How to Remove Excess Brake Fluid: Expert Guide

Uh-oh! You have exceeded the recommended level of brake fluid in your reservoir, and this has raised concerns about the possible harm it could inflict on your vehicle. Worry no more, friend! We’ve got your back.

This article will teach you useful tricks to remove extra brake fluid and keep your car’s brakes working great.

Why It’s Important to Remove Excess Brake Fluid

First, let’s understand why removing extra brake fluid is needed. Too much brake fluid can harm your car’s paint and damage the rubber parts in the brakes. And trust me, no one wants unnecessary repair bills piling up!

But that’s not all – too much brake fluid can also lead to brake drag or create bubbles and impurities in the brake fluid itself. Even worse, leaving half an inch or more of excess brake fluid below the upper line can result in floating lumps or particles that can wreak havoc on your vehicle.

So what’s the solution? As with most things automotive-related, prevention is key. Regularly maintaining your brake fluid level helps avoid these issues from developing in the first place. But when excess does occur, don’t hesitate to remove it as quickly as possible – your car (and wallet) will thank you later!

Method 1: The Dip Cloth Technique – A Gentle Approach

Materials needed:

  • Clean towel


  1. Find the perfect towel: Grab a clean, lint-free towel (microfiber works great) to ensure no debris is introduced into the brake fluid.
  2. Fold it right: Fold the towel into a strip, making sure it’s wide enough to cover the reservoir’s opening but not too thick that it becomes difficult to handle.
  3. Tilt and dip: Gently tilt the towel in along the top rim of the reservoir, making sure it comes into contact with the brake fluid surface.
  4. Patience is key: Let the towel absorb the excess brake fluid for a few seconds. You can wiggle it slightly to help speed up the process.
  5. Inspect and repeat: Remove the towel and check the fluid level using a flashlight if necessary. Repeat the process as needed until the fluid is at the correct level.

Method 2: The Paper Towel Cylinder Trick – A Quick Fix

Materials needed:

  • Absorbent paper towel


  1. Choose the right paper towel: Pick an absorbent, strong paper towel to ensure it doesn’t fall apart while soaking up the brake fluid.
  2. Roll it up: Grab a sheet of paper towel and form it into a slim cylinder shape that can fit into the hole of the reservoir.
  3. Insert and wait: Gently insert the rolled-up paper towel into the hole of the reservoir, ensuring it makes contact with the fluid.
  4. Soak it up: Place the towel in place for 20-30 minutes to absorb the excess fluid. Feel free to give it a gentle twist to maximize absorption.
  5. Check and repeat: Remove the paper towel and check the fluid level. Repeat the process as needed until the fluid is at the right level.

Method 3: The Shop Vacuum Solution – The Heavy-Duty Option

Materials needed:

  • Shop vacuum


  1. Bring out the big guns: If you still have excess brake fluid after trying the previous methods, it’s time to bring out the shop vacuum.
  2. Find the perfect attachment: Attach a narrow nozzle to the shop vacuum hose, ensuring it’s small enough to fit into the reservoir without causing damage.
  3. Power up and position: Turn on the vacuum and carefully place the nozzle into the reservoir, making sure it’s close to the fluid surface but not submerged.
  4. Suck it up: Suck out the excess brake fluid until you reach the desired level, keeping an eye on the fluid to avoid over-removal.
  5. Proceed with caution: Be cautious not to remove too much fluid, as this can also cause problems. Keep in mind that it is wiser to take precautions than to face regrets later!

Brake Fluid Maintenance: A Friendly Reminder

Brake fluid maintenance is not the sexiest topic, but it’s an essential part of keeping your car in top shape.

Experts recommend changing your brake fluid every two years or every 24,000 miles – whichever comes first. And here’s why: brake fluid is a hydraulic liquid that converts the pressure you apply to the pedal into stopping power, and over time it can absorb water from the air, which can lead to corrosion and brake failure.

Now, different manufacturers might have their own recommendations on when to replace brake fluid. So make sure to check your owner’s manual for specific intervals. But don’t wait until you hit that mileage mark or time limit before checking your brake fluid.

During your routine inspections, keep an eye out for any signs of leaks or contaminated brake fluid. If you spot anything suspicious, don’t hesitate to schedule a brake fluid replacement right away. Those issues won’t go away on their own and could cause more significant problems later on.

What NOT to Do When Dealing With Excess Brake Fluid

Let’s chat about a few mistakes folks often make with extra brake fluid. They might seem minor, but they can really mess up your car and its brakes.

So let’s avoid these pitfalls and ensure a smoother process:

1. First of all, don’t use dirty cloths or paper towels when handling brake fluid. Always use clean materials that are free of lint or other contaminants. Any dirt or debris that enters the brake fluid can harm the system by introducing harmful microscopic particles.

2. When removing excess brake fluid, it is essential to handle the reservoir cap with care. This cap helps keep contaminants out of your brake fluid, so rough handling can lead to further contamination. When you’re done removing excess fluid, make sure to replace the cap securely.

3. Finally, don’t ignore any warning signs indicating overfilled brake fluid levels such as unusual noises when applying brakes and vibrations in pedal or steering wheel. If you see any of these signs, get it checked right away to prevent more issues later on.

These tips may seem like minor details, but following them will preserve your car’s braking system for long-term use and protect it from potentially costly repairs due to mishandling of excess brake fluids.

Preventing Excess Brake Fluid: Tips and Tricks

Stopping extra brake fluid from messing up your car’s brakes is way better than fixing the issues later. Here are some handy tips to keep your brake fluid levels just right:

1. Start by grabbing your owner’s manual and read it carefully. It has all the information you require on maintaining proper brake fluid levels in your car. Every manufacturer sets different intervals for checking and replacing the fluid, so make sure you know yours and stick to those rules.

2. Next up is an essential piece of equipment that lots of people underestimate: a flashlight! To get an accurate measurement of your brake fluid level, use a flashlight to see clearly into the reservoir. This will help you avoid filling too much or too little into the reservoir.

3. Lastly, always remember to inspect your car regularly. Get into the habit of visually inspecting your brake fluid levels every few months, especially after significant driving milestones like long road trips or daily commutes in extreme weather.

These tips may seem small but they can help identify issues before they turn into costly problems down the line. By preventing overfilled brake fluids in advance, you’re preserving one of the most critical safety systems in your car – the braking system.


In conclusion, excess brake fluid is a common problem faced by car owners. This article has provided helpful tips and tricks to remove extra brake fluid and maintain proper levels to prevent potential damage to your vehicle’s braking system.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to brake fluid maintenance. Regular inspections of your car and its fluid levels can help identify issues before they become costly problems down the line.

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