediately.

One will be able to tell if there is something wrong with their brakes if they notice a few signs. First of all, if their brakes make strange screeching noises whenever they push down, then that is a red flag right there. There should be no sounds made when a person pushes down on the pedal. Another sign that clearly shows that something is wrong is if a person pushes down on the pedal and their vehicle moves to either the right or the left before stopping. This is very dangerous and should be fixed immediately.

In an ordinary vehicle where everything is working smoothly and appropriately, a person only needs to push down lightly to get a response from the automobile. If a person finds that they have to push very hard for the mechanism to activate then they definitely need to go in and get it checked.

Another factor to keep an eye out for is vibration. If a person feels any sort of vibration when pushing down on the pedal, then this is a bad sign and it shows one’s car needs to be checked out by a professional.

Going to a service center for getting your brakes fixed, tires adjusted, or alignment in Longmont is something very important and should not be overlooked. It is essential that every driver takes as much precaution as they can to ensure their car is in top shape because doing so does not only ensure their own safety, but it also ensures the safety of others on the road.

Your Brakes Might Be Telling You Something

Driving with faulty brakes is dangerous, and it can lead to a fatal accident. Therefore, it is important to check your brakes all the time to make sure that they are working properly. When you bring in your car for maintenance or for auto repair in Longmont, make sure that your brakes aren’t forgotten. They should be checked if they have gone through wear and tear and might need replacing. They should also be checked to see if they need tightening.

Your brakes should be checked at least once a year. They should be checked more frequently if you drive a lot. All components of your brake system should be verified to be in the best condition to ensure a safe drive.

Your brake fluid should also be checked. The brake fluid requires regular changing as well, similar to an oil change. Doing so helps in preventing any damage to your car. If this isn’t done regularly, there can be a blockage in the brake system, which can cause more problems that are more expensive to fix.

To avoid any untoward incidents with your brakes, you should listen to any warning signs. Your brakes might be telling you something you shouldn’t neglect. Here are some warning signs from your brakes. If you experience any of these, it is best to bring your vehicle to a car repair shop.

1. Screeching, grinding, and other noises when you step on the brakes

2. The car pulls on one side when driving

3. The brake pedal almost hits the floor before it engages

4. The brake pedal requires extreme force to engage

5. The brake engages with the slightest touch

6. The brake pulses or vibrates even when just normally driving

7. The brake light is turned on on the dashboard

The brakes experience normal wear and tear with regular use. To ensure that they are in top condition, you should always have them checked. If they are already worn out, you should get them replaced immediately to avoid accidents that can be caused by it. Moreover, don’t let the brake pads be thin enough that they hit metal to metal. If this happens then it can be more costly to replace the rotor or the drum. In some cases, when the brake pads are still thick then the brakes might just need tightening.

The brakes can be easily checked by your trusted mechanic. They can be checked during regular maintenance check-ups so you don’t need to take additional time off for this. When you bring in your car for maintenance, make sure to have the brakes checked too.

Therefore, always listen to your brakes because they might be hinting at something.

5 Signs Your Car Might Need Brake Repair

Having an oil change appointment booked in advance can be practical, as this appointment can serve as a checkup when other car issues are brought to light. Should one’s brakes be undergoing some changes, asking one’s mechanic to check up on them during an oil change in Longmont, Co can be beneficial. There might be times when awaiting an upcoming oil change might be too risky, however, which is why taking immediate action is recommended. If a car’s brakes are undergoing any of the 5 following changes, this could be a sign that one needs immediate brake repair.


Your Car Makes Strange Noises When Braking


If there is one sign that every driver should look out for, it’s brake whining. When a car’s brakes are in good condition, they aren’t going to emanate any noise. However, when a car’s brakes are nearing their end they might begin to make noises of protest when pressed down upon. Should a driver be experiencing some embarrassing noises when stopping at a stop sign or red light, it is most likely due to their brake pads have worn out. Booking an appointment with a mechanic is in order when such noises become apparent.


Your Brake Pedal Is too Malleable


A good way of knowing whether or not one’s brakes need changing is by simply pressing down on them. Should one’s foot be met with some protest, this can indicate that their brakes are efficient. However, when one’s brakes are too malleable, this can be a sign that one’s brake pads are worn down.


Your Car is Pulling to the Sides When Braking


The entire reason a car has brakes is so that it can stop where it needs to stop. Driving with proper brakes is a safety precaution every driver should hold dear. One of the first signs that one’s brakes are on the fritz is poor brake performance. If a driver is pressing on the brakes, their car should stop immediately — not pulling to the left or right-hand side. Should this be occurring, it is crucial for one to seek immediate mechanical guidance.


You Can Feel Your Brakes Vibrating


Another sign that it’s time to change one’s brakes is when they begin to vibrate. In fact, vibrating brakes are never a good sign and can be the result of a larger problem at hand. Vibrating brakes are sometimes the outcome of a warped rotor or poorly lubricated vehicle.


Your Brake Light is On


If there is one telltale sign that one’s brakes need changing, it’s the brake light. A car is designed to inform drivers about possible complications, which is why taking a check-engine light or a brake light seriously is in order.


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Tips For Fixing The Parking Brake

Regular brake repair in Longmont, CO is arguably more important than an oil change.  Colorado is a mountainous state with a lot of inclined roads.  To successfully navigate these roads, a driver will need an excellent braking system.  While driving with dirty oil is never recommended in normal circumstances, driving in Colorado does not really constitute normal circumstances.  An oil change will not help keep a car parked on an uphill slope or help the driver navigate a busy street on a steep decline.  An excellent braking system is needed in these circumstances, and drivers should be sure to have their brakes checked regularly so that they can rely on them in times of need.

Fixing The Parking Brake

One of the problems mentioned above is parking on an incline.  A fully functional parking brake is required to leave a car in a safely parked position on a hill.  Though it is not super common, malfunctions in the parking brake do happen from time to time and car owners should be aware of the signs and symptoms before it happens.  The most important sign of wear and tear is when the parking brake will not fully lock into position as high as it used to.  The reason why it slowly weakens over time is quite simple: the brake wires get loose with age and use.

Each car make has a specification for how high the parking brake should be pulled for it to actually lock.  This should be stated in the owner’s manual, and anything less than this height should be taken as cause for alarm.

Fixing The Parking Brake Is Not A DIY Fix

Some ambitious DIY blogs will say it’s possible to repair a parking brake with a few tools and a rudimentary knowledge of cars.  This is advisable for those who fancy themselves adept at mechanical work and have a fair amount of experience to back them up.  Those who have not worked much with cars are far better off taking it to a mechanic for a proper fix.

Electric Parking Brakes Operate The Same Way

Some newer models will have an electric parking brake system instead of the manual system described above.  Electrical parking brakes work in much the same way, the only difference being that it is automated through an electric motor rather than cable-operated.  Most mechanics will have the proper tools to replace or fix electronic parking brakes, so it’s no hassle either way for the car owner.

Getting regular check-ups on the parking brake might not be needed.  They are pretty sturdy components in the car’s braking system and really only need attention when their malfunction is noticeable to the driver.