What Color Is Brake Fluid


Last Updated on January 25, 2023 by Victor Lukasso

A lot of people don’t know the color of brake fluid. If you are one of them, then this informative article is for you. Make sure you read to the end because I’m going to explain the color and share additional information about brake fluid.

According to experts and vehicle owners, brake fluid is light yellow, but will become brown as it ages. This process may be different, and it may take more time to change. It all depends on your vehicle manufacturer and how you use it.

You will see your brake fluid under your car around your wheel well in case there’s a leak.

It is very important to maintain your vehicle brake system because it plays a major role if you want to use your vehicle for a long time without any problem.

You must monitor your brake fluid color regularly, although it usually takes some years before your brake fluid goes bad. That’s when you are using the brake system properly.

If you have the opportunity to know about your vehicle’s brake system and brake fluid this will allow you to know when the brake fluid needs to be replaced.

You need to know that brake fluid color is different, it all depends on the type of brake fluid you are using.

Some factors that usually make a brake fluid change its color are regular heating, aging, banging rubber brake lines, and moisture.

Brake Fluid Color Guide

You need to invest in one bottle of brake fluid when you want to replace your master cylinder or brake pad. Currently, four types of brake oils are DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5, and DOT 5.1.

These brake fluids come in different colors. DOT 3, DOT4, and DOT 5 brake fluids have the same color. The color will change to brown as it begins to age. The brake fluid color will change after heating, aging rubber brake lines, and moisture.


The DOT 3 brake fluid is a poly glycol-based product, it is one of the first brake fluids to be used, currently, it has lost its popularity because of the introduction of better-advanced brake fluids. DOT 3 brake fluid has a boiling point of 205°C minimum. Its wet boiling point is 140°C.

DOT 3 brake fluid absorbs one to two percent of water deepening depending on the operating conditions and climate. DOT 3 brake fluid is the most suitable for light trucks and domestic cars.


DOT 4 is also another brake fluid that is based on poly glycol. It has a minimum boiling point of 230 degrees Celsius when dry and a minimum boiling point of 155 degrees Celsius. DOT 4 can be used for higher and medium-sized modern vehicles. DOT 4 is best for vehicles with ABS systems, high-speed braking systems, towing, and high altitudes.

DOT 4 grips moisture, reducing its ERPB, it may affect the paint of the vehicle, so you need to handle it with care. The color of the DOT 4 brake fluid is clear with a little composition of yellow.

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DOT 5 is also one of the popular brake fluids, it’s a silicone-based brake fluid. It has a wet boiling point of 180°C and a dry boiling point of 260°C. DOT 5 is used on military vehicles and antique and weekend collector vehicles that sit for a long time. This brake fluid is not compatible with DOT 5.1, DOT 4, and DOT 3.

DOT 5 does not cause any damage to the paint of your vehicle and it doesn’t absorb water. The brake fluid is compatible with rubber formulations. DOT 5 absorbs a lot of air, giving you a poor pedal feeling. So it is not suitable for racing cars because of its compressibility when posed with high temperatures.

When water gets into the DOT 5 brake fluid, it usually causes gassing, freezing, and severe localized corrosion because water is heavier and does not mix with silicone fluids, so it is unsuitable for ABS.

DOT 5 is compressible under normal braking formation due to foaming and aeration. This gives you a spongy brake feel.

DOT 5.1

DOT 5.1 brake fluid is also one of the poly glycols. It has a minimum dry boiling point of 270°C and a wet boiling point of 190°C. DOT 5.1 is best for race cars, towing vehicles, and delivery and fleet trucks. DOT 5.1 can mix well with DOT 4 and DOT 3. DOT 5 has a better and higher boiling point than DOT 4 and DOT 3 brake fluids. It can absorb moisture from the atmosphere, reducing its boiling point. The brake fluid may cause damage to the paint. DOT 5.1 brake fluid is available in amber color.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Brake Fluid

Is brake fluid always blue?

DOT 5.1 brake fluid is either clear, yellow, or blue.

Can a car run without brake fluid?

Yes, it is possible but you need to refill the brake fluid before use. Your car brakes operate on hydraulic fluid and the system needs it to function. So brakes without brake fluid will cause your brakes to have a negative impact or fail.

Is topping up your brake fluid easy?

It’s so easy to add brake fluid to your car. It’s necessary to use a small funnel for adding the fluid into your car, in case your brake fluid reservoir does not have a wide mouth.

Can I top up the brake fluid myself?

Yes, you can top up your brake fluid by yourself. In case your brake fluid level is very low, you can top it up yourself.

To top-up your brake fluid by yourself, you need to follow this simple instruction below:

  • Open the reservoir cap.
  • Now slowly, using a funnel add the brake fluid to the reservoir until it meets the maximum marker.
  • Now you need to close the reservoir cap, and tightly screw it on.

What color should brake fluid not be?

Fresh brake fluid is clear with a hint of yellow coloring. If your brake fluid becomes a dark brown or black color, then you have to replace your brake fluid flush immediately.