So you’ve finally decided to change your brake oil. After all, it is recommended to have an oil change every two years or so. But do you know which brake oil you should use, and for what purposes?
While most people think it doesn’t matter, not all brake fluids are the same. And it’s not joist about the brand or quality. Different types of fluids are designed for different purposes. DOT 4 brake fluid, for instance, is made for cars that drive at higher altitudes.
And there’s the boiling point to consider. Brake fluids with lower boiling points will evaporate faster inside your car.
But even with the knowledge of DOT types and boiling points, you might still overlook quality. And for that purpose, we have put together this brake fluid review and guide to help you out.
We take a look at the best brake fluids and rate them based on performance and formulation.
- Best Brake Fluid Comparison Table
- Top 9 Best Brake Fluid To Buy In 2021 Reviews
- 1 Motul Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid
- 2 Castrol Srf Racing Brake Fluid
- 3 Ate Racing Quality Brake Fluid
- 4 Prestone Synthetic Brake Fluid
- 5 Motive Products Brake Fluid Catch Bottle Kit
- 6 Finish Line Brake Fluid
- 7 Bel Silicone Dot 5 Brake Fluid
- 8 Endless Racing Brake Fluid Rf
- 9 Mag1 Premium Dot 3 Brake Fluid
- Best Brake Fluid Buying Guide
Best Brake Fluid Comparison Table
|Products||Boiling point||Corrosion-resistant||Dot Classification||Rating|
|(4.9 / 5)|
Castrol Srf Racing Brake Fluid
|(4.9 / 5)|
Ate Racing Quality Brake Fluid
|(4.8 / 5)|
Prestone Synthetic Brake Fluid
|(4.7 / 5)|
|(4.8 / 5)|
Finish Line Brake Fluid
|(4.6 / 5)|
Bel Silicone Dot 5 Brake Fluid
|(4.6 / 5)|
Endless Racing Brake Fluid Rf
218 C, 323 C
|(5 / 5)|
Mag1 Premium Dot 3 Brake Fluid
145 C, 256 C
|(4.8 / 5)|
Top 9 Best Brake Fluid To Buy In 2021 Reviews
1 Motul Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid
The company has designed this synthetic brake fluid for hydraulic braking systems in a vehicle. It is a Dot-4 Breaking fluid with a very high boiling point of 312 °C or 593.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It has extreme thermal resistance and thermal stability in brakes too.
The Dot-4 characteristics make it usable for racing vehicles too. This is because, compared to Dot-3 brake fluids, it has a higher resistance to the heat generated by the engine. If brake fluid has lower heat resistance than the heat of the engine, it will create vapors inside the brake chamber and cause a drop in braking ability.
This fluid is a superb alternative to the typical brake fluids. It dramatically improves the pedal feel of any vehicle. And offers the best blend of high performance and value for all vehicles, from daily drivers to track vehicles.
This product is great for drivers that use brakes heavily or if they participate in track races. It will be up to the expectations and has increased protection against water penetration. And it increases performance too.
Wait! There’s more…
This brake fluid has no shelf date because nitrogen is added to it. It eliminates contamination while it is factory sealed.
One of Motul’s draw-backs is that it is comparatively more expensive than some brands. And according to its uses, you will have to change it more often. Not only that, the bottle’s design may cause problems while using it. It can result in spillage while pouring brake fluid into the brake reservoir.
- Higher boiling points.
- Great stability and thermal resistance.
- Ideal for high-performance vehicles.
- Lasts a long time on the shelf.
- Needs regular changes.
- Requires 2 bottles to fill the brake fluid container.
2 Castrol Srf Racing Brake Fluid
This Brake Fluid by Castrol is manufactured in a way that it has superior braking qualities compared to other brake fluids.
It is an exclusive European formula that is designed for Rallying and Racing. If you have a racing car, this is the perfect brake fluid for you. Because it has an exceptionally high boiling point.
Its wet boiling point is 270 °C, while the dry boiling point is 310 degrees Celsius. Its wet boiling point gives it an edge compared to the braking fluids that only have a dry boiling point.
Are these fluids certified?
The Castrol Racing Fluid exceeds the combined specifications of both Dot-3 and Dot-4. It has an anti-vapor lock. This lock keeps the vapor to the minimum in the fluid container. This in the end helps in keeping the brake system in good shape for a long period.
After using it for a long period, you can hammer down the brakes. They will still have that same braking capacity that they had since the time you started using this fluid. And you won’t have to push the pedal to the floor to get the best result from it.
Since it is made for engineering, it can withstand brake heat when you are racing. This fluid is worth all the appreciation because it is a smooth brake fluid with no bubbles whatsoever. It is one of the Best Brake Fluids available on the market.
This product is an exclusive formula for racing and rallying. So it wouldn’t be the best judgment to use it on normal daily use vehicles. As their engines don’t often get as heated as racing cars.
- Affordable lubricant.
- Better anti-vapor lock.
- High-quality fluid compared to others.
- Best for high braking performances.
- Not ideal for low or medium performance vehicles.
- Only available in liter packaging.
3 Ate Racing Quality Brake Fluid
The ATE original TYP 200 brake fluid is a DOT-4 classified brake fluid. It has a higher wet boiling point of 190ᵒC and a dry boiling point of 280 degrees Celsius. This is achieved with the help of its heat-stable formulation.
It is designed to withstand high operating temperature conditions and not give up and it is ideally best suited for high-performance vehicles. But it can be used in vehicles with the requirement of DOT-4 classification too.
That’s not all…
This fluid is a well-designed and thought out the product by the ATE company. It has a water locking ability that is helpful due to the design of the braking system. Moreover, it is engineered to keep water from entering through the porous hoses of the braking system. This way, it keeps water from diluting the fluid and giving you a faultless driving experience.
This, in the end, keeps the braking system responsive for a longer period. With the benefit of the water locking ability, the ATE brake fluid has a long life span. It can last for up to three years before needing to change the fluid and can be called the Best Brake Fluid.
Moreover, it is a special formula that not only gives braking performance but also makes it anti-corrosion. It further prevents corrosion or rusting of brakes in your vehicle.
Not only that…
But ATE TYP 200 also minimized the formation of steam bubbles when the fluid heats up during use. If steam bubbles formed inside brake fluid while used, they may compromise the braking performance of the fluid. It is easy to fill and drain inside the fluid compartment because it’s a smooth fluid.
One of the biggest flaws of this fluid is that it only works in DOT-4 vehicles.
- Three years of life span.
- Anti-rusting and corrosion.
- Higher than average boiling points.
- Only works in Dot-4 compatible vehicles.
- Not compatible with other brake fluids.
4 Prestone Synthetic Brake Fluid
The Prestone AS400 is a Dot-3 Synthetic Brake Fluid. It has a lower boiling point compared to the Dot-4 brake fluids, but it gets the job done. Its dry boiling point is 238ᵒC while the wet boiling point is 140ᵒC.
Even though these numbers seem smaller than the Dot-4 fluids. But these are higher boiling points compared to other Dot-3 fluids available in the market. This way, it is perfect for medium-to-low performance vehicles that are of day-to-day use.
The AS400 is manufactured to work perfectly in vehicles’ ABS, disc as well as drum brake system too. It is formulated while using a combination of polyglycolic. This allows it to operate well in high-temperatures and gives it the capability to be anti-vapors. Using it in extreme situations won’t result in the creation of vapors inside the brake fluid storage.
This way, it won’t compromise the performance of the braking system. It is classified as Dot-3 because of its low boiling temperatures. But these ‘low’ boiling temperatures are higher than most of the Dot-3 fluids. Therefore, this fluid is in kind of the middle of the road kind of product.
As it does not have the specifications of a Dot-4 product, but it is far better than many Dot-3 fluids. That’s not the only thing, it can also be mixed in most Dot-4 fluids to increase performance.
The Dot-3 classified Prestone Brake Fluid is best for extreme brake situations. It will ensure that you don’t get a spongy pedal while applying brakes. And give you maximum brake power whenever needed.
It does not protect against corrosion and rust inside the brake system. To cover that up, you will have to mix it with other braking fluids.
- Excellent for ABS, disc, and drum brakes.
- Boiling points exceed a typical dot-3 fluid.
- Anti-vapor fluid.
- You can mix it with other fluids.
- It’s not anti-corrosion or rusting
- Not designed for high-performance vehicles.
- The bottle lid is not sealed properly.
5 Motive Products Brake Fluid Catch Bottle Kit
To make bleeding of brakes an easier task, Motive products designed a Bottle Kit. This brake fluid catching bottle kit is designed to attach to brake bleeders. And then are used to bleed the fluid from the system. This Motive Product includes two plastic catch bottles. And wire lanyards attached to these bottles. You can attach these bottles to the bleeding brakes.
This brake fluid catch bottle kit is perfect for you if you are tired of spilling brake fluids in your garage.
Why does this matter?
By using them, your garage floor will not get dirty with brake fluids here and there. This product comes in two sets of brake fluid catch bottle kit, here’s why. The bleeding system of some vehicles’ ABS and Traction Control system requires you to bleed one axle at a time. So you can use both bottles to bleed both front or both rear brakes at a time.
Not only that, to make the flushing of the brake system a smoother operation, multiple bottles will be helpful.
These bottles can hold up to 16 ounces of fluid at a time. You can use the two bottles to bleed all the brakes at once without disposing of the used fluid. They fit almost all the bleeder nipples of brakes, so you can say they are a universal fit. These bottles’ hose stays on the nipple perfectly without the need for any extra support.
Assembling them is not an issue as they are straight forward. After using these bottles, clean them with denatured alcohol and you’re good to use them for the next time.
- Two bottle kit for all brake systems.
- The wire lanyards make it easier to handle.
- The hose fits all bleeder sizes.
- The fluid may leak from the joints.
- The plastic used in these bottles is of low quality.
6 Finish Line Brake Fluid
The Finish Line Dot-5.1 is formulated specifically for the brake system of bicycles. And it features a ‘no compromise’ leading edge in chemistry. It is originally engineered for use in bicycle hydraulic disc brake system. But the Dot Brake Fluid is formulated in such, that it meets most requirements to be called a Dot-5.1 product. T
his Finish Line Product has a large number of specifications. It is compatible as replacement fluid for Dot-3, Dot-4, and Dot-5 braking systems too.
Why it’s important?
This product has a very low viscosity that helps in yielding a superior lever response. Not only that, it helps in quick brake pad retraction. It is a Dot-5.1 fluid; therefore, it can provide constant performance throughout a full range of operating temperatures.
Whether they are low or high temperatures, it will provide maximum braking performance. Foaming causes a reduction in the braking power of the fluid. Therefore Finish Line has engineered the Dot-5.1 fluid to prevent foaming in the fluid. It provides a long fluid life, meaning you can also store it for later use.
Furthermore, this fluid is compatible with all brake systems currently sold in the market. So you won’t have to worry if it will work in your vehicle. Because it is designed to be appropriate for all of them.
Last but not the least…
It is good for all fluid from Finish Line. You can mix it with other fluids to increase the fluid’s performance while braking. It is shipped in a nice little bottle in 4-ounce packaging. Its bottles are sealed tight and are neatly packaged to be delivered to your place.
- Works in both, extremely high or extremely low temperatures.
- Prevents foaming in the fluid.
- Long shelf life.
- Works with other fluids too.
- A small container needs 2 to fill the container.
- The boiling point reduces after some time.
7 Bel Silicone Dot 5 Brake Fluid
The Bel-Ray Brake Fluid is formulated for hydraulic brake systems. It is a Dot-5 Fluid; therefore, it is compatible with superior braking performance. It can be used in racing vehicles that require extreme conditions for braking.
It has a dry boiling point of 260 °C and a wet boiling point of 185 °C. This Dot-5 brake fluid is formulated to exceed all of the Dot-5 specifications.
This brake fluid is unique. You cannot mix it with Dot-3 or Dot-4 brake fluids. But it is compatible with all the Dot-5 fluids; you can mix it with them to increase the performance.
If you want to change your vehicle’s fluid to Bel-Ray Silicone Dot-5 Brake Fluid, here’s what you should do.
First, you will have to perform a complete system flush of the old brake fluid. After that, make sure there is no brake fluid of the other category left inside. Then you can add this fluid to the brake fluid container.
You can use it in almost all brake systems such as the drum or disc hydraulic brake systems. But you can’t use it in any system that uses mineral-based fluids, such as LHM. It is suitable for your car’s body and won’t cause corrosion or rust in the brake system.
Dot-5 Brake Fluid won’t absorb moisture and reduce the performance of the braking system. That is not the only problem a braking system faces, vapor building also reduces its performance. To overcome this, Bel-Ray’s Fluid has resistance to vapor formation even at high temperatures. This minimizes the potential for vapor lock and subsequent loss of braking power.
While it is a comparatively better braking fluid, it’s the packaging isn’t up to the standards. The fluid containing the bottle may open up during transportation and leak.
- Anti-rust and anti-corrosion.
- Anti-vapor fluid.
- Will not absorb moisture.
- Fluid containers may leak while delivering.
- Not compatible with Dot-3 or Dot-4 fluids.
8 Endless Racing Brake Fluid Rf
For high-speed racing and traveling long distances, consider the Endless Racing Brake Fluid RF-650. With a high dry boiling point and low moisture absorption, this formula will stand the test of time and temperature.
This is a DOT 5.1 brake fluid, which utilizes a poly-glycol base and is widely used all around the automotive industry. It’s suitable for use by racecars and high-performance automobiles that have an antilock braking system. You can also use it for regular passenger cars.
To ensure the fluid doesn’t dilute over time, it only absorbs moisture equal to 2% of its volume annually. And when it’s dry, it has a higher boiling point of 323 degrees Celsius. So most engines and braking systems will be able to handle it.
But once it acquires moisture, its boiling point will be lowered, which means it may experience burning and deterioration. What’s good to know, however, is that the RF-650 is able to maintain its dry boiling point to a considerable degree. This is mainly because it tends to absorb less moisture over time.
On the other side of the spectrum, the RF-650 can survive lower temperatures as well. To be more specific, it will remain fluid and resistant to changes in density down to -40 degrees Celsius. You don’t have to worry about your brake jamming during the winter.
In addition to that…
The Endless Racing Brake Fluid has superior compressibility, allowing for a stiffer brake pedal feel.
This solution is completely clear though, so identifying potential leaks may be harder. Much like DOTs 3 and 4, this RF-650 formula will damage your paint job.
As for corrosion, consider the fact that the glycol-based formula will be less corrosive as compared to a typical silicone brake fluid.
- Absorbs moisture at a low rate.
- Maintains a dry boiling point.
- Made for high-performance racecars.
- Good for the winters.
- Less corrosive to your brakes.
- Leaks will be harder to identify.
- Damages paint.
9 Mag1 Premium Dot 3 Brake Fluid
For regular day-to-day driving and touring, you’ll be much happier with the MAG1 120 Premium Brake Fluid. It has a moderately placed dry boiling point, as well as a low moisture absorption rate. And much like other glycol-based formulae, won’t corrode your braking system.
Being a DOT 3 formula, you can expect it to be high-performance. It has a dry boiling point of 255 degrees Celsius. This should be enough considering engines don’t get that hot at normal driving conditions.
You get an all-time low moisture absorption rate of just 2% annually. Your brake fluid is less likely to vaporize inside the brake lines.
But here’s a catch…
It has a minimum wet boiling point of 140 degrees Celsius. So it won’t be good once it has acquired moisture, a common occurrence throughout brake fluids. However, it will fare well under stressful conditions.
For instance, when you drive at temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius. The MAG1 stays fluid at that temperature, with a Kinematic Viscosity of just 1189 centistokes.
Since it has a poly-glycol base, it can be mixed with DOT 4 and DOT 5.1 fluids. However, it is recommended to always get a professional to do this.
The glycol-based formula also translates to lower corrosion as compared to the silicone ones. And it complies with FMVSS and SAE requirements for DOT 3 brake fluids.
However, since it’s not a DOT 5.1, you can’t use it for high-performance cars and racing. For that, you need stronger brake fluid that can provide a crisper braking experience. It also tends to damage the paint. So be careful where and how you apply it.
Last but not the least…
This is a 32-ounce bottle great for applications in passenger cars for commuting and traveling.
- Does not corrode the braking system.
- Low moisture absorption rate.
- Meets FMVSS and SAE requirements.
- Works in the winter as well.
- Good for passenger cars.
- Damages paint.
- You cannot use it in high-speed cars.
Best Brake Fluid Buying Guide
This is by far the most major characteristic you should factor in your purchase. DOTs are simply names for different types of brake fluids which are meant for different applications.
- DOT 3
This poly-glycol-based brake fluid is suitable for passenger cars and traveling vehicles. It absorbs moisture equal to 2% of its original volume per year. And generally has a lower dry boiling point of around 200-250 C and a wet boiling point of 140-155 CELSIUS. You can can readily mix it with DOT 4 and 5.1 brake fluids since it has the same base as them.
- DOT 4
This poly-glycol-based brake fluid is made for those cars that have to climb steep hills. It has a similar dry and wet boiling point as DOT 3 and can be mixed with DOT 3 and 5.1. Be careful when handling it though, as it is corrosive towards the paint.
- DOT 5
This synthetic blend fluid uses a silicone base. It does not absorb any moisture throughout its lifetime and is suitable for racecars. Its dry boiling point is around 260 C, and the wet boiling point is around 180 CELSIUS. However, there are three things you should note before buying it. It’s not for those cars that feature an antilock braking system. It causes a lot of corrosion to the brake lines. And you cannot safely mix it with the other DOT types, as it has a different base.
- DOT 5.1
while it may seem like another version of DOT 5, is completely different. It’s based on poly-glycol and can be readily mixed with other brake fluids, save for DOT 5. And it’s suitable for use by race cars and high-performance vehicles.
When dry, it can survive temperatures as high as 260 CELSIUS. and when wet, it can make it up to 180 CELSIUS. After that, it will start to evaporate. Moreover, it absorbs 2% of moisture annually. But the best part is that it won’t corrode your braking system.
Boiling points are important considerations when dealing with any fluid relating to your car. Brake fluids have two boiling points: dry and wet. The dry boiling point is the boiling point of the pure fluid, with no water added to it. And the wet boiling point is that with a certain amount of water added to it.
You want both these boiling points to be relatively higher. However, even in the best brake fluids, they will hardly be more than 300 to 350 degrees Celsius. And the wet boiling point can be as low as 140 degrees Celsius. It is crucial to note, however, that the wet boiling point mentioned on the datasheet is the one with max water content.
This is another important factor slightly related to the boiling points. This is the rate at which the brake fluid absorbs moisture. DOTs 3, 4, and 5.1 all absorb 2% of their volume in moisture every year. DOT 5 doesn’t absorb any moisture.
When your brake fluid acquires more moisture, its boiling point will get lower. And there will come a point where it will completely evaporate on regular engine operation.
Viscosity And Fluidity
Lastly, consider how viscous or fluid the brake fluid is. You don’t want it to be too viscous. At room temperature, you want it to as fluid as possible. This is because, the more fluid it is at higher temperatures, the more fluid it will remain at lower temperatures.
Most brake fluids provide their viscosity as Kinematic Viscosity. And the unit is centistokes.
Brake fluid is one of the most essentials components for healthy vehicle operation. You should change your brake fluid every two years or so.
While we were looking at the best brake fluids, we found that the Endless Racing RF-650 topped them all. This is mainly because of its versatility. It’s a DOT 5.1 brake fluid, which can not only be used in passenger cars but also in sports cars. The only time you shouldn’t use it is if your car doesn’t use an antilock braking system.
It absorbs minimal moisture each year and will save you tons of expensive oil changes. Plus, it’s a great candidate for brake oil mixing, something that professionals love to get into.
But it’s still a clear fluid, which means you won’t be able to notice leaks. But you can very clearly notice burning and yellowing in it, which is pretty nice.