12 Best Brake Fluids in 2019 – Reviews and Buying Guide
It is rightly said that one is accountable to their own security. And when it is about your automobile, you have to be certain with the safety when on the road and a good way to do this is by always using the best brake fluid.
Brake fluid is essential for transferring power to the brakes to ensure the vehicle stops when you want it to. But despite its lifesaving tendency, many car owners make the mistake of overlooking it and will settle for any they come across.
However, with the many good brake fluid from top vehicle consumable brands you should not settle for anything short of the best.
And in this piece we help make shopping for brake fluid more effortless with reviews of 12 top-rated brake fluid options and by highlighting what you need to look for when shopping.
- 12 Best Brake Fluids – Reviews
- 1. Motul MTL100949 – Best Overall
- 2. Castrol 12614 – Best DOT 4 Brake Fluid
- 3. ATE 706202 – Best Brake Fluid for Racing Vehicles
- 4. Wilwood 290-6209 – Top Notch Quality Racing Brake Fluid
- 5. Castrol SRF 12512 – High End Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid
- 6. Prestone AS401 – Reliable DOT 3 Brake Fluid
- 7. Motul 100951 – Unbeatable DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid
- 8. Castrol 12509 – Inexpensive and Reliable
- 9. Mag 1 120 – Premium Quality DOT 3 Brake Fluid
- 10. Toyota 00475-1BF03 – Dependable and Durable Brake Fluid by Toyota
- 11. Niteo M4512/6-6PK – Super Heavy Duty
- 12. Lucas Oil 10826 – An Inexpensive Synthetic Brake Fluid you Can Depend On
- Type of Brake Fluids
- Best Car Brake Fluids Buying Guide
12 Best Brake Fluids – Reviews
1. Motul MTL100949 (Best Overall)
2. Castrol 12614 (Best DOT 4 Brake Fluid)
3. ATE 706202 (Best Brake Fluid for Racing Vehicles)
4. Wilwood 290-6209 (Top Notch Quality Racing Brake Fluid)
5. Castrol SRF 12512 (High End Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid)
6. Prestone AS401 (Reliable DOT 3 Brake Fluid)
7. Motul 100951 (Unbeatable DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid)
8. Castrol 12509 (Inexpensive and Reliable)
9. Mag 1 120 (Premium Quality DOT 3 Brake Fluid)
10. Toyota 00475-1BF03 (Dependable and Durable Brake Fluid by Toyota)
11. Niteo M4512/6-6PK (Super Heavy Duty)
12. Lucas Oil 10826 (An Inexpensive Synthetic Brake Fluid you Can Depend On)
1. Motul MTL100949
2. Castrol 12614
(Best DOT 4 Brake Fluid)
3. ATE 706202
(Best Brake Fluid for Racing Vehicles)
4. Wilwood 290-6209
(Top Notch Quality Racing Brake Fluid)
5. Castrol SRF 12512
(High End Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid)
6. Prestone AS401
(Reliable DOT 3 Brake Fluid)
7. Motul 100951
(Unbeatable DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid)
8. Castrol 12509
(Inexpensive and Reliable)
9. Mag 1 120
(Premium Quality DOT 3 Brake Fluid)
10. Toyota 00475-1BF03
(Dependable and Durable Brake Fluid by Toyota)
11. Niteo M4512/6-6PK
(Super Heavy Duty)
12. Lucas Oil 10826
(An Inexpensive Synthetic Brake Fluid you Can Depend On)
1. Motul MTL100949 – Best Overall
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
This brake fluid from Motul is a Dot 4 non-silicon synthetic racing fluid that has been doing splendidly well among the customers. And it also has a higher boiling point (312 degrees centigrade) than many others in its class.
This top-rated brake fluid comes in a 500 ml bottle which is sufficient for multiple uses. It keeps the automobile brake away from rusting or corrosion and it is ideal for hydraulic actuated brakes and clutch system.
Since it is a DOT 4 fluid type, this means that the fluid will stands on its tag of being a racing brake fluid and it offers great stability and thermal resistance.
And the vapor-lock phenomenon of this fluid does not let corrosion or rusting sit on your brake system. '
Given its price, there seems to be a smaller quantity of product on the bottle but it should still be enough for several uses.
2. Castrol 12614 – Best DOT 4 Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Castrol is undeniably one of the best brake fluid brand in the market. It has manufactured many high-quality products that satisfy the needs of millions of customers across the globe and this DOT 4 fluid is top notch quality.
This model is a synthetic brake fluid with DOT 3 and 4 specifications which means that it is mainly made of polyglycols. It can be pretty good for the high-performance cars. Plus, the fluid works best under any kind of high temperature situation.
This efficient brake fluid helps in multiplying the applied force and deliver swiftly as you apply the brakes. It is all due to the rich composition of the fluid that this one performs so well.
You can create a blend of the fluid by mixing it with others in the family such as 3, 4, or even 5.1 for more enhanced performance.
For regular driving vehicles, this might not be the best brake fluid for you but if you drive a more powerful or high-efficiency vehicle it will be perfect.
3. ATE 706202 – Best Brake Fluid for Racing Vehicles
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
For anyone who is searching for top grade brake fluid that will be perfect for racing vehicles, this product from ATE is the perfect solution. This product is DOT 4 and comes in a 1-liter container.
This product gives the power to the brake, especially to the vehicle’s hydraulics to ensure the most dependable braking service.
This one has excellent water binding capabilities; the fluid ensures that the boiling point is retained for maximum fluidity. Plus, this one will never let corrosion built-up in the braking system.
The boiling point of this fluid is also commendable. All thanks to the heat stable formulation and pouring and bleeding it is also easy as it is non-foaming.
This brake fluid will need to be bled a little too soon than most others on our brake fluid reviews but it should still last at least a couple of years.
4. Wilwood 290-6209 – Top Notch Quality Racing Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
If you want to feed your car with something that can go beyond the conventional standards of SAE and DOT fluids then the Wilwood 290-6209 is an ideal solution.
The high boiling point and high temperature endurance make this one of the best racing brake fluids. The wet boiling point of 417 F and dry boiling point of 500 F are pretty amazing figures for a brake fluid.
Moreover, this one can resist water and air build up in the brake system so that it can stay clear from corrosion and other kinds of abrasion.
This brake fluid provides a lot of braking power for the driver and the seamless lubrication ensures that you enjoy every ride with utmost security.
Although this brake fluid might not work very well for non-racing vehicles and it is a little pricier for such as small bottle for racing vehicles both the price and quantity are still good enough.
5. Castrol SRF 12512 – High End Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.9 / 5)
If you just don’t want to compromise with the quality of the fluid or the brand manufacturing it then this one from Castrol is the ideal choice.
This product exceeds the combined specifications of DOT 3 and 4 and comes in a huge packing that can serve you for a long time.
The wet boiling point of 270 degrees C and dry boiling point of 310 degrees C make this product quite amazing for the buyers. This one is made of exclusive European formula that has exceptionally high boiling point.
The anti-vapor lock keep the vapor to the minimum and will help keep the brake system in good shape.
Given that this brake fluid is way more expensive than most others on our list, some users might find it a little beyond their reach. However, for top quality synthetic brake fluid it is is worth the cost.
6. Prestone AS401 – Reliable DOT 3 Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
If you want to to get DOT 3 brake fluid without spending a lot of cash, the Prestone AS401 is a good buy for you.
It has got the properties of DOT 3 formula and comes in decent capacity of 32 oz and both its dry and wet boiling points exceed the conventional brake fluids.
The DOT 3 formula must be mixed with other polyglycol ethers to make it safe for the car. Otherwise, there is a high possibility that the brake fluid will damage the paint of your car.
This product is best for the extreme brake conditions. It is very easy to use as it pour and bleeds easily with no foaming. And it is formulated to avoid a spongy pedal to ensure you get maximum brake power when you need it.
The packaging seems to need some improvement, and this is more so when it comes to the seal. However, this should not be a deal breaker as it does not affect the quality or effectiveness of the brake fluid.
7. Motul 100951 – Unbeatable DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Motul gives you the freedom to use your car without having to change the brake fluid for at least 2 years with this DOT 5.1 fluid. Technically, it is designed for the racing car because of DOT 5.1 formula in it.
The product offers high performance, and consistency that your car brake system requires. And this brake fluid is suitable for all kinds of heavy-performance vehicles and its dry and wet boiling points are also great
It is a durable brake fluid which is available at suitable price and decent quantity and many users will also appreciate that it is highly stable and consistent.
This brake fluid does not mix with DOT 5 which might be a draw back for some users but it is 100% synthetic brake fluid which means this should be expected.
8. Castrol 12509 – Inexpensive and Reliable
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
It is difficult to expect such an inexpensive product from a brand like Castrol. This fluid has DOT 4 properties and its unique formula is used to boost the performance of the product.
Plus, this one is suitable for the high-performance cars and it offers optimum braking response and mixes easily with other conventional brake fluids.
The wet and dry boiling points are also brilliant, ensuring the high performance of the brake fluid. And you can rely it to work effectively with high temperature braking systems.
There seems to be little product in the bottle but this being the cheapest brake fluid on our list this should not be a biog deal as you can easily buy several bottles without feeling the pinch.
9. Mag 1 120 – Premium Quality DOT 3 Brake Fluid
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
Mag 1 120 is another great option for anyone looking for the best DOT 3 brake fluid and it also comes in good quantity for several uses.
The best part is that the brake fluid features a premium quality formulation and it comprises of all the essential additives to ensure that the fluid can perform well in any temperature conditions.
Also, this is a more heat stable brake fluid that will not produce any harmful vapors and both its wet and dry boiling temperatures are high enough. And it is completely resistant to the formation of corrosion due to water exposure.
While this product is for the basic routine driven cars it might not be good enough for racing cars but it can still work for them
10. Toyota 00475-1BF03 – Dependable and Durable Brake Fluid by Toyota
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
It is hard to imagine getting such an affordable brake fluid from a brand like Toyota. And this is more so given that it is a highly durable and dependable DOT 3 brake fluid.
This product is developed to offer superior performance to the cars with hydraulic clutch system. The boiling points are extreme and thus reduces the vapor lock.
It does not let the brake system to get corroded and provides superior protection to all the components.
This one is certainly available at a decent price but if you compare the cost with the quantity then you might feel a little disappointed. But there should still be enough fluid in the bottle for a couple of uses.
11. Niteo M4512/6-6PK – Super Heavy Duty
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
This product from Motor Medic is another essential choice to make with the properties of DOT 4 and it meets and exceeds most vehicle manufacturer requirements.
It is a heavy-duty brake fluid, designed to be used in heavy duty vehicles and it is considerably affordable and offers splendid performance to the users. The fluid does not harm the brake system at all rather provide it with great power to use the brakes instantly in critical situation.
This DOT 4 brake fluid works well for both disc and drum brake systems and it will always provide superb performance for high temperature braking systems.
The wet and dry boiling points make it suitable for all kind of weather conditions as well. And while the only notable shortcoming for some users is that it will not work for regular cars, that is not what it is meant for.
12. Lucas Oil 10826 – An Inexpensive Synthetic Brake Fluid you Can Depend On
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
Lucas Oil 10826 is another inexpensive but dependable brake fluid made of high quality components with DOT 3 properties and is available in a larger bottle to ensure you use it longer.
The blend of polyethylene glycol and additives ensure the high performance of the product. It is suitable for all kind of vehicles except that you should not consider then for racing cars.
This one is compatible with all kind of brake systems that have rubber components. Plus, it will provide complete protection against corrosion and rusting.
If you don’t want to compromise with the quality of the product then this model is the safest purchase for you as it also offers excellent lubricity.
If you are on the market for a brake fluid for extreme performance this is not it, but for regular driving conditions, it is perfect. And although then packaging could be better it should still not be a deal breaker.
Type of Brake Fluids
To choose the best automotive fluid brake you first need to know the different types available in the market.
Basically, there are 4 prime types of brake fluids which are Dot 3, Dot 4, Dot 5 and Dot 5.1.
#1. DOT 3
The DOT 3 brake fluid is made of poly glycol. It has the wet boiling point of 140 degrees and dry boiling point of 205 degrees C. And it will absorb the moisture at a rate of 2% of the total volume in your car in approximately a year’s time.
This one is basically used for normal everyday drive vehicles or the ones that we use for normal driving. One thing that you must know before buying this type is that it is pretty strong and can easily eat the paint off of your car in case of a spill. Hence, it is better is to mix it with Dot 4 or 5.1 brake fluids before use.
#2. DOT 4
Dot 4 is also poly glycol based and the wet boiling point is 155 degrees whereas the dry boiling point is 230 degrees C.
Just like the DOT 3, this one will also absorb the moisture at the rate of 2%of the total volume. But due to the variation in boiling and points, this is ideal for the bigger cars that are driven at higher altitudes.This fluid is also harsh on the car paint so it is better to mix with DOT 5.1
#3. DOT 5
Unlike the previous 2, the DOT 5 brake fluid is silicon and synthetic blend based. The wet boiling point is 180 degrees and dry boiling point is 260 degrees, making it the best synthetic brake fluid.
It will not absorb the moisture but it can lead to corrosion in the brake line. You are highly discouraged from mixing it with any other type or it can lead to catastrophic results.
DOT 5 one is to be used in cars with antilock brake systems and high-performance vehicles such as racing cars.
#4. DOT 5.1
The DOT 5.1 is made of poly glycol and it has a wet boiling point of 180 degrees and the dry boiling point is 260 degrees C.
Just like DOT 3 and DOT 4, this will also absorb moisture at a rate of 2% of the total quantity in a year. This brake fluid is ideal for use in racing vehicles with ABS braking systems but should not be mixed with the DOT 3 or 4 types.
Best Car Brake Fluids Buying Guide
The best brake fluid for you is one that not only makes driving safer for you but also gives you the best value for money. And finding that perfect one should be easy as you will only need to consider the following important points when shopping.
First of all, it is important to understand the purpose of the brake fluid as they are designed for different situations and vehicle types.
As mentioned in the previous section, there are types of fluids that are used in regularly driven cars whereas others are explicitly for the racing cars.
Hence, once you understand the purpose of the brake fluid it will be easier to match your needs to a certain type and brand.
There are various components that make a brake fluid. These components make sure that the fluid can withstand pressure and high temperature. Hence, before buying any brake fluid you need to understand its constituent components.
Here are some of the most common brake fluid components.
- Polyglycol: This is a solvent and it makes up about 60-90% of the fluid. Polyglycol is the main components and it has less viscosity. This material further contains ethers that enhances the dissolvability of the fluid to allow it to work well in all kinds of temperature conditions.
- Lubricants: Next component is the lubricant which is around 5-30% of the fluid. The lubricant reduces friction resistance and improves the fluidity.
- Additives: These only hold 2-3% of the total volume of the brake fluid. Basically, these comprise of antioxidants and corrosion inhibitors. Additives reduce the oxidative decay of the polyglycols. Other than that, they prevent and reduce the rate of acidic deterioration.
#3. Dry/Wet Boiling Points
The dry and wet boiling points are always indicated in a brake fluid's description as they are crucial determinants of the performance.
Brake fluids are usually rated by the boiling points. The dry is the one that is taken fresh out of the bottle whereas the boiling is one that saturated with moisture.
For those who change the fluid frequently, the dry boiling point is more important whereas the ones that don’t like to change their brake fluid very often, the wet boiling point is more important.
How you use your vehicle or the kind of vehicle you drive also matters. For example, if you own a racing car then high boiling points will be better and most suitable for them.
#4. Water Absorption
The tubes of the brake system are usually made of rubber. And you must note that rubber is porous material. This means that after some time, the tubes will allow water to infiltrate the system.
The boiling point of water is less than than of brake fluid which means that it will instantly convert it into steam, thus damaging the overall brake system.
While purchasing brake fluid, make sure that it has better water absorption so that your brake system can stay clear from corrosion and rusting for long.
The size of the bottle also plays a crucial role, especially when you compare it with the cost.
A good sized bottle with more brake fluid not only ensures you get enough for your vehicle but you also get good value for your money.
Brake fluid is vital for your vehicle to work well and for safe driving. Hence, it is one of those things that you cannot take chances with.
But, finding the best brake fluid for your vehicle should also not be very hard as you only need to watch out for the points highlight above.
And because we also know you do do not have a lot of time to shop around and compare different brake fluid brands, we also make it easier to narrow down your options with our top 12 reviews.