How to Check Brake Fluid

BMW vehicles are loved for their exceptional quality and performance. But for your BMW to perform at its best, it needs regular service and repair. An important part of that process is a brake fluid check. This should happen during your regular service appointment and is the first step in diagnosing serious brake problems.

This process isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in the process we use for checking brake fluid, we’ve outlined it below. In addition, we’ve answered some of our customers’ frequently asked questions about your brake fluid.


Brake fluid carries the braking power from your brake pedal and applies it to the wheels to slow them down. It’s sort of like the water shooter racing game at a local fair. While you pull the trigger for the water shooter, the water makes the horse go and helps you win the race.

With your brakes, you push down the pedal, but the brake fluid is what makes the brakes actually stop. The harder the flow of that fluid, the faster your brakes stop. So having the right amount and right quality of brake fluid is key to having a fully functioning braking system.


Before we tell you how to check the brake fluid in your vehicle, let’s talk about what you should be looking for when you get in there. It’s important to read this first because brake fluid is extremely toxic and you’ll want to make your brake fluid inspection quick.

No matter what brand your brake fluid is, it’s all basically the same color and consistency. Brake fluid is transparent (clear) with a yellow tint. So if you’re looking into the reservoir, you should be able to see to the bottom and it should look somewhat yellow.


If you’re going to check your brakes, you’ll need a few items:

Clean rag that you’ll throw away afterward

Plastic gloves (like from a first aid kit)
Please note: Brake fluid is highly toxic. Don’t get it in your eyes and don’t spill it on your vehicle’s paint.

Step 1

Clean the cap of the brake master cylinder reservoir. You’ll likely find it at the rear of the engine compartment and it should be labeled Brake. If it’s not labeled, check your owner’s manual for the exact location.

Step 2

Open the reservoir. Check the fluid level and the fluid quality quickly.

Step 3

Replace the cap and make a plan of action.

Step 4

Put the rag and gloves in a plastic bag, close it up, and throw it away. Wash hands thoroughly.

If the brake fluid is low, you can easily get some new brake fluid (check the owner’s manual for specifications) and follow the same procedure as above.

If your brake fluid is brown, not transparent, or has debris floating in it, you need to get it flushed by the experts at your local service department. It’s imperative that you don’t replace the brake fluid yourself because the fluid is toxic and has to be disposed of properly.


If you’re the proud owner of a BMW vehicle, you already know how important it is to get high-quality maintenance for your vehicle. And if you’re experiencing brake trouble, you should be concerned with the overall health of your vehicle as well as your own personal safety.

Put your vehicle in the hands of the highly trained BMW service technicians at your local BMW service department near Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens. Our team is equipped to handle all of your vehicle’s repair and maintenance needs, from a simple brake fluid check to a major brake fluid replacement.

Schedule a brake repair service at BMW of Manhattan.