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Types of brake fluids: differences and considerations

When it comes to safety on the road, every detail counts, and one of the essential components in keeping us safe is brake fluid. This vital fluid is responsible for transmitting the force we apply to the brake pedal to the wheels, which stops the vehicle and allows us to manoeuvre safely. However, not all brake fluids are the same. In this extensive and comprehensive SDT BRAKES article, we will explore the different types of brake fluids available on the market (DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5 and DOT 5.1), understand the key differences between them and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

We remind you to visit SDT BRAKES to keep up to date with all the informative content and the best products related to the world of brakes and cars in general.

Types of brake fluids

DOT 3: the reliable standard

DOT 3 brake fluid is one of the most common and widely used types. It is a glycol-based fluid and has a higher boiling point than water, which makes it less prone to vapour bubble formation in the brake system. However, its boiling point may decrease over time due to moisture absorption, which may adversely affect its performance in extreme conditions.

DOT 4 - balancing performance and cost

DOT 4 brake fluid is similar to DOT 3 in terms of composition, but has a higher boiling point and is more resistant to moisture absorption. This makes it a popular choice for vehicles requiring improved performance in high temperature conditions. DOT 4 offers a balance between performance and cost, making it an attractive option for many drivers.

DOT 5 - the silicone-based alternative

DOT 5 brake fluid differs from previous types in that it is silicone-based rather than glycol-based. This gives it non-hygroscopic properties, which means that it does not absorb moisture. While this may seem to be an advantage, DOT 5 also has a higher boiling point and may be less efficient in extreme temperature conditions. In addition, it is not compatible with systems designed for glycol-based brake fluids.

DOT 5.1: improving the formula

DOT 5.1 brake fluid is an evolution of DOT 4. Although it is glycol-based, it has an even higher boiling point and improved performance in extreme conditions. It is less susceptible to moisture absorption than DOT 3 and DOT 4, which means it retains its performance properties for longer.

The benefits of changing brake fluid

Changing brake fluid on a regular basis offers a number of significant benefits to the safety of your vehicle and your peace of mind on the road. Some of these benefits include:

Improved braking performance: Fresh, well-maintained brake fluid ensures optimal braking performance, allowing you to stop your vehicle efficiently and safely in any situation.

Reduced risk of fading: By changing the brake fluid on time, you reduce the risk of fading, ensuring that the braking system remains responsive even in extreme conditions.

Longer brake system life: Proper brake fluid maintenance can help extend the life of brake system components, preventing corrosion and premature wear.

Preventing costly problems: Changing brake fluid on a regular basis can help prevent costly brake system problems in the long term, saving time and money.

Safer driving: A braking system in optimal condition contributes to safer and more reliable driving, protecting you and your passengers on the road.


In summary, the different types of brake fluids (DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 5 and DOT 5.1) have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right brake fluid for your vehicle should be based on a solid understanding of its specific characteristics and requirements.

Maintaining a braking system in optimum condition is essential for your safety on the road, so be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and perform regular maintenance.

With the right brake fluid, you'll be equipped to face any challenge on the road with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that your braking system is working to its full potential. Don't forget to browse SDT BRAKES for the best products and all the information you need to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition.


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