A brake fluid change might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to car servicing, but it’s an absolutely vital step to keep your brakes responsive and your vehicle safe and reliable. Without regular brake fluid changes, contaminated brake fluid can lead to brake failure, which is a serious risk to your safety.
At First Stop, our specialists use the latest equipment to ensure every part of your braking system — from the fluid to the brake pads — is in top condition. Regular brake fluid changes with us will prevent damage, save you money on expensive repairs and ensure your car slows and stops safely every time you brake.
Find your nearest store
Don’t take any risks with your safety. Use our store locator to find your nearest First Stop and take advantage of our free brake fluid checks at select locations.
Why is brake fluid so important?
If oil is the lifeblood of your engine and keeps you going, brake fluid is the lifeblood of your brakes and makes sure you can stop. When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid moves through the brake lines, helping to press the brake pads against the wheels, which makes the car stop.
Brake fluid has to be able to work under high pressure and high heat. Keeping it in good condition means your brakes are more likely to work correctly and safely every time you need them.
The risks of not changing your brake fluid
Over time, the extreme conditions brake fluid is subjected to can lead to moisture contamination in the brake fluid reservoir, which means the brake fluid absorbs water. This, in turn, can cause metal components to rust and corrode, resulting in rust particles in your brake fluid. As your brake fluid ages, it's also likely to be contaminated with debris buildup as the various seals and hoses that make up your brake system shed tiny amounts of rubber over time.
Whatever the exact cause, ageing brake fluid inevitably leads to poor braking performance. In most cases, you can tell simply by pressing the brake pedal: if it feels spongier than it used to, there's a good chance your brake fluid has nearly given up. You might notice that it takes more effort and longer to bring your vehicle to a stop. In some cases, you may even have to pump your brakes just to build up enough pressure for a safe stop.
There's also the dangerous possibility that your brakes could completely fail, which is a frightening prospect at any speed. This can happen if the brake fluid reaches its boiling point under operation — which becomes far more likely if that boiling point was artificially lowered through moisture contamination.
With all these potential risks in mind, regular brake fluid changes are critical to keep your entire braking system working properly. If your brake fluid isn’t changed regularly, you can easily end up with a dangerous vehicle, costly repairs and a failed MOT. At First Stop, we make sure your brake fluid is clean and at the right level so you can rely on your brakes every time you need them.
When should brake fluid be changed?
Following roughly the same schedule as changing the brake disks and pads, most car manufacturers recommend changing brake fluid every two years or 24,000 miles, but this can vary depending on your car and how you drive. Check your owner’s manual or ask your local First Stop technicians to find out how often the brake fluid needs changing for your specific make and model.
During a brake fluid inspection, our fully qualified technicians will check your brake fluid to see if it needs replacing. If it does need to be changed, they will drain the old fluid and then refill the system with new brake fluid to the correct specification. Brake fluid should never be topped up as its properties are reduced if new is mixed with old. Many vehicles also measure wear on the pads or disks by the level of the brake fluid; topping up the fluid means the vehicle will not report this wear.
Rest assured that your old fluid is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way after a brake fluid change at First Stop.
How much does a brake fluid change cost?
Just like other maintenance services, the price of a brake fluid change can vary depending on your car’s make and model. At First Stop, we offer fair and affordable prices with no hidden fees to help you plan your car maintenance budget effectively.
As always, you can expect a professional approach and expertise to guarantee your safety on the road, as well as high-quality products from leading brands and a warm welcome at your local centre. Our continuous equipment investment programme also makes First Stop one of the most technologically advanced networks in the UK.
For an exact price and to book a brake fluid change, contact your nearest First Stop.
Should brake fluid be changed before or after brake pads?
It's a common question with a straightforward answer. In short, timing doesn't necessarily matter, but keeping both in check does. Brake fluid can absorb moisture, impacting your braking system’s performance over time. While it doesn’t need to be changed at the exact same time as your brake pads, it's wise to check and replace it (if needed) during pad changes to ensure smooth and safe braking. Your local First Stop technicians can keep you on the right track.