How to add Brake Fluid

Close up of Lincoln mechanic looking under the hood with a flashlight

When you step on your brake pedal, it’s the brake fluid that helps activate your brakes to slow you down. So, brake fluid is important.

But like any fluid in your vehicle, the brake fluid must be checked regularly, and occasionally changed.

Looking at the brake reservoir every month will tell you if the level is fine or if you need to add fluid.

If your brake fluid looks a little low, here’s how to top it off.

  1. With the engine off, raise the hood and find the brake master cylinder. It is usually in the back of the engine bay, on the driver’s side.
    Cover the fender before opening the brake master cylinder, and use caution when opening a container of brake fluid, as it can damage your vehicle's paint.
  2. Use a cloth or towel to clean the master cylinder’s reservoir and cap to prevent dirt or water from entering while you service it. Clean the fluid lines too, if they need it.
  3. Look at the fluid level on the side of the master cylinder’s reservoir. If your brake fluid is at or above the “MIN” line, your brake fluid level is fine, and you don’t need to add any.
  4. If your fluid is below the “MIN” line, carefully remove the reservoir cap, and then add brake fluid until the level is just under the “MAX” line. Do not overfill.
  5. Using a completely clean towel or a lint-free cloth, clean the inside of the reservoir cap: It may have brake fluid, dirt/debris, or both on it, and must be cleaned before you put it back on.
  6. Carefully set the reservoir cap on the reservoir, and press down on all four corners until it clicks into place.
  7. Visit your local Lincoln Retailer to have your brakes inspected as soon as possible—especially if your fluid level continues to go down, or if your fluid is dark. You may need your brake system serviced.