Brake fluid is basically a hydraulic fluid, which is normally used in the braking system of automobiles. It works by transferring braking force into pressure, and by amplifying the braking force. This ability stems from the fact that liquids are not considerably compressible. Brake fluid forms a significant part of every car’s braking system.
Whenever you press your car’s brake pedal, the force created is transferred by the brake fluid from the brake pedal to the wheel hub. Besides braking, the best brake fluid lubricates movable parts of the braking system, thus preventing corrosion. This explains why the fluid should be harmonious with hoses and rubber seals. This ensures that the entire braking system can withstand optimal performance and long service. This is one of the best brake fluid reviews, which can help you pick the most suitable product.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews and comparisons, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing Brake Fluid
The infiltration of the automotive fluid market by cheap low-quality products makes it necessary for car owners to choose products that guarantee top performance. There are a number of factors, which need to be given in-depth consideration when you go out to buy brake fluid for your car. These include brake life and DOT rating, price value, safety, and frequency of fluid change.
DOT Rating And Brake Life
It is obvious that certain fluids are longer-lasting than others. Fluids whose temperature threshold is low often cause more wear and tear on the braking system within a short time. In this regard, you should put into consideration your driving habits when purchasing brake fluid. If you live in an urban area, where you probably drive at moderate or slow speeds, a DOT 3 brake fluid can work perfectly for you. Those who frequently go out of town or drive regularly on highways, and race car drivers, need braking fluid whose DOT rating is at least 4. The longevity of the brakes is greatly determined by the quality of brake fluid used. A higher DOT number means better quality, longer life and consequently, a higher value. Such fluids can similarly withstand higher temperatures.
Failure to change your brake fluid regularly greatly affects the longevity of your car’s braking system. This also puts you in danger every time you hit the road. Your personal safety needs to be prioritized whenever you shop for a brake fluid. In line with this, you should only buy brands, which are proven. There are certain regulations and safety standards set by the Department of Transportation. The product chosen should either meet or surpass those standards. When shopping for a brake fluid, you should carefully study the composition of each product to ascertain that the one you pick guarantees your safety while on the road.
Frequency Of Fluid Change
A good product needs to be changed from time to time to prevent wear and tear. Frequent changing can, however, be expensive in the long run. You need products that are considerably long-lasting. Such fluid ultimately cuts on your maintenance costs. Generally, solid models need to be used for a minimum of two years under normal circumstances. This is mostly the case with fluids that have a DOT level of 4 or 5. Before picking on a product, there is great importance in finding the sentiments of other motorists towards it. Motorists who drive every day ought to choose brake fluids whose DOT specification is higher than 4. Such motorists need to ensure that the fluid is replaced once every two years. If you use a braking fluid that has a DOT rating of 3, it is recommended that you change it on a yearly basis. This is reducible to six months for car owners who drive aggressively on rough and winding roads. Drivers who actively take part in motorsports competition need to replace their cars’ brake fluid before the competitions due to the aggressive manner in which they drive.
This property is what distinguishes braking fluids. This is basically the temperature at which the fluid starts boiling or vaporizing within your car’s braking system. Boiling and vaporizing are often caused by intense heat created when the braking system is heavily used. It ultimately affects the performance of the whole braking system. Brake fluid boils when it absorbs a lot of heat. Under intense heat, it might even vaporize. When this happens, the chances of brake failure are very high. In this regard, you need to choose products that have high dry and wet boiling points.
The dry boiling point implies the boiling temperature of brake fluid that is being used for the first time. The wet boiling point, on the other hand, refers to the temperature at which the brake fluid begins to boil after absorbing 3.7 percent of water by volume, or more. Most brake fluids attain this water level after being used for an average of two years. This highlights why the fluid needs to be changed on a regular basis.
Brake Fluid Deterioration
All brake fluids found in the market have hygroscopic properties. This means that they have the ability to absorb all moisture that enters the braking system. More often than less, moisture enters the system via joints, hoses, and pipes. An increase in moisture content within the system decreases the temperature at which the brake fluid boils. This is because water acts as an impurity. As the amount of water in the fluid increases, it gets severely contaminated. This has a generally negative effect on the braking ability of your car. This highlights the importance of buying a brake fluid, which does not deteriorate within a short time. Products that lose value at a fast rate are likely to balloon your car maintenance costs for no reason.
Viscosity And Compressibility
Viscosity should not be a source of worry for all drivers. However, it is an important property if you live in an extremely cold place. In such cases, you need a fluid whose viscosity is low. The recent introduction of ultra-low viscosity fluids into the automobile market will greatly benefit car owners who live in cold places. In general, brake fluids resist compressibility whenever they get heated. However, some fluids are more resistant than others.
High-quality brake fluid allows the effortless movement of the brake pedal. ATE 706 202 Original Typ 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid, Mag1 120 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid, Castrol SRF DOT 4 Brake Fluid, Motul RBF600 DOT 4 Brake Fluid and Preston AS800Y DOT 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid, are some of the most prominent brake fluids in the automobile market. Car owners must learn how to top off brake fluid in a way that enhances the lifespan of their cars’ braking systems. Besides this, they must find out the best way to change brake fluid.
The 5 Best Brake Fluids Reviewed
Determining The Best Product
The decision concerning the best brake fluid among the five products can only be reached after certain pre-purchase factors have been put into consideration. These factors include:
- Dry and wet boiling point
- The frequency at which the fluid is changed
Reviewing each of these factors will help ultimately us reach the most rational decision.
Dry And Wet Boiling Point
The temperature at which a brake fluid boils greatly determines its longevity. Products that have a high boiling temperature tend to last more than those whose boiling temperature is low. Besides this, they are much safer. DOT 4 products are recommended to motorists who drive off-road and thus need to slam down their brakes frequently.
Mag1 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid has been hailed as having the ability to provide more safety. Its wet equilibrium boiling point is 292 degrees F. On the other hand, its dry boiling point is 494 degrees F. This is considerably lower than the other four products.
ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid is enhanced using a high-performance formulation. In its dry form, it can withstand temperatures of up to 536 degrees F. its boiling temperature when wet is 374 degrees F.
Preston AS800Y DOT 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid has an impressive dry boiling temperature of 515 degrees F. Its wet boiling temperature stands at 420 degrees F. This is quite remarkable.
Motul RBF 600 DOT 4 Brake Fluid has a dry boiling point of 509 degrees F. Its boiling point, on the other hand, is 329 degrees F.
On the other hand, Castrol SRF has a dry boiling point of 500 degrees F.
The main role played by brake fluid is to enhance efficient and effortless braking. In this regard, the product chosen should meet minimum standards set by government regulatory agencies such as the Department of Transport.
MAG1 120 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid not only meets but also surpasses brake oil regulations put in place by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE regulation number JI703). Besides this, it meets and surpasses Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 116, which pertains to all DOT 3 brake fluids.
ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid exceeds FMVSS 116 DOT 4 and SAE JI703 standards. Its exceptional water-binding property coupled with a high boiling point reduces the chances of vapor forming within the system. More often than less the formation of water vapor within vehicles’ braking systems, accounts for most cases of brake failures.
Preston AS800Y DOT 4 Synthetic Brake Fluid is another safe product, which prevents internal corrosion, wear and tears within the braking system. Its use greatly reduces the occurrence of vapor in the braking system and subsequent system failure.
Motul RBF 600 DOT 4 Brake Fluid has caught the attention of many motorists due to its unique safety properties. This is a universal brake fluid, which has a DOT rating of 4. It particularly enhances safety standards in cars that use ABS braking systems. Its ability to resist water absorption and retention guarantees the safety of your car when it is used.
Castrol SRF outdoes US Federal Standards FMVSS 116.
Frequency Of Change
This basically implies the amount of time that it takes to replace the fluid. Longevity obviously means that the product is of good quality. It also goes a long way in saving unnecessary car maintenance costs. Changing a fluid from time to time can end up being costly in the long run. A product that is used for a long time guarantees better protection to the braking system than that, which lasts for a short time. In line with this, a good product has the ability to keep working effectively for at least two years. The longevity of fluid generally depends on its DOT rating. Fluids that have a higher DOT value tend to last for longer periods.
120 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid by Mag 1 needs replacement every two years. Mag 1 is the best DOT 3 brake fluid. It has relatively shorter longevity due to its low wet and dry boiling points. The main advantage that it will offer you within this period, however, is the fact that it can be combined with the best DOT 4 brake fluid for maximum efficiency.
ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid can serve your car’s braking system efficiently for up to three years. The amount of time that the fluid lasts is however subject to the type of vehicle that you drive. This is, however, a considerable time, which ultimately justifies the product’s relatively high buying price.
Prestone AS800Y Synthetic Brake Fluid is a DOT 4 product, which provides unwavering service for up to two years. During this time, it will sufficiently offer maximum protection to your car’s braking system besides preventing wear and tear. It is also the best DOT 4 brake fluid for motorcycles.
Motul RBF 600 DOT 4 Brake Fluid also guarantees your safety for up to two and a half years. The manufacturers state that you will not experience any braking system failure once you choose to use this product. By virtue of being a DOT 4 brake fluid, it is heavier, which explains its relative longevity.
Castrol RSF should be changed every 18 months. This is because it is mainly used in cars that have intense braking needs.
What is The Best Brake Fluid?
By considering each of the aforementioned considerations, each of the parameters plays an important role in deciding the most recommended product to motorists. In as much as there are hundreds of brake fluids in the automotive market, these five products stand out due to their affordability, longevity, and the convenience that they offer to motorists. This is what every car owner looks out for whenever he or she goes shopping for a brake fluid.
Among the five products under review, the ATE 706202 Original TYP 200 DOT 4 Brake Fluid is the best brake fluid brand for motorists who want a high-value product. It offers maximum performance for up to three years, which is an impressive feat by all standards. Its exceptional water-binding property and high-performance formulation are worth mentioning too. The product has also been tested and thus exceeds SAE JI703 and FMVSS 116 DOT4 standards, thus qualifying to be the best brake.