How to Check Brake Fluid in a Honda Accord

Driving a Honda Accord? Keeping your brake fluid topped up and changed regularly is crucial for safe braking. Here’s a step-by-step guide to checking and maintaining brake fluid in your Accord.

  • Step 1: Locate the brake fluid reservoir under the hood on the driver’s side attached to the firewall. Consult your owner’s manual for the exact position.
  • Step 2: With the car off and parked on level ground, inspect the fluid level in the reservoir. It should be between the MIN and MAX lines.
  • Step 3: Check the condition of the fluid. It should be light amber and transparent, not dark, murky or contaminated.
  • Step 4: If the level is at MIN or below, use new DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid from a sealed container to top it up to the MAX line.
  • Step 5: Replace the reservoir cap tightly when finished.
  • Step 6: Pump the brakes manually to pressurize the system again before rechecking the level.
  • Step 7: Flush old brake fluid every 2-3 years or when it becomes very dark. Have a professional perform a full brake fluid flush if needed.

What is Brake Fluid and Why Check It?

Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that allows force from your brake pedal to be transferred to the braking system. It helps apply the pads to the brake discs to slow your wheels. Brake fluid also:

  • Lubricates the internal brake components
  • Prevents corrosion in the brake lines and cylinders
  • Transfers heat away from the braking system

Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture which lowers its boiling point. This can lead to vapor lock in the lines and reduced braking power. Honda recommends flushing your brake fluid every 3 years or 36,000 miles. Checking it regularly allows you to spot any issues before they become dangerous.

Locating the Brake Fluid Reservoir

The first step is finding the brake fluid reservoir. In the Honda Accord, it is under the hood on the driver’s side attached to the firewall.

Consult your owner’s manual for the exact location. There may be diagrams and directions to help you find it quickly.

Once located, inspect the outside of the reservoir. Look for any leaks, dirt or damage. A cracked reservoir needs replacement.

Checking the Brake Fluid Level

The reservoir will have MIN and MAX level markings molded into the plastic. With the car off and parked on level ground, you can visually inspect the level.

  • If the fluid is at or below the MIN line, top it up immediately.
  • If it is above the MAX, inspect for leaks and have your brakes checked by a mechanic. Too much fluid can spill out when the brakes heat up.

The brake fluid should be:

  • Clear and transparent – not murky or dirty
  • Free of sediments or particles
  • A light amber color – not dark brown or black

Any debris or dark color indicates contaminated fluid that needs flushing.

Topping Up the Brake Fluid

To add fluid:

  1. Unscrew the reservoir cap.
  2. Add new, clean fluid from a sealed container to the MAX line. Avoid spilling.
  3. Replace the cap tightly.
  4. Pressurize the system – pump the brakes manually until firm.
  5. Re-check the level and top up if needed.

Only use new, Honda-approved DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid. Do not mix types. DOT 5 fluid is not compatible with your Accord.

Flushing the Brake Lines

If the fluid is very dark, contaminated or over 2 years old, a full brake fluid flush is needed. This involves:

  • Draining all old fluid from the system
  • Replacing it with new fluid
  • Bleeding the brakes to remove any air bubbles

Flushing the system takes special equipment to move the fluid through. Have it done by a professional Honda technician. Expect to pay $70-$150 for a brake fluid flush service.

How Often to Check and Change Brake Fluid

Honda recommends inspecting your brake fluid level with every oil change. Top up as needed to keep between the MIN and MAX marks.

And flush the entire system every 3 years or 36,000 miles – whichever comes first. This regularly scheduled maintenance helps ensure safe, reliable braking.

DIY or Professional Service?

Checking and topping up brake fluid is easy to do yourself at home. But for flushing the system, the pros have the right tools to do it thoroughly.

An experienced technician will also examine the brake components for any wear or damage during the process. Letting the experts handle it gives peace of mind that air is completely bled from the system.

Symptoms of Low or Contaminated Brake Fluid

Look out for these warning signs that your Accord’s brake fluid needs attention:

  • Brake pedal feels soft or spongy
  • Pedal almost reaches floor before braking happens
  • Braking distances are increased
  • Wheels are difficult to lock when parking
  • Brake warning light comes on the dashboard
  • Brakes feel inconsistent between left and right
  • Burning smell from the brakes after use
  • Fluid dripping underneath the car

Schedule a fluid check or flush straight away if any of these symptoms show up. Continuing to drive with contaminated or insufficient fluid can seriously affect braking ability.

FAQs on Honda Accord Brake Fluid

What type of brake fluid does my Accord use?

Hondas use DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended specification. Do not use DOT 5 fluid.

Where is the brake fluid reservoir located?

It’s under the hood on the driver’s side attached to the firewall. Your manual will have the exact position.

Should brake fluid be clear or brown?

Clear and transparent is healthy. Dark brown, murky or black fluid is contaminated and needs changing.

Does brake fluid really need changing every 2 years?

Yes – it absorbs moisture over time which lowers braking performance. Sticking to the recommended intervals prevents issues.

Can I drive with the brake fluid under the minimum mark?

No – top it up immediately. Driving with low fluid is dangerous as you can lose braking ability.

Is it ok to top up instead of flushing sometimes?

Top ups between full flushes are fine as long as the fluid is clean and uncontaminated.

How do I bleed the brakes after adding fluid?

Bleeding the brakes requires special equipment, so have a technician do it. Manually pumping the brake pedal can help pressurize the system after minor top ups.

Will my brake warning light show if the fluid is low?

Yes – this is one of the main indicators that the brake fluid level is dangerously low and putting you at risk.

Maintain Safe Braking in Your Honda

Keep your Accord’s brake fluid properly maintained and flushed at the recommended intervals. Simply checking it whenever you pop the hood can help spot issues early. Top up as needed between full flushes. And see a professional for draining and replacing old fluid. With clear, uncontaminated brake fluid at the proper level, you can feel confident in your Honda’s stopping power.

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