Most people don't think about their brake fluid, but like any other fluid in your vehicle, it needs to be changed periodically. Brake fluid is hygroscopic and attracts moisture. Over time that moisture builds up, which not only affects brake performance but causes steel brake lines and other parts to corrode.
There are a lot of misconceptions about brake fluid or how often it should be changed. That's why The Car Care Nut is back to talk about brake fluid and cover those topics in this video.
How Often Should I Change My Toyota's Brake Fluid?
Fortunately, Toyotas don't require a lot of brake maintenance, including brake pads or fluid changes. There's really no set schedule for changing the brake fluid, so the best way to tell if your brake fluid needs to be changed is to test it periodically.
Testing the brake fluid is easy. The key thing you're looking for is moisture contamination, which can be checked with an inexpensive tester by performing the following steps:
- Locate the master brake cylinder and brake fluid reservoir. On every car, the reservoir is located under the hood, near the top of the firewall on the driver's side. The reservoir is usually a clear plastic container and sits on the master cylinder.
- Open the cap of the brake fluid reservoir. You may have to first remove a cover or part of a shroud to access the cap.
- Remove the filter from inside the reservoir. If the filter doesn't come out by hand, you'll need to pull it out with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
- Place the tester inside the brake fluid reservoir. If the fluid shows as contaminated with moisture or gives a borderline reading, you'll want to replace it.
How Do I Change My Toyota's Brake Fluid?
Changing brake fluid is easy, but you'll want to be careful not to get any brake fluid on the paint or other surfaces of your vehicle where it can cause damage. It's also a good idea to raise the car and remove the wheels unless you have easy access to the brakes.
Tools You'll Need To Change Your Brake Fluid:
- Shop rags
- Brake cleaner
- 8 mm and 10 mm wrenches for the bleeder valves
- Brake bleeder kit
- DOT 3 or better brake fluid
Steps To Change Your Brake Fluid:
1. Drain the old fluid out of the master brake reservoir. You'll want to remove as much fluid as possible.
2. Fill the master brake reservoir with new brake fluid to the max fill line. Leave the cap off the reservoir for now.
3. Each brake caliper or drum brake has a bleeder valve or nipple near the top of the brake assembly for bleeding brakes. Remove the cap from the valve and spray it with brake cleaner. You'll want to be careful opening the valve, so you don't break it. If the valve doesn't open, using moderate pressure, spray more brake cleaner on it and let it soak. Then you can try opening it carefully while you use a hammer or wrench to gently tap the top of the valve to free it.
4. Start with the wheel furthest away from the master brake cylinder (the passenger rear wheel). Attach the hose from your brake bleeder pump to the valve and loosen the valve. Make sure the other end of the hose is attached to the reservoir on the brake bleeder pump before you start bleeding the brakes.
5. Use the brake bleeder pump to extract the old fluid from the brake lines. You'll want to avoid over-filing the reservoir on the bleeder pump, but as it gets close to full, check the master brake reservoir and add more fluid as needed.
6. Continue bleeding the brakes until you see new fluid without any bubbles. Then tighten up the bleeder valve and replace the cap on the bleeder nipple.
7. Move on to the driver's rear wheel, followed by the front passenger wheel and the driver's front wheel. Repeat steps three to six for each wheel.
8. Top off the master brake reservoir with fresh brake fluid if needed.
Once you've finished all the wheels, test your brakes by pressing the pedal. The pedal should feel firm. If it feels soft or goes to the floor, you have air in the brake lines or a fluid leak and need to repeat the bleeding process again. And if you have questions about bleeding your brakes, check out this guide or contact us.
Olathe Toyota Parts Center Is Your Source For Brake Fluid And Brake Parts
If you need brake fluid or brake parts for your Toyota or Scion, we have you covered with up-front pricing and help from our expert staff. We also offer free resources like a Toyota VIN decoder, diagnostic info for common Toyota trouble codes, and a variety of other resources for all your Toyota or Scion needs.