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Brake fluid is a liquid chemical solution that helps support your car’s braking system.
It amplifies your foot’s force on the pedal, so your car stops without the need for additional force. However, brake fluid loses effectiveness over time, so to maintain a properly working vehicle, you must change the fluid according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If you’re wondering about the Toyota RAV4’s brake fluid, keep reading for everything you’ll need to know about checking and replacing it.
What Type of Brake Fluid Does a Toyota RAV4 Use?
All Toyota RAV4s, regardless of the model year, are compatible with the following brake fluid:
- SAE J1703
- FMVSS No. 116 DOT 3
Toyota RAV4s manufactured from 2019 to 2023 are also compatible with
- SAE J1704
- FMVSS No. 116 DOT 4.
The primary difference between DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluid is water absorption. DOT 3 brake fluid absorbs less water from the air than DOT 4. This means that you must change DOT 3 brake fluid less often. However, DOT 4 has its own benefits. It has a higher dry and wet boiling point, which makes it safer for higher temperatures (source: autozone.com).
You shouldn’t mix different types of Toyota RAV4 brake fluid as this can cause brake malfunction. Stick to the types listed above and reach out to a professional if you’re unsure about what to select for your car.
How Much Does a Brake Fluid Change Cost on a RAV4?
The price of a Toyota RAV4 brake fluid change will depend on where you seek this service. In general, dealerships charge higher prices than independent shops for the same amenity.
A brake fluid change on your Toyota RAV4 will cost anywhere from $80 to $130 on average (source: autochimps.com). This price is based on the national average for all vehicles and excludes taxes, fees, or price variations based on your make and model.
Working with a neighborhood garage can help to lower your cost. Expect a price toward the top end of this range when visiting a dealership.
How Often to Change the Brake Fluid on a Toyota RAV4
As noted above, changing your brake fluid at the right time is critical to maintaining a properly functioning vehicle. Here’s how to know when you should change your brake fluid.
Toyota recommends to inspect the brake fluid every 6 months years or 5,000 miles. If the fluid is low, it should be topped off. If the fluid is severely discolored, it should be flushed and fully replaced.
Similar to your motor or engine oil, the brake fluid will change color as it’s used. Fresh brake fluid is almost clear or transparent with a hint of yellow. Over time, it becomes dark brown or black, and this is how you know it’s time for a brake fluid flush and replacement.
Remember, failing to change your brake fluid can result in “soft” brakes as well as other issues. Soft brakes are when a brake pedal no longer offers the same reassuring pressure it typically does. This can be alarming to drivers, and it’s not something you want to encounter if you can avoid it.
How to Check the Brake Fluid on a Toyota RAV4
- Pop your hood and head over to the driver’s side
- Find the Toyota RAV4 brake fluid reservoir
- Look at where the level falls on the outside of the container (this is easier to see if the fluid is dirty)
Can I Change My RAV4’s Brake Fluid Myself?
Changing your Toyota RAV4’s brake fluid is not recommended as it can be a challenging process, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how it’s done. We recommend taking your vehicle to a professional to have this service performed.
That said, if you’re still interested in learning how to change a Toyota RAV4’s brake fluid, check out this video:
Best Brake Fluid for Your Toyota RAV4
If you’re going with the DIY approach, use the brake fluid that Toyota uses for the RAV4 in their factory. This is your best route as it’s the one that was used in the factory, and you’ll prevent mixing fluids.
Changing the brake fluid on your Toyota RAV4 is critical to the proper functioning of your vehicle. Unless you’re confident in your ability to change your brake fluid, take your car to a professional to ensure it’s done correctly.