How often should I replace brake fluid?

Published: July 03, 2015 08:00 AM
Illustration: Kelsey Dake

Q. Some mechanics say that replacing brake fluid every three years will keep the braking system in top condition. It doesn’t mention that in my manual. What’s your take?—Dale Mettee, Westminster, MD

A. Our recommendation is to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. Many dealers offer to replace brake fluid as an extra service, but it’s not really necessary unless the fluid is dirty. But you should top it off if you see that the level is dropping. That will prevent air bubbles, which can reduce a pedal’s responsiveness.

For related information, check our maintenance and repair guide. And read our special report on excessive oil consumption and today's cars.

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Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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