Can You Add Brake Fluid Without Bleeding

Can You Add Brake Fluid Without Bleeding

Adding brake fluid to your car is part of the vehicle’s routine maintenance. Because of this, some people might be unsure if they can do it alone without bleeding the brakes. You should know that you can add brake fluid to the car without needing a mechanic. It is a simple process you can handle with ease.

Bleeding is an important part of making sure that the brakes work correctly. However, you don’t need to bleed the brakes when you add brake fluid to the car. Bleeding should only be done once you have drained the brake fluid reservoir or there are leaks. This is to help remove any air bubbles in the brake system to make the brakes work correctly.

How to Add Brake Fluid to a Car

Adding brake fluid to the car is quite a simple process. However, you would need to follow a few important steps if you want to do it right. Here are the steps to follow.

1. Find the right type of brake fluid

There are several types of brake fluids on the market. What is important is that you always get the right type of brake fluid that works for your car specifically. Take this seriously, as it is like putting the wrong gas into your car.

Here is a video explaining the different types of brake fluid.

2. Park the car on a level surface

The reason for parking the car on a level surface is important to help get the correct reading of the brake fluid level. Depending on the car model, you may have to depress the brake first to find the right level. Most cars would not have much of a problem reading the level.

3. Locate the brake fluid reservoir

The brake fluid reservoir would be under the hood of your car. Most cars would have it at the top left corner, but it can vary based on the car model. Consult the car’s manual to find it exactly where it is.

Open the brake fluid cap and wipe it with a paper towel. Insert it back to read the new level recorded on the dipstick.

The reservoir would have minimum and maximum levels. It is why you have to consider these levels. If the level is below the reservoir minimum, you must add new brake fluid to get it back to the maximum level.

Here is a video on checking the brake fluid level

4. Inspect the brake fluid color

Look at the color of the brake fluid before deciding whether it should be drained or if you just need a top-up. The brake fluid in good condition would be lightly golden and would get darker if it is dirty and full of debris. If you see debris floating, it is best to have the brake system flushed.

5. Time to Refill

Refilling is quite easy, and anyone can do it. Once you have verified that the brake fluid is still clean, you can then go ahead to pour the brake fluid into the reservoir. When adding the fluid, take note of the MIN and MAX levels. Make sure you do not overfill the brake fluid. Once it gets to the MAX level, that should be it.

You should be done at this point. Go ahead to wipe any of the brake fluid that would have spilled on the sides.

How to Bleed Brakes of a Car

How to Bleed Brakes of a Car

Bleeding, as mentioned before, is important for flushing any air out of the brake lines. The air in the brake line can be disastrous as it can lead to brake fade or failure. This is where you would find the brake feels spongy.

Here are some steps to take for bleeding the brakes of your car.

  • Get yourself a vacuum pump kit for the process. The vacuum kit is key for pumping vacuum into the master cylinder key to push the air out of the cylinder.
  • Next is to locate the bleeder valve on the brake lines close to the brake caliper. It will be covered by a rubber cap which can be opened so that bleeding can be made.
  • A 10mm spanner will come in handy to help in loosening the bleeder valve later.
  • Attach the vacuum pump to the bleeder and ensure a proper seal. Go ahead and start pumping.
  • You should check for leaks in case you are pumping and the pump is not working. This would mean that there is a leak around the brake valve.
  • With your vacuum pump correctly attached, unscrew the bleeder valve so that the fluid can be sucked out together with any air bubbles.
  • Go ahead and tighten the bleeder valve screw to ensure no leaks and air are getting into the system again.

Symptoms of Bad Brake Fluid

If you can understand there is a problem with your brake fluid, then you would take the right steps to have this handled professionally to keep the brake system working correctly. Here are notable symptoms of bad brake fluid.

  • The car would tell you through turning on the ABS light. When you see this light, ensure you check to find out what is the problem. If the fluid level is low, then consider refilling.
  • The brake pedal can also get unresponsive when the brake system has a problem. You might try to brake, and it is either too spongy or hard. It means there is a problem that you should attend to.
  • You may also notice a burning odor coming from the tires. It could be that the brakes are overheating. Maybe the brake calipers are stuck, leading to overheating of the brakes.
  • There is a problem with the brake system whenever you hear screeching or grinding noises. It could be that the brake pad would be worn, but there could be more issues that need addressing. Have a mechanic check the system to find the issues.


What happens when you overfill the brake fluid reservoir?

The brakes might not work correctly in case you do this. It is best to drain the reservoir to get the brake fluid to the right level, which helps the brakes work correctly.

Why is the brake fluid level low?

The most common reason would be a leak in the brake system. Make sure that you find the leak and have it plugged in to ensure the brake system works correctly.

Do brake fluids have additives? 

Yes, brake fluids would also have additives. The additives aim to provide corrosion protection and still improve the brake’s performance. Just make sure you are using the recommended brake fluid type for your vehicle make.

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