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#2448875 - 11/30/11 12:12 AM Recommended brake fluid brands?
MisterBen Offline


Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 128
Loc: WA
I am looking to do a brake fluid flush on my truck in the near future. I was at O'Reilly's tonight, and all they had was their house brand and Prestone Synthetic DOT 3. They had another brand of DOT 4 I didn't recognize.

Are there any recommended DOT 3 brake fluid brands, or is any fluid certified to fit requirements good to go?

Also, how much do I need to do a fluid flush? In the house brand I could get up to a gallon.


Edited by MisterBen (11/30/11 12:13 AM)

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#2448882 - 11/30/11 12:25 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
Towncivilian Offline


Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 918
Loc: Florida, USA
Any fluid should be fine as they all meet the minimum standards. I'd still purchase a known brand however. All brake fluid is synthetic as well, if it's on the label it's just a marketing ploy. DOT4 is compatible with all DOT3 systems and has higher boiling points, so use that. I'd get a quart to be safe - you certainly won't need a gallon. Half a quart is all I used for my Pathfinder, but YMMV of course. Brake fluid is hygroscopic (it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere), so having most of a gallon sitting around isn't such a wise idea. I'd always purchase fresh brake fluid when doing a brake flush.
_________________________
2001.5 Pathfinder SE 3.5L A/T 2WD - ML NG 5W-30/PL14610
2007 Altima S - PU 5W-30/M1-110
2009 G5 - PU 5W-30/XG9018
2012 G37 S - ST 5W-30/PL14612

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#2448884 - 11/30/11 12:28 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
HTSS_TR Offline


Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 12175
Loc: Irvine, CA
Any brand name brake fluid is good to use, as long as you do a flush via bleeder screws every 2-3 years or a little longer. I use Preston DOT-3 in all my cars without any problem.
_________________________
'94 LS400
'00 E430
'04 S2000
"Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry" Pop Francis

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#2449007 - 11/30/11 08:20 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
beast3300 Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Posts: 2920
Loc: Ohio
Cheapest available that is unopened from a store.
_________________________
'03 Regal GS L67: PU 5w30, P1 24011

'98 Regal GS: body scrapped.

'99 Grand Prix L36: Pennzoil Dexos blend 5w30/PF52E

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#2449008 - 11/30/11 08:23 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
Char Baby Online   content


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 6579
Loc: Rochester NY
Over the last 20+ years, I have used mostly Super Tech brake fluid from Wal*Mart and when on sale, WearEver brand brake fluid & Advance Auto Parts brand brake fluid, both from AAP as they carry both. I am kind of surprised that AAP carrys two house brands of brake fluid and of course, a couple of name brands as well.
_________________________
"The hurrier you are, the behinder you get!"

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#2449061 - 11/30/11 09:39 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
MCompact Offline


Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 1441
Loc: KY
I only use DOT 4 fluid; ATE Super Blue and ATE Type 200 are good choices, as is Castrol Synthetic DOT 4. I've never used the Valvoline Synthetic DOT 3,4 but I'm sure it would work fine in a street driven car. Ditto for the Prestone Synthetic.
_________________________
2009 328i
2004 X3 2.5
1995 318ti Club Sport
1975 2002A
2007 Mazdaspeed3
1999 Wrangler Sahara
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#2449082 - 11/30/11 10:17 AM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
scurvy Offline


Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 2243
Loc: Chicago IL USA
Ditto on DOT 4 or better only. I've used Ate Type 200, Valvoline Synthetic, Prestone Synthetic & Castrol LMA and all have performed very well. Don't worry about the DOT 3/4 nonsense, if it's DOT 4 then it exceeds all the DOT 3 specifications for boiling point. As Towncivillian said, all DOT 3 & 4 is "synthetic". Pointing it out on the label is marketing hooey.

FWIW, I don't like using straight Ate Super Blue as it will stain the reservoir & lines so many subsequent fluid changes will still come out blue. Cutting it 50/50 seems to do the trick - it's plenty blue enough to see the new fluid and the color in the reservoir but not blue enough to stain the system.

Whatever you choose, use an unopened container and flush it every two years until it runs bright & clear at each of the bleeders. A Motive power bleeder is astoundingly handy to have for that task.
_________________________
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

2006 VW Golf TDI - Frankenblend 5w40ish, HU726/2x, EaBP90
2012 Mazda 5 - M1 0W20, PL10241

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#2449208 - 11/30/11 12:31 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
MisterBen Offline


Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 128
Loc: WA
Thanks for all the info! I'll pick up DOT 4 then, I thought I read somewhere that there was an issue of some sort with DOT 4. I don't remember the brand of DOT 4 they had, but maybe I'll stop by somewhere else. It wasn't a readily recognizable brand.

What about DOT 5? They only had little bottles of that stuff, I didn't even look at it.

I thought about getting a power bleeder, but the truck will actually pump the brake fluid out the rear brakes for you (and maybe the front, I can't remember). I just have to have someone push the pedal for me.

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#2449231 - 11/30/11 12:51 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
rslifkin Offline


Registered: 06/27/10
Posts: 2153
Loc: Stamford, CT / Rochester, NY
DOT 5 is silicone based and not compatible. DOT 5.1 is compatible with 3 and 4, however, IIRC.
_________________________
1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited with Heads/Cam/Headers/Exhaust/Tune/Shift Kit (165k miles, bought with 100k)
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#2449255 - 11/30/11 01:29 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
scurvy Offline


Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 2243
Loc: Chicago IL USA
rslifkin has it correct - DOT 3 & 4 are hygroscopic, that is, they absorb moisture. This is important in a 'sealed' system so you don't get a puddle of free water in the reservoir, or worse, at the caliper. Severe rusting, bad braking performance, early fade, wailing, gnashing of teeth will occur.

For systems designed for DOT 5, it works great. It is a silicone-based fluid that is purposefully not miscible with water. Water will pool and collect in this systems filled with this fluid instead of being absorbed.

And for some [censored] reason, they decided to call the stuff that's super duper better than DOT 4... DOT 5.1! So 3/4/5.1 are miscible with each other but DOT 5 is not.

Every vehicle will automatically pump the fluid through the system if you have someone pressing the brake pedal grin2 ... it's called 'using the brakes'. The Motive lets one person bleed all the calipers quickly. I can do a mk4 VW in half an hour without getting it up on jackstands or a lift. Probably even quicker for a truck as getting to the bleeder screws would likely be far easier.
_________________________
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

2006 VW Golf TDI - Frankenblend 5w40ish, HU726/2x, EaBP90
2012 Mazda 5 - M1 0W20, PL10241

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#2449344 - 11/30/11 04:00 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
Ken2 Offline


Registered: 12/02/02
Posts: 5930
Loc: Washington St.
DOT5.1 is very close to the performance temperature of DOT5, but similar chemical composition to DOT3 & 4.

I strongly disagree with the "any brand that meets minimim spec" plan. There are a few brands that exceed the minimum, and in an emergency braking situation you might need that extra margin. ATE is excellent. Castrol LMA is very good. The rep on Ford's DOT3 is that it is superior when new & dry but drops way off when exposed to humidity.
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched..a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.
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#2449443 - 11/30/11 05:39 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
UG_Passat Offline


Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 961
Loc: NJ
I personally use ATE fluid.

btw... Super Blue isn't DOT approved, due to the blue dye.

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#2449447 - 11/30/11 05:42 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
dailydriver Offline


Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 6525
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
Originally Posted By: MisterBen
Thanks for all the info! I'll pick up DOT 4 then, I thought I read somewhere that there was an issue of some sort with DOT 4.


Some people used to claim that the street use, on the shelf DOT 4 fluids took on moisture at a quicker rate than the equivalent DOT 3 spec stuff, despite the DOT 4 having a significantly higher wet boiling point than the 3.

I personally have never believed that, and will use the highest wet boiling point DOT 4 fluid I can afford/procure, but STILL flush it out every year, for excess' sake (although I am told that the Motul RBF 600 I use SHOULD be changed out every year anyway).
_________________________
2000 Z28 1SC 6 speed 165K HARD miles!
Sustina 0W-20, M1 0W-40 (60/40 mix), Amsoil EaO 64 filter
Millers CRX 75-140 NT/4oz. XL-3, RL MTL, 11S

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#2449467 - 11/30/11 06:03 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
MisterBen Offline


Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 128
Loc: WA
Thanks for all the info!

The truck is a 2009 Tacoma. When you have the truck ignition on and someone steps on the brakes and holds, the ABS unit pumps fluid out the rear bleeders for you. No pumping of the breaks required. Just close the bleeder when it stops blowing air/starts blowing new fluid.

However, I think the manual said the Toyota repair tool (plugs into OBD port) stops the pump after a few seconds to prevent damage.

I saw the Castrol LMA, but got some Valvoline Pyroil DOT 4. It had a higher boil point than anything else on the shelf. It also said it had the same "LMA" properties (according to the label) that Castrol mentions. I don't remember what the LMA stood for. The Castrol said 311* minimum boil, and the Pyroil said 343*. I could only buy the Castrol in little bottles, which made it cost a little more.

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#2449561 - 11/30/11 07:55 PM Re: Recommended brake fluid brands? [Re: MisterBen]
scurvy Offline


Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 2243
Loc: Chicago IL USA
LMA = low moisture activity
_________________________
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

2006 VW Golf TDI - Frankenblend 5w40ish, HU726/2x, EaBP90
2012 Mazda 5 - M1 0W20, PL10241

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