Is Motorcycle Brake Fluid Different From a Car?

Is Motorcycle Brake Fluid Different From a Car?

Undoubtedly, motorcycle brake fluid is the essential component which you need to run your vehicle smoothly. Now the question is, is motorcycle brake fluid different from a car?

No, motorcycle brake fluid isn’t different from a car; you can even use the same fluid for both vehicles. But the only condition is that your vehicle must show compatibility. 

But what is motorcycle brake fluid, and what is the function of motorcycle brake fluid? And how can you use the same fluid for both vehicles?  

What is Motorcycle Brake Fluid?

As the name suggests, motorcycle brake fluid is a type of fluid that helps to transfer the force that you apply on the lever to the brakes. The brake fluid does this by converting the force on the lever to pressure. 

This pressure helps to slow down your vehicle, and thus brake fluid is something that you can’t miss. Generally, the motorcycle brake fluid has a hygroscopic nature, which means they absorb water from its environment. 

What is Motorcycle Brake Fluid?
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The brake fluid has some temperature compatibility under which the fluid works best. Usually, the brake fluid has 230-250 centigrade compatibility. However, the temperature compatibility reduces drastically if the oil ever absorbs the water.

Because of its nature, oil also loses its performance if it absorbs water from the environment. Thus it’s essential only to buy the oil which comes in a sealed bottle. 

Is Motorcycle Brake Fluid Different From a Car?

No, motorcycle brake fluid isn’t different from a car; you can even use the same fluid for both vehicles. But the only condition is that your vehicle must show compatibility. 

Generally, motorcycles show compatibility with DOT3 fluid oils, while some cars show compatibility with DOT4.

What is DOT?

According to functions and characteristics, some standards are decided which divide the fluid oil such as DOT3, DOT4, and DOT5. Generally, the oils are divided according to their viscosity and temperature on which they can work effectively. 

How is DOT 3 Different from DOT 4 and DOT 5?

As mentioned above, oils are divided into DOT 3 and DOT 4 according to their temperature compatibility and viscosity.

DOT 3 has much less temperature compatibility, which means DOT 3 oils boil more quickly than DOT 4. On the other hand, DOT 5 is pure silicone made of oil that doesn’t absorb water. 

And it’s too familiar for DOT 5 fluid to make grease like a complex if combined with water.

How is DOT 3 Different from DOT 4 and DOT 5?
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Can You Ever Mix DOT 5 Fluid with DOT 3 or 4?

No, never, we don’t recommend doing this ever. Since all fluids have their different viscosity and temperature barriers under which they work efficiently. 

Some engines are designed for accepting DOT 3, while some are for DOT 4 and DOT 5. And the engine can’t accept any other fluid except the fluid for which manufacturers made them. 

If you ever mix the two fluids, then you’ll destroy their capability. Also, if you ever mix fluid in the brake, you would surely destroy or seize the brake system permanently. 

So it’s better to use fluid as per the instruction given on the bottle. 

What is the Need for Changing Brake Fluid?

As mentioned above, the brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it can absorb moisture from the environment around it. As soon as you open the bottle of brake fluid, it starts to absorb moisture from the environment around it. 

Although motorcycle manufacturers claim that it’s rare to enter the water in your motorcycle brake because of the airtight seal. But again, the reality is often disappointing. 

Brake fluid manufacturers made the fluid incompressible, but the fluid lost its properties when combined with water. It means your brake fluid won’t longer change the force to pressure; thus, you’ll have to apply more force, and your motorbike will take more time to stop. 

Over time the water is supposed to build up in the brake and deteriorating the brake fluid properties. 

The second reason you need to change the brake fluid after some time is that water causes a drastic decrease in the boiling point. 

For instance, the DOT 4 fluid has an approx 240-degree centigrade boiling point. But when it comes in contact with water, the boiling point drastically decreases to 80 degrees centigrade. 

How Often Should You Change the Brake Fluid?

The ideal thumb rule says to change the brake fluid in one to two years. 

However, racing riders generally don’t follow this thumb rule, and they change the brake fluid more often. Professional riders typically change the brake fluid more frequently, like once every year or once every six months. 

Which is Better, DOT 4 or DOT 5.1?

The DOT 5.1 comes with a slightly high boiling temperature. It means the DOT 5.1 can face higher temperatures before deteriorating than DOT 4. 

Another advantage of having DOT 5.1 is that it shows lower viscosity at the temperature of sub-zero. So if you’re living in Alaska, where the temperature can reach lower than 30°F in the winter season, there’s nothing better than DOT 5.1 fluid. 

Comparing both fluids is like comparing semi-synthetic and synthetic fluid in which professional riders generally use synthetic like DOT 5.1. 

Being highly hygroscopic, the DOT 5.1 needs to change more frequently than the DOT 4 fluid brake. So if you are someone who can change the fluid more often, then we’d recommend buying DOT5.1 fluid. 

Although both fluids are of superior quality, you can still choose DOT 5.1 if you want to insert excellent quality fluid. 

Steps to Change the Brake Fluid?

Changing the brake fluid is a piece of cake. Still, it would be best if you pay attention when changing the brake fluid. Since brake fluid is hazardous, and that’s why we’d recommend wearing protection equipment before changing the brake fluid. 

Before changing the fluid, please ensure to turn off your motorcycle and stand on the center stand for 25-30 minutes. Doing this will ensure the brake fluid will settle down easily. 

Be ready with the fluid that you want to insert, a container for old fluid, and a set of tools. And please spend a lot of time changing the oil; otherwise, air bubbles can appear in the fluid. 

Step 1

Remove the cap from the master cylinder reservoir by unscrewing the screws. Next, you’ve to locate the reservoir on which you need to insert a pipe to evacuate the old fluid.

We recommend leaving some old fluid so that air can’t enter the circuit. 

Step 2

Use the syringe to insert the new fluid into the motorcycle reservoir. Next, we’d recommend pressing the brake lever three times, then hold the brake for some time tightly. In the meanwhile, you can unscrew the screw. 

Step 3

Now you’ve to slowly leave the brake and observe the old liquid leaving the motorcycle. In the meanwhile, you can tighten the screw back before releasing the brake. 

Now do the same procedure again until the new fluid appears in the pipe. Ensure that no air bubbles are made while changing the liquid. And once you have completed the procedure, then you need to tighten the drain screw before putting the new fluid into the master cylinder reservoir. 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is motorcycle brake fluid?

As the name suggests, motorcycle brake fluid is a type of fluid that helps to transfer the force that you apply on the lever to the brakes. The brake fluid does this by converting the force on the lever to pressure. 

What you should do if your motorbike is in low fluid?

If your motorcycle is low on fluid then we’d recommend to insert the motorcycle brake fluid as soon as possible. And please make sure your brake system doesn’t have air in it as air could make air bubbling.

What happens if you don’t change the motorcycle brake fluid?

Over time, the brake fluid will absorb moisture from the environment. And at some point, the water in the fluid will begin to cause corrosion in the system, leading to failure.
Brake fluid with entered moisture will boil at 100 deg C, forming steam, which will compress under braking pressure, causing a failure and may result in an accident.

Is motorcycle brake fluid different from a car?

No, motorcycle brake fluid isn’t different from a car; you can even use the same fluid for both vehicles. But the only condition is that your vehicle must show compatibility. 

Final Verdict:

Is motorcycle brake fluid different from a car? No, motorcycle brake fluid isn’t different from a car; you can even use the same fluid for both vehicles. But the only condition is that your vehicle must show compatibility. 

Motorcycle fluid comes in various DOT; we mentioned above some fundamental differences between DOT 4 and DOT 5.1, now it’s up to you which one you choose. 

We also discussed some steps by which you can change the new fluid with the old fluid. 

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