Best Brake Fluid: An Essential for Improved Performance and Safety

May, 2017
Best Brake Fluid

For many car owners, they ignore the importance of a brake fluid. According to most manufacturers, it is necessary that it is changed at least once every two or three years. By doing so, you can enjoy not only improved performance of your vehicle, but it will also be excellent when it comes to making sure that you will be able to drive safely.

What is the best brake fluid that is currently available in the market? If you are clueless on what to purchase, this guide has got you covered. We will discuss what is a brake fluid, including its different types. More importantly, we will give you a quick look on five of the top options that you might want to consider.

What is Brake Fluid?

As the name implies, this is simply a fluid that has the main function of improving the performance of your brake and clutch. Despite the importance of such, it is frequently neglected by many car owners, especially by those who are ignorant of the many benefits that it can deliver. It is often seen by many to be an added cost, even if it is actually an important part of car maintenance.

A brake fluid is generally composed of three parts. 60 to 90% is solvent, which is usually a combination of poly-glycol ethers. Poly-glycols are oils with high viscosity, which is why it is necessary that they are mixed with ethers. 5 to 30%, on the other hand, are made from poly-glycol lubricants. Lastly, 2 to 5% are additives, including those that are added to the brake fluid to allow it to provide protection from corrosion.

The fluid is vital because it makes sure that the different parts of the braking system will operate in a manner that is as flawless as possible. Even at high temperature or pressure, the fluid must be able to work. Otherwise, the pedal won’t cause the vehicle to brake and you will end up in an unfortunate situation.

To ensure the optimal functionality of the brake fluid, see to it that it is replaced regularly or as needed. Through time, moisture and other external elements can lead to degradation, which will lessen its effectiveness and efficiency.

Top Picks for the Best Brake Fluid

In this section, we will have a glimpse at five of the products that can provide the best bang for the buck. To help you easily evaluate each alternative, we will tackle some of their notable features, as well as a few of their pros and cons.

1. Castrol SRF Brake Fluid

Castrol SRF Racing Brake Fluid - 1 Liter 12512

The mere fact that it is made by one of the most trusted names within the product category can already provide you with a good reason to have it considered over all others. It is made using an exclusive European formula, which makes it unmatched by any other product within the competitive landscape.

It is impressive because of its high dry boiling point, which is approximately more than 300 degrees Celsius. This is more than what is recommended in brake fluids that belong to the DOT 5 category. It simply means that it will be perfect even in the most intense braking conditions.

A lot of people may also love the components used in formulating this fluid. It is made in such a way that it can be safely used even in metal and rubber components of your car’s braking system.

Lastly, this is a brake fluid that is designed specifically for racing performance. Sports cars are some of the most common where it is used.


Pros:

  • Can withstand even extreme temperature
  • Premium quality
  • Impressive in terms of efficiency

Cons:

  • Expensive price
  • Bottle can be prone to being punctured

2. Motul 8068HL RBF600 Brake Fluid

Motul 8068HL RBF 600 Factory Line Dot-4 100 Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid - 500 ml

This is another brake fluid that can prove to be a perfect choice for racing cars. It will work best if you have a hydraulic actuated brake or clutch. It is packaged in a 500-milliliter bottle with a price that is a bit more expensive compared to others.

It is a poly-glycol fluid that is made using 100% synthetic materials. It does not use silicone, which is one thing that makes it better as against many of its competitors.

Another thing that is worth noting about this product is how it comes with extreme thermal resistance while being able to demonstrate a high level of stability. The boiling point is 312 degrees Celsius, which is way higher than many others, making it excellent when it comes to dependability.

With the ability of the fluid to withstand even high temperature, this makes it a reliable choice for high-performance racing cars.


Pros:

  • Has heavy-duty packaging
  • Bleeds easily
  • Does not boil

Cons:

  • Can make the pedal spongy
  • Quite expensive than others

3. ATE 706202 Original Brake Fluid

ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid - 1 Liter

Among others, one thing that we loved about this product is its exclusive formula, which can deliver improved performance for your vehicle. To maximize the outcomes, however, it is important to make sure that it will be compatible with your car.

This brake fluid comes with a minimum wet boiling point of 374 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the minimum dry boiling point is 536 degrees Fahrenheit. When you compare it to most of its competitors, it is easy to notice that the boiling point of this product is better.

The binding properties used in the liquid formulation of this brake fluid is also excellent. They won’t be damaged even if the fluid is subjected to extreme temperature or once it reaches its boiling point.


Pros:

  • Has high-performance formula
  • Affordable price
  • High wet and dry boiling point

Cons:

  • Hard to tell if the bleed is done
  • Can is prone to bending

4. Prestone AS400 Synthetic Brake Fluid

Prestone AS400 DOT 3 Synthetic Brake Fluid - 12 oz.

While there are many things that are commendable about this product, one that is worth highlighting is the use of excellent materials, despite the fact that it comes with an affordable price. It is made using different poly-glycol ethers. The latter will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that no toxic vapor will be produced.

Another thing that you might find to be impressive in this product is the additional safety that it provides to your vehicle when braking. This increases friction and will ensure the powerful braking performance of your car, minimizing the likelihood of suffering from an accident.

There are many braking fluids that will perform well, but the problem is that they tend to make the pedal spongy. Such is not one thing that you have to worry about as the consistency of the brake fluid will prevent the latter from happening.


Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • User-friendly
  • Takes a long time to expire

Cons:

  • Can easily absorb heat and moisture
  • Can make braking system rust

5. Johnsen’s 2234 Premium Brake Fluid

Johnsen's 2234 Premium DOT-3 Brake Fluid - 1 Gallon

If value for money is what you are looking for, you have a good reason to consider this product above all others. It is one of the cheapest products available within the marketplace. Yet, it is one gallon, which will make it useful for a couple of flushes before being emptied.

With this brake fluid, there is a minimum boiling point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which goes to show that it will demonstrate excellent performance even in extreme temperatures.

It is also worth noting that it exceeds the DOT 3 standards. It has been carefully tested before being released in the market, which will provide you with an assurance of its top-notch quality.


Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • High-temperature rating
  • Good for up to 10 flushes

Cons:

  • Can easily create mess
  • Cap is hard to seal

Types of Brake Fluid

The following are some of the most common options that you will be confronted with:

  • DOT 3: This usually uses glycol as the base material. This is also the most economical option that is available, which is basically because of the basic formula. To fall under this category, the dry boiling point should be 401 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum and wet boiling point should be 284 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum.
  • DOT 4: Like the DOT 3, the base of this brake fluid is also glycol ether. It is different in the sense that it has borate, which is the one that allows it to withstand a higher temperature. Aside from a higher boiling point, it is also better when it comes to stability. Its minimum wet boiling point is 311 degrees Fahrenheit while the minimum dry boiling point is 446 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • DOT 5: In the past, this formula is only possible with the use of components that are silicone-based. Nowadays, however, there are many options that fall under this category but they also use glycol ethers. They have been created specifically for military applications and they can resist degradation, even with long-term storage. Because of their inability to absorb water, they can resist corrosion.

Choosing the Best Brake Fluid

As you try to narrow down the possibilities and make the right choice, the following are some of the factors you should consider:

  • Price: It is a given fact that most people will decide on the basis of their budget. However, I recommend that you go beyond cost. Pay attention to the specifications from the manufacturer. Think about what it can do and not only how much it is.
  • Feedbacks: For those who are having a hard time reaching the right decision, it is best to consult with what other people have to say. All that you have to do is to go online and read the experiences of other users. This will make it a snap for you to evaluate the pros and cons of the possibilities.
  • Size: Brake fluids are usually measured in quarts, gallon, and liters. Pay attention to how much is needed by the vehicle. Also, see what other people are saying to have an idea on how much you will use. It is best to buy only the quantity that will be needed as there are some types of brake fluids that are prone to degradation if they are not used as soon as possible.
  • Boiling Point: This is one of the most important factors that requires your attention. Simply put, it is the highest temperature at which the fluid will start boiling. When the temperature exceeds such, the performance of your braking system can be compromised. Also, take note that there are two figures that you have to look at – wet and dry boiling temperature.
  • Moisture Absorption: It is also necessary for the brake fluid not to absorb moisture and other external elements. This will help to preserve its original quality and will make it less prone to degradation. As much as possible, choose a fluid that does not absorb moisture easily.
  • Compatibility: You should also take note of the fact that not all fluids are compatible with all vehicles or cars. There are some fluids that will lead to corrosion if they are used in the wrong material. To avoid problems, make sure of suitability before purchasing and using brake fluid.
  • Packaging: Most of the brake fluids are packaged in tin cans or plastic containers. It is important that they are durable and sealed tightly, which will prevent damage or the penetration of external elements that could compromise overall quality.

Conclusion

The best brake fluid is an important component for the maintenance of every vehicle, especially those that are used in racing. This improves not only the performance of your car, but also your safety. From the five products that have been mentioned above, if there is only one that I can personally recommend, it would be Castrol SRF Brake Fluid. Aside from being made by a trusted brand, it is effective and efficient. It may be more expensive than many others, but it can provide excellent value for money, considering the performance that you can expect from the product.

Are you looking for other products that will help in improving the performance of your vehicle? Click here to learn more about the options.