How Often Should I Change the Brake Fluid in My Toyota?

When it comes to car maintenance, you know how important it is to have your oil changed to keep your engine running smoothly and why you need to rotate your tires regularly to keep them wearing evenly. But what about your brake maintenance, specifically how often should you change the brake fluid in your Toyota? To provide you with some clarity on the topic, our Toyota repair shop in Raleigh is sharing what you need to know.

What Does Brake Fluid Do?

First, why is brake fluid so important? Basically, this is a chemical solution used in a hydraulic brake system that won’t compress under pressure, so when you push the brake pedal, it pressurizes the fluid so that it multiplies the force you’re applying. Without it, even all your weight on the pedal wouldn’t be enough to bring your car to a full stop. 
 

In order to be effective, brake fluid must have three qualities: 

  1. Proper viscosity so it can flow through the brake lines and is pressurized enough to compress onto the pistons that push the brake pads against the rotor.  

  2. A high boiling point so that when friction heats it up, it won’t vaporize.

  3. Prevent brake line corrosion, which it does through specific additives. 

How Often Should I Change the Brake Fluid in a Toyota

So, knowing what it does, is it important to change it? Yes. First, brake fluid is hygroscopic - it absorbs moisture from the air. While your brakes are technically a closed system, microscopic holes and poor seals mean moisture will, over time, collect in the brake fluid. This destabilizes the viscosity and decreases the boiling point. Additionally, the additives designed to prevent corrosion within the brake lines break down making corrosion unavoidable if left unchanged. 
 

So, how often do you need to change the brake fluid in your Toyota? Fortunately, not very often. Typically, every 20,000 miles is sufficient, though older model cars or ones with high city mileage may need it more often as there may be more wear in the lines that allow moisture to get in. 

Signs You Need Your Toyota’s Brake Fluid Changed

If it’s been a long time, or you’re simply not sure if you need your brake fluid changed, here are a few signs that let you know it’s time to take it in.

Check the Brake Fluid Reservoir

When you check your brake fluid reservoir on top of the master cylinder, you can see what color it is. If it’s murky, dark, or sludgy looking, it’s probably overdue for a flush.

Soft Pedal

When there’s less brake fluid in the lines, you’ll find there is more “squish” in the brakes and you’ll need to press the pedal harder to pressurize the fluid. It could be a sign of old brake pads, but it could also be a sign of a fluid leak. 

Old Brake Pads

If your brake pads need to be changed, you probably need to replace the brake fluid too. As the pads wear down, it requires more fluid to create enough pressure to affect the brake pads and can lead to it breaking down more quickly. 

Oily Leak Under the Car 

Brake fluid can leak from the hoses, around the calipers, and from the master cylinder and it has a slightly oily feel to it. If you notice a leak under your car, have it checked out immediately as this could be a serious safety issue. 
 

While these are just a few signs, the best course of action is to have it checked by an experienced professional who can determine if you need a flush and other components of your brakes and make sure everything is in proper working order.

Schedule Toyota Brake Service in Raleigh Today

At Reliable Imports, we provide in-depth inspections and comprehensive maintenance solutions to keep your vehicle running its best. To schedule brake service in Raleigh for your import, give us a call at (919) 324-3019 or fill out the form below to make an appointment. 

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Brakes

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Toyota
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