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Brake System Flush Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your brake system flush? Use Jerry's GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your brake system flush.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does a brake system flush cost?

The average cost for a brake system flush is $80 to $130. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model, and what fluid is used.
Your parts bill will reflect the cost of new brake fluid, plus any new brake hoses and rubber seals. As for the labor cost, it takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour for a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle, determine whether a repair is necessary, and then perform the brake system flush. 
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do you need for a brake system flush?

At a minimum, you’ll need a quart of fresh brake fluid to flush your vehicle’s systems. At most, you could require:
  1. Brake fluid
    ($5-$40): Brake fluid is a thin, oily substance that runs through your vehicle’s braking system under hydraulic pressure. Ask your mechanic to top it up while they’re looking at your brake shoes to keep everything working properly.
  2. Brake fluid reservoir ($10-$70): The brake fluid reservoir supplies the fluid that the brake master cylinder forces through the brake lines and hoses. It must be filled at all times to prevent air bubbles from forming.
  3. Brake fluid level sensor ($7-$200): Seeing how your brake fluid level is so important, keeping an eye on it is also crucial. Brake fluid level sensors take the form of a floating bead or a series of magnetic reed switches. Either one completes an electrical circuit when your brake fluid reservoir drops below acceptable levels, causing your brake warning light to illuminate.
  4. Brake hose
    ($5-$350): Although they’re made of strong rubber or steel, the brake hoses (or brake lines) that transfer fluid from the brake master cylinder can also fail. While inspecting the brake assembly, your mechanic may discover a leaking brake hose or rubber seal that needs to be replaced.
Keep in mind Although you might visit the garage for a simple brake system flush, if the mechanic detects any leaks, you might also have to replace the brake hoses, fluid reservoir, and sensor.
We recommend purchasing these parts at local auto parts stores such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and NAPA Auto Parts, as well as online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto. We also recommend eputable brands such as ACDelco, Motul, and Castrol are recommended for brake fluid, while brands like Mityvac and OEMTOOLS offer reliable brake bleeding kits.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts cost a lot more than aftermarket parts, but they often come with a warranty and other perks. For example, Toyota Genuine Brake Fluid claims to have both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than most brake fluids. It exceeds the industry-standard DOT-3 requirements for a dry boiling point of 482° F and a wet boiling point of 284° F.
You can buy new brake fluid at automotive body and parts shops like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts; at dealerships; or online at Amazon and RockAuto. If you prefer OEM brake fluid, you can also try your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Nissan, Chevrolet, and just about every other car maker sell OEM parts online. Check your owner’s manual for the type of brake fluid required, whether it’s DOT-3 or DOT-4.

Where can I get a brake system flush?

Jerry compresses the grueling process of comparing car insurance quotes into a single download—now Jerry's
GarageGuard™
app is here to do the same for car repairs!
Browse Jerry's GarageGuard™ and compare brake system flush cost estimates* from auto repair shops in your area so there are no surprises at the cash register. And because Jerry's GarageGuard™ maintains a network of 2,500 vetted garages across the country, you’ll know you’re putting your vehicle in the right hands!
Check out the app and our vetted shops below.
154 Reviews
61 Auto Center
address
1226 Centre Ave, Reading, PA
Brake System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$68
(Parts - $18, Labor - $50)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
147 Reviews
Uptown Automotive
address
1089 San Mateo Ave, San Francisco, CA
Brake System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$168
(Parts - $18, Labor - $150)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$200
118 Reviews
Laurel Heights Automotive
address
9109 E Gregory Blvd #6407, Independence, MO
Brake System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$131
(Parts - $18, Labor - $113)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$50
186 Reviews
AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care - Ralph Ave
address
1266 Ralph Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Brake System Flush
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$148
(Parts - $18, Labor - $130)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$69.95
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How do garages change brake fluid?

To perform a brake fluid flush, a garage will jack up or hoist the car, access the brake assembly, and use hoses, pumps, pliers, and other tools to bleed the lines of contaminated brake fluid. Then they’ll flood the system with fresh brake fluid. 
Specifically, the mechanic will:
  1. Remove the tires and take apart the wheel assembly to access the brake system components.
  2. Empty the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir and fill it with fresh, clean brake fluid.
  3. Bleed the brake lines and all the old brake fluid from the rear brake calipers (in a disc brake system) or the brake wheel cylinders (in a drum brake system). 
  4. Repeat the process with the front wheels.
  5. Top off the brake fluid reservoir and reassemble all the wheels.
  6. Test the car’s brakes.

Are brake flushes necessary?

Brake flushes are just as necessary as oil changes. Without brake fluid, your car can’t stop, regardless of whether it relies on brake rotors, calipers, drums, or brake shoes. No brake fluid, no braking power!
Obviously, a brake fluid leak is a huge safety concern. However, contaminated brake fluid is equally bad because it can cause corrosion and affect braking performance. Don’t wait to get a brake fluid change—it could save you a ton of repair bills in the future.

What is a brake system flush?

A brake system flush cleans the old brake fluid from your vehicle’s hydraulic brakes and replaces it with new brake fluid. Old brake fluid tends to absorb moisture and other contaminants over time, reducing braking performance. New brake fluid, on the other hand, flows better, doesn’t cause build-up, and maintains proper hydraulic pressure.

When should I flush the brake system on my car?

Here are six signs your vehicle is due for a complete brake fluid exchange:
  1. Your braking power is reduced. Does your vehicle require more and more time and distance to come to a complete stop? If you’ve checked your vehicle for brake fluid leaks, worn-out brake pads, and bald tires, and found nothing, old brake fluid could be to blame.
  2. The ABS light is on. Some vehicles use an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) warning light to signal their brake fluid levels are low. Check your owner’s manual for a guide to interpreting your car’s warning lights.
  3. Your brakes sound or smell funny. A sudden stop might come with a rubber-on-asphalt squeak, but your brakes shouldn’t scrape, grind, or squeal during normal operation. A burning smell is especially concerning—get out of your car and give it time to cool down while you call for a tow to the nearest garage.
  4. Your brake pedal feels soft, bouncy, or spongy. Does pressing your brake pedal feel like stepping on a plushie, a rubber ball, or an old steak? Either your brake fluid levels are low or you’re using old brake fluid—either one lets air bubbles into the brake lines, causing inconsistent braking performance. Get a brake fluid change ASAP.
  5. Your mechanic recommends a routine brake fluid flush. Why wait for something to go wrong? Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and you can avoid suffering any degradation or performance issues. Better to flush your brakes too soon than too late!
Key Takeaway A warning light, reduced brake performance, and strange sounds or smells with no obvious cause could indicate your vehicle needs a brake fluid change.
MORE: Spongy brake pedal inspection cost

How often should you flush your brake system?

How often you should flush your brake system depends on your car manufacturer’s recommendations. Generally, you should check
the color of your brake fluid
every three years (or 24,000 miles). If it’s dark brown or black, it’s probably contaminated, but if it’s yellow, you’re good to go!

Can I flush brake fluid myself?

No, you can’t complete a brake fluid flush at home. Flushing the brake master cylinder, the wheel cylinder, the fluid reservoir, and the lines requires special equipment that most DIY wrench monkeys probably don’t have. And because brake fluid is highly corrosive and dangerous to the skin and eyes (not to mention the paint on your car), a mistake could cost you a lot more than the price of an inspection.

FAQs

A brake flush is fairly urgent once it’s due. Old brake fluid carries contaminants that can cause degradation, corrosion, and build-up in your brake lines. More importantly, it reduces your braking power. It won’t immediately cause brake failure, but to preserve your safety and your vehicle, you need to get a brake fluid replacement ASAP.
You’ll know your brake fluid is dirty if it’s brown or black. Fresh brake fluid starts yellow and clear and darkens as it absorbs brake dust, dirt, and other contaminants. In severe cases, you might notice a burning smell emanating from your brakes.
You can clean brake pads, rotors, cylinders, and shoes that have been contaminated with brake fluid with isopropyl alcohol and a rag. Since brake fluid is highly corrosive, avoid letting it spill. If it’s already spilled onto a brake pad, you might be able to get it off with some fine-grained sandpaper.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.