How to Change the Brake Fluid in a Ford Explorerby Amber KeeferUpdated July 11, 2023
A lot of drivers forget that brake fluid can wear out over time. As a result, many motorists neglect checking the brake fluid in their vehicles. Yet mechanics recommend that brake fluid be checked every three months and changed at least once each year. It's a fairly easy job, except that you have to be careful as spills can take off the paint. But you can save money on service bills by doing the job yourself.
1. Make sure that no water gets into the brake system while you are checking the brake fluid
Make sure that no water gets into the brake system while you are checking the brake fluid. Water can effect how brakes operate. Corrosion occurs when moisture gets into the system. Dirty fluid can also speed up the mechanical wear in the brake system and eventually lead to failing brakes.
2. Locate the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir that is attached on top of the master cylinder
Locate the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir that is attached on top of the master cylinder, which operates the brake system. The master cylinder is at the back of the engine toward the driver’s side. Reservoirs on 1998 and newer Ford Explorer models are made of a translucent hard plastic. Older models may have reservoirs made of metal. If you can’t find it, refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
3. Check the level of brake fluid first without removing the cap
Check the level of brake fluid first without removing the cap. There should be a line that indicates when the reservoir is full. If the reservoir is metal, you will have to remove the cover to see if more brake fluid is needed.
4. Remove the cap from the reservoir if the brake fluid is low
Remove the cap from the reservoir if the brake fluid is low. Inspect the condition of the fluid. If you see dirt and sediment in the reservoir, the fluid is due for a change. Do not judge the condition of the brake fluid by its color. Oftentimes, fluid that is light in color contains as much moisture as fluid that looks murky and is dark in color. There is actually no relationship between the color of brake fluid and its moisture content. Do not keep the reservoir cap off longer than necessary to prevent fluid from absorbing too much moisture from the air.
5. Clean all dirt away from around the cap and fill to the full line
Clean all dirt away from around the cap and fill to the full line or to within ¼-inch of the top edge of the reservoir. If the reservoir has a dual reservoir, pour brake fluid into both sides. Use DOT-3 brake fluid, which is usually recommended. Be careful not to spill any brake fluid under the hood as it can damage electrical connections. Replace the cap. Look for signs of leaking brake fluid around the engine. If you suspect there might be a leak, check fluid levels again to see if there has been a rapid drop.
When changing brake fluid, you should take the time to bleed and drain the lines of any air and sediment before refilling the reservoir. Keep the master cylinder brake reservoir filled when bleeding brake lines.
Video: How to Check and Fill Brake Fluid 11-19 Explorer
Comments on this video:
- Does anyone know the brake fluid bleeding sequence for a 2016 explorer? Some sites says rear passenger, rear driver, front passenger, front driver.
- U guys are awesome!
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.