Braking fluid is not a very interesting subject. However, it’s worth spending a little time and research on finding the best brake fluid for you and your car. This will ensure you don’t spend more than you need or put a brake fluid into your vehicle that’s simply not up to the job.
The kind of car and driving you do will very much dictate the kind of brake fluid you will need. We have covered all areas of driving, so there should be at least one brake fluid on our list compatible with your car or truck.
So, let’s get to it and find the perfect brake fluid for you…
- 1 Top 8 Best Brake Fluid on the Market in 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 Motul Factory Line Dot-4 100 Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid – Best Brake Fluid for High Altitude
- 1.2 2 Castrol SRF Racing Brake Fluid – Best Brake Fluid for Racing
- 1.3 3 ATE Original TYP 200 Racing Quality DOT 4 Brake Fluid – Most Affordable Dot 4 Brake Fluid
- 1.4 4 Motive Products – 1820 Power Bleeder Brake Fluid Catch Bottle Kit – Best Brake Bleeding Kit
- 1.5 5 Prestone AS400 DOT3 Synthetic Brake Fluid – Best Value Everyday Brake Fluid
- 1.6 6 Finish Line High-Performance DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid – Best Bicycle Brake Fluid
- 1.7 7 Endless Racing Brake Fluid RF 650 – Top Performance Brake Fluid
- 1.8 8 MAG1 120 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid – Best Consistent Brake Fluid for Top Ups
- 2 Best Brake Fluid Buying Guide
- 3 Braking Matters
- 4 What do we think is the Best Brake Fluid?
Top 8 Best Brake Fluid on the Market in 2021 Reviews
1 Motul Factory Line Dot-4 100 Percent Synthetic Racing Brake Fluid – Best Brake Fluid for High Altitude
Motul seems like it has been around forever and is one of the most respected automotive industry names. It is the choice of everyday drivers and professionals alike. You can be assured the quality of their products is top-notch.
Cost savings to be had…
This brake fluid comes in 500ml containers as a two-pack. You have a good selection of different bundles. Although the twelve-pack is the best deal, the five-pack is not very far behind. It would be our choice for the best saving at a lower volume.
This is a DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid. This means that it’s ideal for use in normal driving conditions, and it’s also a good choice if you drive at higher altitudes.
It’s a 100% synthetic brake fluid with a wet boiling point of 204 degrees Celsius and a dry boiling point of 312 degrees Celsius. The high boiling points are instrumental in preventing brake fade and also in increasing recovery times. We’re sure you’ll all agree that these are important features for any brake fluid.
Intelligent packaging except for one shortfall…
To improve the shelf life and also to eliminate the possibility of any contamination, the bottles are filled with nitrogen. It’s a neat idea, and although a lot of competitors do this, we’re not sure why it’s not universal.
There’s not much not to like here, but we do have one minor complaint. That’s the design of the bottle. It’s not the best for pouring. Given that this stuff is highly corrosive for just about anything it touches, it’s a complaint destined to land in our moans and niggles section.
- Assured quality.
- Ideal for normal driving conditions.
- High dry boiling point.
- Suitable for use at high altitudes.
- Minimal brake fade.
- Good recovery times.
- Nitrogen filled.
- Bottles are badly designed for pouring.
2 Castrol SRF Racing Brake Fluid – Best Brake Fluid for Racing
Castrol is arguably the biggest name in engine oils and fluids. It is a massive player on the global market and the frequent go-to-choice of professional racing drivers. The technology and advancements gained from the racing world are then frequently trickled down to the fluids we use as everyday drivers.
Exceeding standard requirements…
Castrol SRF Racing Brake Fluid exceeds both DOT 3 and DOT 4 specifications. It’s an excellent option for use in a racing environment. However, it should be noted that whilst it will provide you with superior braking in a race setting, there are still higher performance options. If you need the very best in a high-performance brake fluid, you should check out Castrol’s DOT 5 and DOT 5.1 alternatives.
Back to this particular product…
Castrol SRF Racing Brake Fluid has a high dry and wet boiling point. These are 310 degrees Celsius and 270 degrees Celsius, respectively. The dry boiling point is much higher than most competitive DOT 3 and DOT 4 braking fluids.
Best in class…
This high dry boiling point significantly reduces brake fade under hard braking and also helps to prevent vapor lock. This all makes it possibly the greatest brake fluid in its class for motor enthusiasts.
As would be expected with anything containing the word ‘Racing’ in its description, this is undoubtedly best for drivers that are involved in the hard kind of driving typically associated with racing. The price is much higher than other DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluids, and so is likely to deter everyday drivers from using it anyway.
- Ideal for racing.
- High quality.
- Very high dry boiling point.
- Excellent brake fade reduction properties.
- Quality anti-vapor locking characteristics.
3 ATE Original TYP 200 Racing Quality DOT 4 Brake Fluid – Most Affordable Dot 4 Brake Fluid
ATE’s DOT 4 Brake Fluid comes in a one-liter tin. For a DOT 4 brake fluid, it’s very well priced. There’s no doubt that this is one of the most keenly priced brake fluids in this category. For the more budget-conscious motorist, you should consider the ten multi-pack that offers considerable savings.
Who can use this?
It can be used for hard driving and those involved in motorsport. It has a high dry boiling point of 280 degrees Celsius and a wet boiling point of 190 degrees Celsius. The formula meets both SAE J1703 and FMVSS 116 standards for a DOT 4 brake fluid.
Features you can expect include; low levels of brake fading under heavy braking, coupled with excellent recovery. While these are qualities that are very much desirable under everyday driving conditions, they are essential in competitive motorsport.
Effective water locking…
The unique formula is highly effective as far as its water locking properties are concerned. Other great features include the fact that it has a very high tolerance to steam bubbles. Plus, it protects against corrosion due to the inclusion of special additives.
All of this helps to improve longevity. This means that you can go long periods between brake fluid changes. Three-year intervals are not beyond the realms of possibility. Ultimately, this is a considerable time and money saver.
Now, who wouldn’t want that?
- High dry boiling point.
- Resistant to steam bubbles.
- Anti-corrosive qualities.
- Long-life properties.
- Good value.
- Clear color makes fluid change more difficult.
4 Motive Products – 1820 Power Bleeder Brake Fluid Catch Bottle Kit – Best Brake Bleeding Kit
This is a kit to help you bleed your brakes at home. Please note, the bottles in the kit do not contain brake fluid. You need to purchase the brake fluid separately.
So, what’s in the kit?
The kit contains two 500ml bottles. The tops are specially designed to house the integrated caps and tubing. This tubing is made to attach to most kinds of bleed screws, though maybe a little large for smaller systems. Additionally, the caps have a thin wire lanyard to hang the bottle while you’re working.
The Motive Power Bleeder Brake Fluid Catch Bottle Kit is made so that even a sole mechanic can bleed the brakes. Therefore, this is a great purchase that enables you to change a previous two-person job into a one-person job. It’s potentially a lot of time and hassle saved all around.
The kit also has the benefit that it prevents unwanted spillage. In other words, you can happily say goodbye to all the brake fluid spills on your garage floor. We’re sure you’ll agree that’s something well worth having.
Although the price can seem relatively high for what appears to be just a couple of bottles and tubes, it can be easily justified when you count the time saved benefit alone. We believe the kit is an excellent addition to the Motive line-up and any garage.
- Allow for one-handed brake bleeding.
- Wire lanyards.
- Tubes will fit most screw valves.
- Prevent spillage.
- The tubes may be too large for tiny screw valves.
5 Prestone AS400 DOT3 Synthetic Brake Fluid – Best Value Everyday Brake Fluid
This is an excellent everyday brake fluid from a well-known and trusted brand. It is DOT 3 certified and complies with all the specifications of a DOT 3 brake fluid. Fully complying with 116 safety standards and meets SAE J1703 requirements. The fact is that they don’t only meet these standards, but they also exceed them by a very comfortable margin.
Ideal for normal driving conditions…
The dry boiling point is 238 degrees Celsius, and the wet boiling point is 140 degrees Celsius. Although this falls a relatively long way short of some of the brake fluids we have already reviewed, it still makes them very capable of coping under usual driving conditions.
Prestone AS400 DOT 3 Synthetic Brake Fluid is made from a combination of poly-glycol ethers. This mix ensures that no dangerous vapors emit during braking.
The fluid is designed for all kinds of braking systems. It is compatible with any type or age of vehicle. Additionally, it’s also OK to use with ABS braking systems.
This is a reliable product to use in everyday driving. But best of all is its super keen price. Regardless of whether you choose to buy just a 12-ounce bottle or a pack of six, you’re still going to get a great deal.
- Exceeds DOT 3 brake fluid requirements.
- Does not emit toxic vapor.
- Consistent and reliable quality.
- Keen price.
- Fragile bottle and cap.
6 Finish Line High-Performance DOT 5.1 Brake Fluid – Best Bicycle Brake Fluid
This is one for our cycling brothers and sisters. It comes in a four-ounce bottle, which is probably a good indication that it was never destined for use in a car or truck.
Let us explain…
Riding on two wheels can be a dangerous business, and being able to stop quickly and reliably is crucial. Since a lot of cyclists using hydraulic brakes are involved in extreme kinds of cycling undertaken at higher altitudes, this is even more so. In these conditions, great brakes that don’t fade are critical.
It’s a DOT 5.1 brake fluid, which puts it at the very top of the chain in terms of performance. This means it has exceptionally high dry and wet boiling points. It also means very low fade and exceptional recovery times.
Specially designed for cyclists…
It’s specially designed for cyclists’ braking needs and requirements, being made to give high levels of response through the brake levers. Plus, it yields excellent pad retraction results.
This is all good news, but equally importantly, the formula works to deliver assured braking regardless of the temperature or humidity. It also works to prevent overheating, and so reduced performance, under harsh braking.
The small four-ounce bottle is sufficient for front and rear brakes. In most circumstances, there will also be plenty left over. However, despite the temptation, any excess should be responsibly disposed of. This is because even within a couple of months, the unused brake fluid will absorb water. The upshot would be decreased performance if you subsequently used it in your bicycle braking set-up.
- DOT 5.1 certified.
- Minimal fading.
- Fast recovery times.
- Excellent brake lever response.
- Strong pad retraction.
- Short shelf life when opened.
7 Endless Racing Brake Fluid RF 650 – Top Performance Brake Fluid
Unless you have a high-performance vehicle, you can skip this one and save yourself a bit of time. We can honestly say that this isn’t the right brake fluid for you. Although it can be used in any vehicle, the cost is more than ten times that of some more affordable DOT 3 brake fluids. Consequently, for those of us without supercars, it’s unlikely to be a realistic option.
So, who is it for?
At the furthest extreme of the spectrum, it’s for WRC and Dakar rally drivers, or even Formula 1 drivers. Yes, seriously, some of the elites in the car racing world genuinely use Endless Racing Brake Fluid RF 650 as their brake fluid of choice.
If you’re now still considering it, that means you must have an amazing ride tucked away somewhere. Nice one. If you do, this is a great choice, and frankly, this might even be the best ever brake fluid you can buy, period.
What are its properties?
The dry boiling point is 323 degrees Celsius, and the wet boiling point is 210 degrees Celsius. This makes for some serious braking performance. It should also be noted that Endless Racing Brake Fluid can maintain its dry boiling point for extended periods without losing braking performance.
As one of the highest-spec brake fluids in the world, you can expect no fading even over extended periods and in the harshest of conditions. You can also expect astonishing recovery times. As if all this wasn’t enough, you also get a braking fluid that has a freezing point at -40 degrees Celsius. This makes it an excellent choice for rally drivers in freezing conditions.
- Incredible recovery times.
- No fading.
- Maintains dry boiling point for extended periods.
- Low freezing point.
- High cost.
8 MAG1 120 Premium DOT 3 Brake Fluid – Best Consistent Brake Fluid for Top Ups
MAG has an excellent reputation for producing consistently good quality fluids.
MAG1 120 Premium is a DOT 3 brake fluid. It comes in a 32 ounces plastic container and can be used on any kind of brake set-up. This includes vehicles with either drum or disc brakes. It’s also suitable for brakes that have ABS.
The basic specs…
The dry boiling point is 256 degrees Celsius, and the wet boiling point is 145 degrees Celsius. Both of these figures are respectable for a DOT 3 braking fluid. They easily fall within the guidelines and standards for this class of brake fluid.
The fade and recovery times are reliable and are what we’d expect. It’s most suitable for driving in normal conditions and is suitable for most cars, trucks, and other vehicles.
How much do you get for the price?
The bottle has sufficient for most standard size saloons. If you have a compact car, you will have more than enough. Just remember to discard any excess as it will not keep for long once it’s opened. It will quickly absorb moisture, particularly in humid conditions, which will affect its efficacy.
If you just need to top up an existing system, this is safe to use in combination with DOT 3 or 4 braking fluids. However, it’s not recommended to mix it with a DOT 5 or DOT 5.1 braking fluid.
- Consistent quality.
- Suitable for all braking systems.
- Exceeds requirements and standards.
- Sufficient quantity for standard saloons.
- Short shelf life.
Best Brake Fluid Buying Guide
All braking fluids are not made equal. The braking requirements of someone driving to work, or their local store, will be very different to that of someone driving a supercar on a track day. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that there are several different categories of braking fluid, with various properties, to cater to different driving needs.
Now, let’s dive in to examine each of the four different classes of braking fluids in turn…
The majority of us will be driving around in cars that use DOT 3 braking fluid. They have the lowest dry and wet boiling points and also the lowest level of performance. Brake fading and recovery times will be the highest and lowest, respectively.
This doesn’t sound good, but the reality is that a DOT 3 braking fluid provides sufficient braking power to far exceed what is required even under aggressive everyday driving.
This is the ideal brake fluid for most of us.
These braking fluids have higher dry and wet boiling points. This will be at least 230 degrees Celcius and 155 degrees Celsius, respectively. All of this translates to better braking performance when compared to DOT 3 braking fluids.
Where these fluids are particularly useful is in cars that run at higher altitudes. They are also good to use when towing or placing your vehicle under regular stress in any way. Therefore, they are usually the right choice for trucks.
These are silicone-based rather than glycol-based brake fluids. It gives them several specific properties that make them a solid choice for more sports orientated driving.
The first thing is that they do not absorb moisture. This means you get consistent and more powerful braking. Additionally, they have very high wet and dry boiling points. Braking fade is therefore low, and the recovery time short.
These are the very best performing brake fluids.
They not only have the highest dry and wet boiling points, but just as importantly, they can sustain these high temperatures over prolonged periods. In the real world, it translates to no loss of power even under extreme braking. Fading will be negligent, and recovery times are mind-blowingly quick.
The only drawback is that they’re expensive, and they also cannot be mixed with other fluids that are already in the system.
You’re going to need more than good brake fluid to ensure the best brake performance on your car! Therefore, we highly recommend browsing our reviews of the Best Brake Rotors, the Best Mud Tires, the Best Tires for Pirus, the Best Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Wheel and Tire Cleaners, and our Best Brake Pads Reviews for 2021!
For those interested in other brilliant vehicle performance-enhancing products, don’t miss our in-depth reviews of the Best Engine Degreaser, the Best Carburetor Cleaners, the Best Fuel Injector Cleaners, the Best Radiator Stop Leak, the Best Catalytic Converter Cleaners, the Best Oil Filters for Cars, the Best oW 20 Synthetic Oils, the Best Diesel Oils, and the Best Cold Air Intake currently available.
Back to the top brake fluids…
What do we think is the Best Brake Fluid?
So, there you have it. Regardless of what car you drive and how you drive it, just be sure to regularly check your brake fluid levels. Keep your brake fluid topped up and also check for leaks. If it does leak, you will probably get a telltale spotting of liquid on your driveway or in your garage.
When you do come to change your brake fluid, we hope you now have a better idea of what class or which specific one to buy. If we had to choose just to put in our vehicles, it would be the…
We like it because it comes from a well-known brand with a high level of quality assurance. It also has excellent recovery times coupled with minimal fading. Plus, it’s an affordable braking fluid that can be used in normal driving conditions, and it’s great for use at altitude, too.
Drive safely and enjoy your ride!