Difference Between Brake Fluid and Transmission Fluid

by Amanda Davis
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There are a variety of components that go into keeping a car maintained and running smoothly. Regular maintenance appointments are necessary to check car function and various fluid levels. Transmission fluid and break fluid are two of the fluids commonly monitored.

Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid is a lubricant used in the transmission of a vehicle. Different types of transmission fluid are necessary for automatic and manual transmissions. The fluid allows the parts of the transmission to move freely. In automatic transmissions, the fluid also acts as a coolant and helps transmit power.

Brake Fluid

AutoZone defines brake fluid as a "specially formulated liquid used to transmit brake pedal pressure from the master cylinder to the wheel cylinders." It is important to maintain brake fluid that is free of contamination and moisture. Brake fluid that is high in moisture can inhibit brake function.


Although brake and transmission fluids are both vital to proper function of a vehicle, this is essentially the only similarity they share. The fluids differ in composition, in the location of the vehicle in which they function, and in the frequency with which they should be changed.

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