Your BMW’s braking system is the most critical safety feature. Hence, routinely changing the brake fluid should be on top of your maintenance list. So, are you asking; how much it costs to change the brake fluid in your BMW?
This post will give you an exact figure of how much a brake fluid change costs in a BMW. I will also touch on the importance of brake fluid and how to know you are due for a brake fluid change.
Let’s get to it now, shall we?
Table of Contents
Why Is Brake Fluid Important to BMW?
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that’s highly pressurized for proper brake functioning. When you apply the brakes, the brake fluid converts the force into pressure and transfers it to the brakes, stopping the vehicle. Without the brake fluid, your vehicle will not come to a stop even if you push on the braking pedal.
Reasons why your BMW’s brake fluid is essential:
- Prevents Failure of the ABS System
The Antilock Braking System (ABS) has electronic components that depend on brake fluid for proper operation. Therefore, brake fluid prevents the failure of these systems.
- Protects Metal Components
Brake fluid flows through metal parts, valves, calipers, and wheel cylinders, which are parts of the braking system. It protects their linings and also prevents corrosion of the metallic components.
- Maintains Brake Pedal Travel
The brake fluid ensures that the brake pedal has a consistent feel whenever you press on it. This means that whether you’re using the brakes for the first time or have been using the brakes repeatedly for a whole day, the brake pedal should always feel the same.
How Often Should You Change Brake Fluid in Your BMW?
BMW brake fluid service is required once every two years. This interval is important for your car to run optimally. This is because the brake fluid absorbs moisture with time since it’s a hygroscopic fluid. Water in the brake fluid causes air bubbles. The friction will make the water boil when you brake, hence thinning the brake fluid. At this point, the brake fluid will lose its effectiveness.
Nevertheless, BMW is modifying how often to change the brake fluid in newer non-Ms to once every three years. Still, it’s important to adjust this time frame depending on your driving habits.
Symptoms that Your BMW Needs a Brake Fluid Change
Here are the issues which come up if you have low or contaminated brake fluid that needs changing.
ABS Warning Light
When your BMW is due for a brake fluid change, the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) warning light is likely to turn on. However, this warning light can mean a number of other things, not just low brake fluid, but it’s something to remember.
Brake Pedal Feels Different
If you press down on the brake pedal and notice that it feels different, it can suggest that your brake fluid is contaminated or low.
When you apply the brakes, the brake pedal will feel spongy or loose.
Loss of Braking Power
Another sign that you need to change the brake fluid on your BMW is if it takes longer to brake, or you need more effort to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. In some cases, you may need to bump on the brakes to build enough pressure for stopping.
Contaminated brake fluid has a low boiling point. Therefore, it may start to boil after applying the brakes repeatedly. Boiling brake fluid emits a burning or chemical odor.
If you identify any of these symptoms, it’s best to have the braking system checked by a BMW auto technician as soon as possible.
BMW Brake Fluid Types
It’s essential to know the correct brake fluid for BMW before calculating BMW brake fluid change cost.
If you own a classic (1965) up to 2003, your BMW uses any DOT 3 or DOT 4 normal viscosity brake fluid for street driving. Track BMWs from 1965 to 2003 use Super DOT 4 normal viscosity or DOT 5.
2004 – 2006 BMW with a DSC traction control uses DOT 4 low viscosity or normal viscosity brake fluid. Not all BMWs in these years have DSC. Look for a DSC button on the center console or dash to know whether you have DSC or not.
2006+ BMW cars utilize DOT 4 low viscosity or DOT 5.1 brake fluid. Track BMWs operate on Super DOT 4 normal density, DOT 5, or DOT 5.1.
The average cost of DOT 3 normal viscosity brake fluid is around $5 – $10 for a 32-ounce bottle. On the other hand, DOT 4 normal viscosity costs approximately $10 – $20 for a 1L bottle. Super DOT 4 normal viscosity racing brake fluid is usually priced from $15 to $30 for a 0.5L container.
If you use DOT 4 low viscosity brake fluid it typically costs $10 – $30 for a 1L bottle while DOT 5 normal viscosity brake fluid will set you back approximately $40 – $50 for 1L. Lastly, the price for DOT 5.1 is about $15 – $20 for a 500 ml bottle.
How Much Does It Cost to Change Brake Fluid on Your BMW?
A brake system flush on a BMW costs $80 – $100 at an independent shop. Meanwhile, it will cost up to $130 – $140 at a BMW dealership. Having a brake flush done at an auto repair shop is usually cheaper than at a dealership, but the latter is more trustworthy. Some shops suck out old fluid from the top instead of flushing it properly and refilling it.
You can choose either an independent shop or dealership if the cost is favorable, depending on how much to change the brake fluid in your area.
A Brief Process of Brake Fluid Change in a BMW
This video will show you a thorough guide on how to change the brake fluid in your BMW:
What happens if you don’t change the brake fluid?
If you don’t perform brake fluid flush service within the specified intervals, the brake fluid will absorb water. In addition, aging brake fluid tends to be contaminated by debris and small particles from hoses and seals.
Driving with old brake fluid puts you at risk of losing braking power. Your brakes may turn squishy and spongy, which becomes dangerous at any speed.
Does changing brake fluid improve braking?
Yes, changing the braking will improve braking as long as there are no issues with the braking system. Changing the brake fluid gets your system running on fresh fluid free of debris, particles, and moisture that can leak into the reservoir and components. However, it won’t repair any problems like worn brake pads and leaky hoses.
What color should brake fluid be?
BMW brake fluid is usually clear with a yellow tint. Nonetheless, some could be purple. When looking into the reservoir, you should see the bottom, and the fluid will look somewhat amber. The difference in colors comes from the composition of the fluid. Silicone-based brake fluids like DOT 5 are purple, while DOT 3, 4, and 5.1 are colorless with an amber tint.
Now you know the answer to the question, “how much does it cost to change the brake fluid in your BMW?” Next time you take your BMW for service, the quote will not come as a surprise. Better yet, you’ll know when your BMW requires a brake fluid service and the simple steps of changing the brake fluid in a BMW.
So, are you ready for that brake fluid service? Get on it with confidence!